A few weeks ago I received a call from Candice. She said she was at the beach in Cape May the day before and lost her wedding band. It just so happens it was the same beach last week making another ring recovery. So I was familiar with the beach.
Candice said she was there with her family and not exactly sure where she was when she lost her ring. She was all over the beach with her kids and husband, even out in the rough surf. By going through her pictures she was able to come up with a half an hour time frame of when she lost the ring. I did a little research and found out that it was only a short time from high tide when she lost her ring.
I told Candice that I would not be able to search till at least Tuesday because of my work schedule. She sounded a little deflated but said it was ok. I asked her to download a picture from Google maps and mark it up with where she was on the beach that day.
Later that night she emailed me the picture. She was right she was all over the beach. She was by the rocks digging in the sand with her children. She was at the high tide line sitting in her chairs. She was in another spot building sand castles. She fell in the surf near the life guards. Oh boy where to begin.
My friend & I arrived at the beach near low tide. This would give us our best shot at finding the ring. The beach was crowded. This would cause a problem because we wouldn’t be able to do a complete grid search. We would have to go around the masses of people. Plus there were 2 other people on the beach detecting. My hopes were diminishing. The sand was soft and mushy, not good because gold sinks fast in this stuff.
We started to search. My friend Diane started by the rocks and headed south. I started near the life guards and headed south. I found a few items, mostly light trash, not good but expected in the soft mushy conditions. I am thinking that this is going to be a lost cause. After about an hour I could see Diane was done her area and started to go all over the beach. I could tell she was ready to leave. She can read a beach better than me and knew we weren’t going to be successful.
I was getting ready to give up when I had a good tone. I started to talk to my mom asking her to let this be the ring I was looking for. I scooped the sand and strained out the sand. In my scoop was a beautiful yellow gold ring with 11 diamonds. SUCCESS!! I walked over to Diane and said I was ready to leave. She said the conditions weren’t good. The I showed her the ring. She was shocked that I found it. She put it on her finger and said that its a perfect fit and I was going to get the ring back.
I sent Candice a text message asking her to call me when she could because I had some questions. She called back in record time. I asked a few questions about her markings on the map. Then I told I her that I found the ring. The phone when silent. I think I heard a thank you. Then in a broken voice I heard I can’t talk now I will call you later.
It was after five in the afternoon when Candice called back. She apologized for being so emotional before. She said she was crying so hard and everybody at work was looking at her that she needed to get off of the phone. She couldn’t believe that I found the ring. I sent her a picture. She is from Delaware so we were trying to come up with a place to meet. We went through our schedules and it would be 3 weeks before we could meet to return the ring.
We met today in Southern NJ. I met her mom, husband, 3 kids and her baby sitter. All of the people who were with her when she lost the ring. I gave her her ring and received many hugs. She was crying again. We took pictures and chatted for a while. She gave me a card with a generous reward which I tried to return but she wouldn’t let me.
Below is Candice’s side of the tale:
Just another Saturday at the beach or so we thought!
As a mother of 3 young boys, I decided to take a last minute day trip for the end of summer. We piled up the minivan with my husband, my mother, our AuPair and my three boys! Before leaving the house…my inner voice told me to leave my wedding ring at home since I had lost some weight…it was loose but, I didn’t listen. We packed the car full. We had the cooler, beach chairs, boogie boards and toys for the sand. We brought everything but Sunblock…. Yes, we all ended up burnt. We drove around for about 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot when we came upon Cove Beach in Cape May, NJ. I’ve been going to Cape May beaches for over 20 years and have never been to that particular beach before. So, we parked the car, and set up our stuff.
We played in the water! Taking on the waves. My two oldest boys were brazen…going out really far….enough to concern the lifeguards to whistle us in closer (it was a yellow flag day)….so then we built sand castles. We then came back to the beach blanket and ate some snacks. Back to the water again, riding the waves and then the youngest wanted to come back in the sand castle area. I had some trouble getting up out of the water and put my hands in the sand and there went the wedding band. But, I didn’t notice it then…I went back into the water with my husband while the kids searched for the perfect shells! When I came back…I sat down in the sand where the waves crashed in on our legs digging my hands into the sand looking for shells for the boys…we posed for a few family shots and then I realized it! The ring was gone. OMG!
