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Lost and found

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Hostess finds, returns precious family heirloom

By BEN CARLSON

Lana Trent’s emotions ran from panic to elation in just one afternoon.

The panic set in when she realized that a prized family heirloom had slipped from her finger while she had lunch last month at a local restaurant.

Hours later, elation set in when the ring she thought she’d never see again was back on her finger where it belongs.

“It was horrifying,” Trent said from the breezy back deck of her tony log home in Alton. “That ring is part of my being. It represents my family and I know that someday my daughter or granddaughter will wear it.

“Then, it was just gone.”

Trent’s saga began innocently enough. A resident of Alton, she decided to have lunch in Lawrenceburg at Talk of the Town on Broadway.

While making her way inside, it apparently slipped from her finger, and no amount of searching following her meal would reveal the ring that had adorned her finger since her grandmother gave it to her more than half a century ago.

She went home dejected and certain she’d never see the ring again, that is until a phone call came, telling her a hostess at the restaurant had found her missing treasure.

Not your average ring

That Trent would be upset to lose her grandmother’s ring is certainly understandable. The ring was custom made from gold and diamonds left over from her grandparent’s jewelry store, which they started from scratch but closed after her grandfather’s death in 1949.

Brunk Brothers Jewelry was located on Main Street where the old Anderson Bank sat in what is now a parking lot.

“My grandparents were from northern Indiana,” Trent said. “He was a Mennonite who decided to set up shop in Lawrenceburg after going to watch-making school.”

After learning that he was alone in his faith, Trent said her grandfather started attending a local Presbyterian church, but not her grandmother, who was a strong Methodist.

“She was the piano player at the Methodist church,” Trent said. “They were as opposite as daylight and dark. He was real quiet and kept his thoughts and feelings to himself. She was like me. She never shut up and loved being in that store so she could interact with the people who came in.”

After her grandfather passed, her grandmother took several diamonds and some gold to Millard and Woodard, a jewelry repair store that still exists in Lexington.

“It’s truly a one-of-a-kind,” said Trent, who was only 13 when her grandmother gave her the ring in 1954.

A beloved treasure from the moment she put it on, Trent said she was so thrilled to have it that it once got her in a spot of trouble.

“I remember just staring at it during music class,” she said. “The teacher was an old meanie and got my attention real quick, putting it back on the music instead of my ring.”

Trent said she has no idea how much money the ring is worth, yet one of the diamonds her grandmother saved to have it made was described by her grandfather as among the most perfect he’d ever seen.

“I have no idea how much it’s worth but it’s certainly quite valuable. To me it’s not about how much money it’s worth because it means so much to me internally.”

Horror, then relief

Once she realized the ring was missing, Trent began frantically searching, albeit in vain, in the Talk of the Town parking lot.

“We looked everywhere but just couldn’t find it,” Trent said.

“We” included Rosemary Bowling, the woman who waited on Trent in the restaurant that afternoon.

“She walked out there after we had paid our bill and tried to help us,” Trent said. “We couldn’t find it, but she said she’d look some more after she got off work.

“I left her my name and number just in case, but figured I’d never see it again.”

Trent said she also left her name and number at several other locations, hoping against hope that someone would call and tell her they had found her ring.

The call she received, though, came from an unexpected source: her husband.

“He called me later that day and asked if I’d lost something,” Trent said. “I figured someone had told him about me losing it and I was just so ashamed to admit that I’d lost something so precious.

“But when he said a lady from the restaurant had called and told him she’d found the ring, I was just ecstatic.”

‘Bam. There it was’

Bowling said she felt terrible for Trent because it took only a few minutes of helping her search to realize just how much the ring meant to her.

“We were really slammed at the time, but I asked her where she parked and asked her to point out where she thought she might have lost it,” Bowling said. “When she was leaving, I promised her I’d keep looking, but I’m blind as a bat and thought I’d never find it.”

Once her shift ended, though, it didn’t take long for her to locate the ring.

“I wasn’t out there two minutes and I spotted it out there shining with its gold and diamonds,” Bowling said. “Bam! There it was.”

Emotional reunion

Soon after, Trent headed back to Talk of the Town where Bowling had the ring waiting for her.

“When I gave it back to her, she just couldn’t stop crying,” Bowling said. “I could tell just by looking at it that it was very old and beautiful.”

“I knew right then that there really are miracles,” said Trent. “It was like the skies had just opened up.

“I asked her if she minded if I took a picture of her, and gave her a note and reward for finding it.

“The next day we left on vacation, and I was able to enjoy it a lot more knowing that I had my ring back.”

Trent said she will never forget Bowling’s honesty and kindness.

“She could have that ring on her finger today,” Trent said as her voice started to crack. “But because she’s so honest, I have it on mine.

“God meant for her to find my ring.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.