Forty years and a few counties later … Roger Beeman has his class ring back.
The longtime teacher and coach at Escalon High School was recently the recipient of his 1976 EHS class ring – a ring that had been stolen at the start of his senior year while he was attending a basketball tournament.
“It was the Gustine Holiday Basketball Tournament,” Beeman remembered, noting that he and several teammates had items stolen when thieves broke into the locker room during the tournament, taking a variety of items. Beeman’s class ring, which he estimated at having paid $75 to $80 for all those years ago, was among those items taken.
A few weeks ago, a story that played out over Facebook and other social media outlets alerted friends to the discovery of a ring in a field in Merced County. With the initials RKB on the side and the EHS graduation year visible, friends and family started to piece together the mystery and discovered that the long lost class ring was, amazingly, found after four decades.
Beeman said he was looking forward to meeting the person who found the ring to get more details about the discovery but it was simply dropped off for him at the high school.
“Her husband found it, working along some roadway near the prison in Merced County,” he explained of the woman who returned it.
How the ring ended up there – and where it might have traveled in between – is still a mystery and one that may never be solved.
“I’m going to have it cleaned,” Beeman said, adding that the ring will also have to be re-sized if he plans on wearing it.
He said the trail followed by those who saw the original posting on Facebook – including local ‘That Picture Guy’ R.J. Jefferson and his mother-in-law Diane Alcorn – was one that had people making contact on social media and digging through EHS yearbooks to make sure they found the right owner.
And, Beeman said, it reminded him of another ring, one he has in his possession that was given to him a few years ago by a friend in Hughson. That ring, a woman’s ring with the EHS Class of ’68 on it, is still in search of its owner.
“It is definitely a woman’s ring and we think the initials are maybe C. J. C.,” said Beeman, hoping someone out there might be able to help get that ring back to the rightful party.
For now, Beeman and his family are happy that his ring – no matter where it spent the past four decades – is back in his hands.