Last week I took my Grandma Velma's high school class ring to Arendsen Jewelers to have it sized. My grandma (the tall lady with glasses in the photo) was born in 1926 and grew up on a farm in Iowa. She was the first person in her family to leave for college when she went to the University of Nebraska in the mid-40s. Her college roommate introduced her to her older brother, Paul - also an Iowan, also the first to leave the family farm for college - and they hit it off. Lucky for me, they both had the courage to leave home and get an education - otherwise I wouldn't be here!
The jeweler at Arendsen's is a gentle-mannered fellow named Mark. He took over for his father and has been in the business for almost 50 years. The shop is on the 16th floor of a building in Downtown Lansing. That day, he had the window open and he was working at his desk when I came in. When I told him about the ring, he asked if I would like to wait while he sized it right away. Of course I said yes. Step by step, I watched as he cut, hammered, melted, filed and polished it to the perfect size. Twice, because the first time the fit wasn't quite right. When I put it on at the end, I surprised myself by almost crying. I've never had a family ring passed on to me and it feels really special. Especially a school ring, since my grandma loved school (she was a teacher) and was so brave to strike out on her own and go to college, especially when her family didn't appreciate or understand her choice.
As I prepared to pay, Mark came around the counter and said "Please put your card away. This one is free." I argued but he wouldn't have it. I was floored by this kind gesture, and my service experience start to finish. It just adds another happy memory to this ring, which I haven't taken off since the moment I put it on.