Thursday, May 30, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ A Class Ring Restored (Or: Why I Blog About My Family)

There are times (we hate to admit it) when it seems we are blogging in the great World Wide Web to no one in particular. Maybe no else in the family has really taken an interest in this quest that keeps you up till the wee hours of the night, and you begin to wonder if anyone else, besides you, really cares.

Then, out of the blue, you receive that email.

Mine arrived on April 1st of this year. It read something like this:

Hi Pam,

My name is Gary ... I live in Scarborough, Maine. My wife Deb was going through her "old" family jewelry box and came across a Portland High School class ring dated 1930 with an inscription inside. As we could not put any of Deb's relatives in Portland High at that time (I am an outsider, or "from away" as they say, even after living here for 45 years!) I contacted the Portland Public Library and gave them the info I had on the ring. the lady I spoke to ... came up with a young lady in the 1930 Totem yearbook with a last name of Parsons. Being the family chaser of ghost, I did some searching and found your entry on her passage and interment at Evergreen Cemetery.

I've attached a pix of the ring, albeit a bit fuzzy. My wife would like to return the ring to a family member, no strings attached. If you are open to a telephone call we can be reached ...


Gary and Deb

Attached to the email was a picture of the ring:

What followed was a series of emails and phone calls between myself and Gary and Deb, in which Gary described the engraved "FEP" on the inside of the band. These exchanges solidified my suspicion that the ring belonged to my great aunt Flora Elizabeth Parsons Bustin. We also tried to come up with various possible scenarios as to how the ring came into Deb's possession.

Deb's father had been a Scarborough police officer, and, as I have chronicled in this space, my great aunt Flora Parsons Bustin lived and worked at the Atlantic House in Scarborough as a young woman.  Perhaps Deb's dad found it somewhere in Scarborough and hung onto it. Maybe Flora removed it from her finger at the Atlantic House while cooking (she started out as a "salad girl" and became the Head Pastry Chef).

These conversations ultimately led to my calling Flora's daughter and my cousin Laurine, who now lives in Michigan. Although I was the flower girl in her wedding in 1960, we had not spoken in many years. She was absolutely thrilled to hear about the discovery of her mother's class ring, and we had a wonderful conversation about her mother's early life. She told me that her mother actually transferred from Deering High School for her Junior and Senior years, because Portland High School had a better selection of cooking classes. She has no memory of seeing the Portland High School ring, and doesn't remember her mother speaking of losing it.

As we reminisced about days gone by, we talked about my flower girl debut, her mom and dad, and many other fond memories.*  She and her husband have one daughter, so it is appropriate and meaningful that the ring be given to her. Following an exchange of addresses, the ring was promptly mailed to my cousin Laurine by Gary and Deb in a beautiful quilted box, and a wonderful restoration of a family heirloom was celebrated.

Here's the page of the 1930 Portland High School yearbook, the Totem, where Flora's senior picture and profile appeared: School Yearbooks School Yearbooks

Who knows what would have happened to this treasure if I had not become interested in genealogy, started a genealogy blog, and began adding memorials to Find A Grave, which are now available on

It's the totally random connections like this one that keep me blogging about my family, because I will never know what will ultimately come of all my efforts.

*My mother was Flora's flower girl in 1937, at the age of 5.


  1. What a great story! I have found that even though your immediate family doesn't seem interested in your blog and other aspects of sharing your family history (i.e. FindAGrave, which I LOVE) that there are others who are interested and when those others reach out to you (or you can reach out to them), it's a great feeling!

  2. One of my first thoughts about the lost ring is that your great aunt had exchanged rings with some young fellow she was dating. That trend probably didn't start until years later, though. Anyway, congratulations on the find. It's such fun to see what happens because of our blog posts.