The Ring saga
... from Montpelier, via Melrose, to Darien in Connecticut
Letter from Kathryn Bushey
Kathryn Bushey's message to the Melrose Mirror arrived in late July and was picked up by SilverStringer John Averell. The development of the ensuing search for a home of a found class ring proved interesting, if not quite Wagnerian or like Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring." We reprint the sequence of emails to its conclusion. While not a totally satisfying ending, Ms Bushey's mystery provides us with a nice slice of life -- on the internet.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathy Bushey"
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2005 3:22 PM
Subject: class ring 1927
Hello My name is Kathryn Bushey. I am writing to you because I hope you can give me some information about a class ring I found. I am on the board of directors at the Montpelier Theatre Guild in Montpelier, Vt. We performed the musical Annie and one of our cast members found a ring in the pocket of an old jacket that was hanging on our costume rack. The Theatre Guild has been in existence for 80 years so I don't know how long it has been there.
The ring says Derien High School 1927. It is 10 carot gold, it has initials inside but (I) can't read them. On the sides are two lanterns; on the top is a lighthouse with water; there is a circle of words around the top of the light house but I can't read it. I would love any info you could give me.
From: "John Averell"
To: "Kathy Bushey"
CC: "Melrose Stringers"
Subject: Re: class ring 1927
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2005
Kathryn, I'm intrigued by your find. First of all, I suspect the ring is a Darien High School class ring from Darien, Conn.
I graduated from there class of 1952, so this is a full generation older than I. I finally found my own class ring from DHS. The adornment on the front is kind of a gold shield around a "D" with what is clearly (under good magnification) a Cladagh ring symbol (a crown surrounded by two hands) at the top of it.
So there is no resemblance to your ring. However my memory is that there were probably several designs available to choose from.
Now 1927 was interesting because Lindbergh made his famous flight in that year. By coincidence he and his family lived in Darien for many years, after the kidnapping incident (long after 1927). He sent his children to Darien public schools, even though they could afford any school of choice.
His eldest remaining son Jon was two years older than I, so we did go to DHS together (1950). Jon played first board on the chess team, and I played second board under him. (My main brush with fame.) If you Google on "Jon Lindbergh" you can find out more about him.
I'm afraid the owner of the ring is probably long gone. If there are initials on the inside band (as there are on mine) maybe I could track the person from information in Darien. Good find!
John Thanks for your quick response. After much effort and many eyes we were able to read the initials. They are AEK, maybe this will help. Also on the front of the ring on the bottom it says 31; maybe a key like a sports number; its very small and so it looks like a women's ring. My sister lives in Enfield, Conn. maybe when I'm down that way I will visit Derian. It would be nice to have some history on the ring. I have been wearing it for a while and its become quite a conversation piece. Thanks again for your letter.
This letter is directed to the current principal of Darien High School.
Dear Dr. Auclair,
I'll direct this appeal to you, not really knowing who better to ask.
My name is John Averell, DHS class of 1952.
Through an unusual coincidence, a woman in Vermont wrote an email to our Senior internet journal (published monthly in Melrose, Mass at http://melrosemirror.media.mit.edu ) asking about a class ring she found in a jacket pocket at an old theater that she is involved with. This ring was described enough for me to be pretty certain it is a Darien High School ring from 1927, with the initial "AEK" inscribed in the band. She asked for any information (!) we could get.
Well, it is pretty certain the person is dead now, but it is an intriguiging puzzle. If I could get to a class list, or a Dariannus (name at that time?) for 1925, 6, or 7, there might be some chance of figuring the name out.
I have been in touch by email with Al Palmer (my class) who wasn't able to track back that far.
If you have a spare moment, and have any ideas, let me know. Not earth-shattering issue, but fun.
Hope you have a chance to read our Melrose Mirror on the internet. We seniors are producing a pretty nice journal!
(I was the Dariannus editor in 1952, by the way.)
From: "John Averell"
Cc: "Al Palmer"
Subject: Re: Darien High School Class Ring and list of 1927
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 17:37:03 -0400
Tempest in a teapot time. I sent the email below to Dr. Auclair, the (I believe) current principal of Darien High School, soliciting his help on the now infamous class ring of 1927.
In the last line I mentioned that I was the editor of the DHS yearbook of 1952. This suddenly made me realize that we had published a 25th anniversary edition of the "Dariannus", meaning that the first year was 1927 ! So again by coincidence, something important happened in 1927 to the High School. I got out my old yearbook.
In fact, this was the year that the High School on Renshaw Road (mine) first opened. If so, and if the ring is really what I thought, then it may be the first year that it was available.
The following is a partial quote from the yearbook, by Edward H. Fuller, Supt of Schools, 1923-1948:
"Prior to 1919 all pupils in Darien who desired public education opportunities beyond the local 'grammar schools' attended the Stamford, or Norwalk High Schools--with tuition and transportation paid by the town. From the fall of 1919 until the opening of the new six year High School on Renshaw Road in September 1927, a three year ... Junior High School was maintained...."
It seems from this that High School attendance would have been in the surrounding cities before Sept 1927.
I am now finding it hard to believe that a DHS class ring would have been issued for (June) 1927.
Any further insights are welcome.
It sounds like you have shed some light on the mystery. I was planning to do some research in our school's library, which as you may know is in the process of being relocated from our old building to our new spectacular one. However, I believe your dates are correct. Hence it is clearly impossible for the Darien High School Class of 1927 to have existed.
From your letter it would seem that the Class of 1952 was a great one and had a great deal of Blue Wave Pride. We are hoping this year that our new building will help us to raise BWP to new heights.
Kathryn, I've been doing some serious checking on your ring.
The bottom line is that the Darien High School building was opened for use in September, 1927. Before this time students from Darien went to the surrounding towns of Stamford and Norwalk for high school.
This fact apparently makes it not possible for a graduating class ring labelled 1927 to have been made. So I guess there are a couple of possibilities.
First, the ring may not be from Darien. I noticed that you spelled it "Derien", and assumed it was a typing error for Darien. There is no town called Derien that I know of. How about "Derry" in NH?
Or, maybe you misread "1927", perhaps hard to see? Anyway, unless you think there is another reading of the ring, I don't think we can help you on this.
It was fun trying though, and thanks for your interest. Keep on reading
the Melrose Mirror!
September 2, 2005