I turned to my husband and lifted my hand to show no wedding band! He said “You’re joking, right?” “I wouldn’t joke about this” I said. He immediately jumped up and helped me frantically searched the sand. The tide was coming in harder and harder…we could hardly see. The kids looked, the babysitter looked, even some strangers on the beach…I was crying so hard, I needed to clean my glasses….I then realized from the family pictures…I might be able to see when I last had it on… and I saw it!!! When I was swimming with my youngest son. So, I knew where it was probably gone at but the tide had come in so far I knew I’d never get it back. I cried and cried. My husband hugged me and said he’d buy me another one. It wouldn’t be the same. I didn’t want a new wedding band…I wanted the one he gave me when we promised each other the rest of our lives together 10 years ago. I thought it was ironic that my husband asked me to marry him and gave me an engagement ring on another beach in Cape May, NJ years ago and now I lost my wedding band in Cape May, NJ.
A short time later, I was so upset and defeated…we packed the car back up and headed home. After the beach, we were supposed to go to the Wildwood boardwalk and ride some rides but….I just couldn’t build myself up to enjoy it. On the ride home I knew I’d never get my ring back. My mom reminded me that other than my ring loss, I still had my family and my kids were safe and happy.
Even though my family was safe and that was really the most important thing to
me…I still couldn’t stop being upset about losing my ring and my stupidity for not leaving it at home. My mom offered to come back the next morning and comb the beach with me… When I got home and everyone was getting ready for bed…I Googled to see what my chances would be if I could even had any chance. I looked at the possibilities of renting a metal detector and then came upon TheRingFinders.com. I read of success stories of rings found and my hope was restored. I found Dave Milsted and called him to see what could be done. I told him it was a gold wedding band with 11 inset diamonds. He told me to map the area I thought it was lost. I immediately mapped where we were sitting, where I thought it was lost and where we swam. Then my 3 boys brought me beautifully made “homemade rings” made from paper to replace my wedding band. I smiled for their thoughtfulness and creativity.
I then sent the email to Dave. I didn’t hear anything back. I anxiously checked email in the morning and saw I mis-typed his email address. OMG!!! Quickly I resent it to the correct email and added some more details.
Dave responded immediately and suggested he could go out on Tuesday. Slightly disappointed I put my faith in the fact that he has been doing this for years and if he felt there was an urgency…or not…then he’d be right. So, I stopped worrying until Tuesday. Since 8am Tuesday morning, I checked my email and phone every 30 mins or less. As the day pressed on, so my pressure skyrocketed. I even shed a few tears while telling the story to co workers. I figured, the longer it took to hear from Dave, the less likely it would be that he’d found it….
Then, I received an email from Dave saying he had a few questions asking me to call him! I jumped right on the phone and called. Dave asked me a few more questions about the location I thought it was lost. I explained where I thought I was and then he told me that the beach was packed and that there were already folks with metal detectors, the sand was loose and….my heart sank.
Then, he then told me he found my ring! I think I asked him if he was serious….and after he said “YES”…I was speechless. I couldn’t speak…I was crying hysterically and couldn’t stop! The sentimental value for me was so much more than the jewelry price value. I tried to get out the words to say Thank you and that I would call him back when I left my job to discuss picking it up. I immediately called my husband and my mom crying. They could hardly understand me but they finally realized what I had said and were both shocked and excited!
Dave, there are no words for what you do for people/families like ours. There is no replacing a memory or the value that was placed on something because of its emotional association with it when something is lost. You replaced it for me and renewed my strength in humanity that there are honest people who care about others and want to help people…”Thank you.” That is the smallest thing I can say and the biggest thing I can mean at the same time. I am glad my wedding band will be in safe hands until we officially meet and I promise to NEVER wear it in the Ocean again (at least until I get it re-sized)!!!