It's comforting to realize there are still people who are willing to go the extra mile. At least that's the way Roseanne Gibson Markham of Sandy, a graduate of Olympus High School, Class of 1973, feels about it.
During the summer of 1975, Markham, then newly married and expecting her first baby, was living in a little house on Royal Circle in Provo, while her husband completed a degree at BYU.One day when Markham went inside after planting flowers by the house, she discovered that her class ring was no longer on her finger.
"I was just sick," she says. "I looked for probably two hours. I even went through all the garbage, and when my husband came home, he helped me look, too. But we just couldn't find it."
After graduation, the Markhams moved to Hawaii and then Asia before returning to Salt Lake City in 1983. Eventually, Roseanne Markham returned to school, and she will graduate from the University of Utah this spring with a degree in English.
Recently, she heard that the Provo house where she lived was going to be torn down, and she thought, "I ought to go get a metal detector and see if I could find that ring."
But she didn't.
In making preparations for the U.'s upcoming commencement exercises, she ordered announcements to send to friends and couldn't resist looking at class rings. She was tempted to order one.
"But then I thought, if I lost my high school ring, I'd better not get a university ring. I'll probably just lose that one, too."
The next day, she received an interesting phone call from a friend who said a man named Dale Bascomb, an electronics technician at BYU, had found her high school class ring.
Talk about serendipity.
When she called Bascomb, he explained that he had been playing around with a metal detector for the past four years as a hobby. "I love a mystery. It's intriguing to see what you might dig up," he said.
In his spare time, he has found 18 rings in various locations around BYU.
In the fall of 1996, he browsed around Royal Circle in Provo where some houses were being torn down. He used his compass goldscanner pro metal detector, a pretty sophisticated instrument that identifies the kind of metal he scans on a dial.
After pointing the detector toward the foundation two or three times, he found a 1973 high school class ring, with the initials RG inside.
"I took the ring back to the shop and cleaned it up. I thought if I got lucky I could figure out who it belongs to."
Bascomb called Olympus High and talked to Kim Ogden, who verified from school records that the only person in the Class of '73 with those initials was Roseanne Gibson.
That didn't mean it would be easy to find the married name of a young woman dating back 25 years.
Persistently, Bascomb spent the next year and a half calling members of the Class of '73 and asking them if they knew Gibson's married name.
When he reached Joel Barrow, Barrow didn't know the married name, but his sister-in-law remembered taking a crafts class with Olga Gunderson Rosander, also from Olympus.
As luck would have it, Rosander had been co-chairwoman with Markham of the 20th anniversary Olympus High reunion for the Class of '73. So she called Markham and clued her in.
When Markham met Bascomb the weekend of LDS April Conference, they were both elated. She said, "I'm Roseanne Gibson, and you have my ring!"
Bascomb invited her in, and she gave him a big hug. "I always get a hug when I find a girl's ring," explains Bascomb wryly.
"When I realized she was so excited she couldn't believe it, it sent chills up and down my spine."
He considers the return of Markham's ring to be "a happy ending to a long story. It's really lucky her initials were in it."
Markham says she is amazed the ring would be recovered in such good condition after 25 years in the soil. It was slightly bent, but Bascom straightened it on his lapidary ring sizer.
"It's especially cool that I would find it the year of my 25th anniversary from high school graduation. I keep thinking of the story in the Bible of the woman who lost a piece of silver and looked and looked until she found it, then she celebrated and told her friends, `That which was lost is found.' That's what I've been doing."
Bascomb is a little embarrassed by Markham's praise for something that resulted from his little hobby.
But Markham says, "I don't know how many people would have gone to that much work. It really says a lot about his character."
"Well, thanks," says Bascomb, blushing, "you're very sweet."