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The Traveling Mendel High School ring
by Scott Buckner
Posted by 2003-07-29

One thing we eventually learn when helping people look for lost items is that sometimes, the object isnít where the person thought he lost it. In this case, a lost high school ring turned up over 50 miles away from where the owner parted company with it.

I had been hunting an empty grassy area some 75 yards square in a grammar school yard in my neighborhood all spring and summer. That little plot of land, which is a magnet for every kid under 10 years old in the neighborhood was very kind this year, filling my pockets with almost $50 in clads between May and August. One of the best finds to come out of that schoolyard (and my best find to date, for that matter) was a 10k boyís 1961 class ring from Mendel Catholic High School in the far south side Chicago community of Roseland. This was a wonderful surprise to find in clad land, and the age of the ring made the find even more wonderful.

One of the first identifying marks I found when I gently pushed off the clod of dirt that surrounded the ring was the maker of the ring -- Jostenís Ė stamped inside the band. This wasnít surprising, since Jostenís is probably the largest supplier of high school rings in the nation. (My own high school ring was a Jostenís ring.) My memory flashed immediately back to the day when a Jostenís salesman stood in front of our junior class and made his pitch about why it would be a good idea for us to have our initials or signature etched into the inside of the band when we placed our order. He reminded us of a day six years earlier in October 1971, when an Illinois Central Railroad train, on the express route to downtown Chicago and filled with morning rush hour commuters, slammed into another IC train that blown its stop and was backing up to the outdoor platform.

The salesman pointed out the gloomy irony that a number of the dead (or at least parts of them) were identified by the initials in their Jostenís high school rings. I guess when youíre trying to wring a few extra dollars commission out of the parents of junior high schoolers, anything can be a selling point.




comments
2015-01-15 16:50 - mfb1942
It
 
2010-03-01 12:11 - dustykr
I lost my class ring less than 24 hours of getting it. A pair of brothers that lived next door to me saw me standing on a boat pier in McHenry, Illinois, and thought it would be funny if they pushed me into the water. As we wrestled around, I threw the first brother off the pier , and tragically when I threw the second one in, his hand grabbed onto my ring as he joined his brother. The ring landed in the lake.  That was the last I saw of it. I have missed it for over fifty years. To this day I would replace it if I could. it meant so very much.
      Ken Dust  Class of 1956
        Neskowin, Oregon
 
2010-02-22 15:45 - ddavis76
My class ring was lost at the University of Chicago Press(they recruited several students to do book packing back in the day). Took it off to wash my hands and, of course, forgot about it until the next day at class. When I called the offices to see if anyone had returned it( suprise,  suprise) no one had. So, I'm STILL hoping that it will turn up.

Derrick Davis '76
 
2009-06-11 17:45 - jriordan
Still have my ring...looks brand new because I gave it to Kathy DeMiere a day after I got it. Kathy was the Homecoming Queen in 1962 and we married in 1966...four kids and thirteen grandkids later...we got a good laugh looking at the ring with the wax inside and angora still around it....Jim
 
2009-05-19 15:23 - MendelBoy
Sad to say I lost my Mendel ring at West Pullman park pool where it was stolen out of my pants pocket in a locker that I unfortunately did not have a lock on back in ' 64. Since I only had since '62, I sure wish I would have had a lock on that locker
.I have met many Mendel guys over the years by recognizing the old ring.

Brian Marton '62
 
2006-05-10 19:57 - alevy015
MY RING WAS LOST SOMETIME AROUND 1985 IN URBANA, IL. IT WAS A WHITE BIRTHSTONE FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL. IF BY SOME STRANGE MIRACLE IT TURNS UP IN THIS LIFETIME OR THE NEXT.....LET ME KNOW.

ANTHONY E. LEVY
CLASS OF 1983
 
2005-07-15 15:20 - chazglenn3
I too lost my class ring via the US Military.  Mine tuned up missing during basic training in the Air Force in 1982.

Charles Walsh, Class of 1980
Tacoma, WA
 
2005-06-23 11:36 - CPD9102
LOST MY RING THE FIRST SUMMER OF GRADUATION, 1963.

PUT IT IN MY GOLF BAG WHILE PLAYING GOLF AT
"PIPE 'O PEACE" GOLF COURSE. AFTER THE ROUND I DISCOVERED A HOLE IN THE BAG POCKET AND MY RING WAS NOW SOMEWHERE OVER THE 18 HOLES EXPANSE.
PROBABLY CHEWED UP BY THE MOWER.

I SURE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IT BACK........

                                                            LEE ZALALIS  1963
 
2004-12-22 20:46 - rbhecker
I went back to Chicago in 2002 to honor my parents' graves and visited my old home on 11431 Washtenaw Avenue.  The current owners were quite gracious when I introduced my self and they mentioned that they had found a 1969 Mendel ring in the flower beds about ten years ago! - obviously mine!  The sad story is that they contacted "someone" who knew "someone" who had attended Mendel and they passed off the ring to "them".  What are the chances it will turn up again? ... and all of this tme I thought Andrea Alleman held it close to her heart!  I actually called "the soon to be grandma Andrea"  tonight and she and her husband had a good chuckle on hearing the story.  Oh, the luck of the "half Irish" from Saint Cajetan's Parish.  Doc Hecker - San Antonio TX.
 
2004-04-04 16:28 - Petes
I am a '63 graduate and still have my Mendel ring safely enclosed in a box.
Pete Seiler
 
2003-11-25 14:42 - hameetman
This story has inspired me to search out my belongings for my class ring. One thing I do remember, during an animated discussion with my girlfriend, the ring was tossed to the ground and broke the stone. (Is that warranteed, too?). I know I found it than, but I'm not sure where I put it next. I will continue my search. Ah, youth!

Ron Hameetman, Class of 1962
Fox River Grove, IL
 
2003-11-20 18:12 - fleshwm
I love this story. I'm an 85' Mendel Man, and I know own a franchise of Jostens Class Rings. I'm going to utilize this story in my meeting's with the students. Another ironic part of this story is that my office is in the Roseland area.
I'm located down the street from Mendel at 517 W. 111th st. If there is anyone else out there who still has your ring, don't forget it came with a life-time warranty. We can resize it, re-do it make sure you take advantage of this.
Flesh 85'
 
2003-11-14 16:33 - PGKOKO
My own Class ring (Mendel 1958) was stolen at the Army Induction Center at Ft. Knox, KY in September 1963.  My bag was cut open and my Class Ring, Watch, etc. removed.  Of course, the Army denied any responsibility, and I never saw it again.  Should it ever turn up. I'd sure like to have it back.

Paul Koko, Class of 1958
Oak Park, IL
 

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