Perham woman's lost class ring returned after the town's mayor finds it on eBay 43 years later
PERHAM - Exchanging high school class rings was a serious transaction for a young woman and man back in 1966. It was a gesture that meant something like ... forever ... or ... at least a month or two.
When your oaf-of-a-boyfriend loses your ring - within days after the exchange ... in a snowball fight! ... it's just about enough to make a girl start looking for another guy.
"Heartwarming ... eerie ... bizarre ..." these are just a few of the words friends and family have used to describe the recovery of Marge Licence's 1966 Perham High School ring which was lost in Minneapolis almost 43 years ago. Marge displays the ring, which her then-boyfriend and later-husband lost. The ring was returned to her through the power of the Internet.
But the relationship of Bob and Marge (Weickert) Licence survived the lost ring incident - for nearly 40 years.
Marge lost Bob in 2004, when he died of an aneurism.
Now, thanks to a remarkable sequence of events, she again has her high school ring - which vanished 43 years ago.
The story of the long-lost-and-now-found Perham High School Class of 1966 ring has many a twist, but to summarize the happy ending: The ring went up for sale on the Internet, through eBay, and Marge has her ring back.
The person who spotted the ring on eBay was none other than Perham Mayor Kevin Keil, who collects Perham memorabilia of all kinds.
"The Internet has really made the world a much smaller place," said Keil, noting that as recently as even ten years ago, the recovery of Marge's ring would never have happened.
It was some time in the spring of 1966 when Robert Licence and Perham High School classmate, the late Keith Swanson, were living and working in the Minneapolis area. They were also roommates at the time.
Back home in Perham was Bob's girlfriend Marge. As was the custom of the time, Marge gave Bob her class ring.
Wearing the ring on his little finger, Bob and buddy Keith were goofing around and got in a snowball fight down in Minneapolis. With one toss, a snowball flew - and along with it, Marge's class ring.
The guys looked for the ring for hours, to no avail.
Bob sheepishly apologized to Marge, who was nonetheless a bit upset.
"Every time we broke up, I reminded him that he owed me $30 bucks for the ring," laughed Marge. Twice they broke up, but in 1967 they married and Marge hardly gave the lost ring another thought.
After Marge and Bob were married, "the ring never really entered my mind for 40 years. I figured it was gone for good; it went down a sewer; or was hauled to the dump."
Perham's mayor Kevin Keil discovered the ring on an eBay listing. The 1966 Perham ring had the initials MW, and a blue stone. Evidently, the ring had been sold at an estate sale somewhere along the line, and the present owner put it on eBay.
Keil, an accountant at Perham's Barrel O' Fun snacks, astutely recalled that his boss, Mike Holper, was a Perham grad about that time--1965. After checking yearbooks, they concluded the womens ring had to belong to one of three people: Mary Wolff, Marilyn Wolford or Marge Weickert.
This launched a sequence of phone calls, and eventually Marge's daughter Heidi called and informed her that what she believed was her ring had been listed on eBay.
Both she and her daughter had goosebumps when they discussed the probability that it was Marge's long lost ring.
She was disappointed to later find out it had already sold. At that moment, she wasn't aware that it had been purchased by Keil.
"We were going to bid on it, but it had sold the previous night," said Marge.
Another twist in the story: Marge coincidentally works at the same plant with Keil. She has been a Barrel O' Fun employee for more than 30 years.
On Friday, Jan. 9, Keil called Marge up to his office--and presented her with the ring.
"I never, ever thought I'd see that ring again," said Marge. "I have been so overwhelmed by this."