Edward H. Walsh was hanging out with friends on a South Boston beach in 1978 when he made a gesture with his hand and his high school class ring flew off and got lost in the sand. He searched for it in vain and never expected to see it again. Walsh, who graduated from Don Bosco Tech in 1978, married his male significant other shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts last year. His husband, Kevin Kennedy, was serving as a foreman on a civil jury in Boston in December when he met fellow juror Mary Maberry, a 65-year-old woman from South Boston who is an inveterate beachcomber.
Maberry happened to mention some of the things she had found on the beach over the years, including a 1978 class ring from the now-closed Don Bosco Tech inscribed with someone's initials. Maberry, a retired nurse, had tried to find the owner of the ring but had not been able to locate a 1978 Don Bosco yearbook despite asking neighbors.
Kennedy mentioned in passing that his husband had graduated from Don Bosco in 1978 and that he would ask if he had a yearbook for that year. Maberry, out of curiosity, had Kennedy write down his husband's initials. When she got home that night, she asked her daughter to check the initials on the ring. "She looked at it and said, 'It's EHW,"' Maberry told The Boston Globe. "I almost had a heart attack."
She returned to the Suffolk County courthouse the next day and gave the ring to Kennedy, who had no idea Walsh had even lost a class ring. Maberry suggested giving Walsh the ring back on Christmas, which Kennedy did. "I was slack-jawed," said Walsh, 44. "It's my ring."
Court officials often hear of friendships, even romances, developing between jurors. But Maberry and Kennedy's meeting seems more than coincidence, since more than 42,000 people showed up for jury duty at the courthouse last year. "I felt like the planets had completely aligned," Kennedy said.
Superior court judge Thomas Billings, who presided over the trial in which Maberry and Kennedy served as jurors, asked to see the ring when a court officer told him the story. He sent a Christmas e-mail to more than 75 other judges to share the story. The fact that the ring barely moved along the beach in 26 years is not remarkable, said Peter Traykovski, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The ring probably lay buried and then was exposed by a storm or heavy waves, he said. There is one problem, however. Walsh can't wear the ring because it doesn't fit anymore. (AP)