LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Over the Fourth of July weekend, Addie Elizabeth Clark had multiple reasons to celebrate.
It was a moment that was in the making for over half a century, when 84-year-old Clark was reunited with her class of 1953 Howard Payne University ring that had been missing for 60 years.
It slipped off Clark’s finger and to the bottom of Lake Nasworthy in San Angelo, and she thought it was gone forever.
“I didn’t think I would ever get it back,” she said. “It’s sand and mud everywhere out at the lake.”
But she was wrong.
This past April, Lindsay Waddell went to play with her dogs at the lake and was disappointed that the water was only at half capacity. However, that would prove to be fortuitous, when a shimmer caught her eye five feet off the bank.
“I cleaned that ring up as best I could,” Waddell said, “and I could read the initials and everything on the ring, so once I figured out it was Howard Payne, I called them and I gave them the initials and the year and everything. So, they looked it up in the yearbook and saw that she had donated to the university just the previous year.”
It was Stephen Sullivan at Howard Payne who helped track Clark down, and then called her to share the news of this incredible discovery.
“She couldn’t even talk,” Sullivan said. “She was crying and so much happiness.”
Her tears of joy were a testimony of sorts, because she was the only one in her family – out of 16 children – to pour years into a university and finally earn her degree.
“My son said, ‘Mom, it’s just a ring,’” Clark said, “and I said, ‘It’s a special ring.’ I felt like I had lost part of me.”
The next chapter in this 10-karat-gold ring’s journey was to reunite it with its owner – an event that drew a crowd in Clark’s hometown of Brownfield this past weekend.
It was an unforgettable reunion of precious people, and a very precious token.
“It’s a miracle,” Clark said. “That doesn’t happen often.”