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She’s found strange things on the school bus.
Usually it’s costume jewelry, band instruments and orphaned cleats forgotten under seats until Rita Edington walks down to clean the aisles.
Bus 27 is her bus, the only bus she ever drove for 25 1/2 years.
But once, she found a ring.
A mother’s ring.
And Rita has wondered about this mother for more than a decade.
Rita never removes the gold band on her pinkie finger.
Her own “mother’s ring” is embedded with three birthstones: one for July, one for February and one for August.
She’s worn it for 25 years since her son, then about 19 or 20, gave it to her for Christmas.
“My daughter… I lost her at birth,” Edington said in a phone interview Friday. “My middle one, Bobby, he went and had it made. And when he had it made, I didn’t think he’d put his sister’s on there.”
Her mother’s ring is nothing compared to the one she found on her bus, Rita said, a stranger’s ring she found trapped between the seats.
When Rita first found the ring — studded with six birthstones and etched with the names Tim, Susan, Helen, Jason and Alex — she tried to return it to its rightful owner.
Rita said she remembers finding the ring after cleaning up her bus from taking students and chaperones on a weekend trip; it’s been about eight to 10 years since then, so she doesn’t recall where she drove the group or where they went on the trip.
Rita said she remembers it wasn’t her regular route or her preschool route, and none of the names etched in the ring matched the names of students who rode her bus.
She said she took the ring to central office. Then she talked to the high school principal and asked that they make an announcement over the public address system at the high school to announce that someone had found a mother’s ring.
No one came to claim it.
For safekeeping, the mother’s ring remained on Rita’s bus until the end of the school year.
At the end of the year, Rita cleaned off her bus as she always did, and the ring found its way into Rita’s jewelry box.
Rita, who retired in December, had been going through her jewelry recently and saw the mother’s ring.
“I need to find somebody who owns this,” Rita said. “It has to be somebody’s, and I’m sure they want it back.”
After speaking with a friend at the bus garage about contacting The Anderson News, she said she wanted to attempt to locate the owner again.
“I’d love to meet them, I’d love to find out who they are,” Rita said of the ring’s owner. “It has to be of some sentimental value to them. It would to me.”
Rita said she hasn’t spent much time imagining who the mother was, what she looks like or what kind of family belonged to Tim, Susan, Helen, Jason and Alex.
She has thought about why there are six birthstones, but only five names on the ring.
Her best guess: the mother she’s never met may have been expecting.
She just didn’t know the child’s name yet.
Do you know the owner of this mother’s ring?
The missing ‘mother’s ring’ is gold and has six birthstones: two red, one blue, one green, one amethyst and one diamond. There are five names etched on the ring: Tim, Susan, Helen, Jason and Alex. Rita Edington, a retired school bus driver, said she found it roughly 10 years ago after taking students on a weekend trip. If you have any information about who may own this ring, contact Rita Edington at 839-9836.
News Editor Meaghan Downs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @ANewsMDowns.