CHICKASHA — A 10-carat gold class ring lost in a Stillwater sewer line in the summer of 1948 was returned to its owner Monday.
Lodema Clement, 85, was taken aback when she received a telephone call from a Chickasha High School librarian in August asking if she had lost a class ring.
“I couldn't think for a minute,” said Clement, of Oklahoma City.
“Yes, about 100 years ago,” she finally responded.
“I placed the ring on the toilet lid and knocked it off. I blamed it on my husband.”
Clement and her first husband, Edward Correia, were high school sweethearts. He played football for Chickasha and she never strayed far from his side.
The newlyweds were attending Oklahoma A&M, later renamed Oklahoma State University, when the class ring was lost.
“We had just gotten married and moved to Stillwater,” Clement said. “Our house was almost like a hut, with the ceiling pointed up.”
Now, 65 years later, Clement held the 1946 Chickasha ring in her hand. Arthritis would probably make it difficult to wear, she said.
The ring will become a family keepsake, she said.
It was found recently while workers were repairing a sewer line, Stillwater wastewater collection supervisor Don Bishop said.
A vacuum truck was sucking sewer waste and debris out of the ground near the sewer line and dumping the contents at the wastewater treatment plant. Charlie Yeats, a city utilities employee, was raking through the debris and noticed a shiny object, Bishop said.
“It was pure gold,” Bishop said. “It had initials LN and we could tell it was a Chickasha class ring.”
Bishop contacted the school.
Librarian Angela Widner and her staff pored over old yearbooks, scrapbooks, and graduation and commencement programs before they found Lodema Noland.
“It's not the first class ring that we have reunited, but it is the oldest,” Widner said.
“We find a lot of stuff, mostly junk,” Bishop said.
Other treasures recovered from the sewer lines include a half-ounce gold Chinese coin with a panda emblem, wedding rings and computer thumb drives.
“We try and track the owners down, but if we can't the finder gets to keep it,” Bishop said.
After all, that is really nasty stuff they are digging through, he said.