Long Lost Ring Returns

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 9:41am

Man reunited with 1938 class ring more than 70 years after he lost it.

Two California men who graduated from the same high school nearly 40 years apart have been brought together by a class ring.

In 1938 Jesse Mattos bought his senior class ring.

His investment that soon went down the drain.

"I had it a month and I was working in a butcher shop and my hands were greasy so I took it off, and it went down the toilet and I lost it," he says.

Jesse figured he'd never see his class ring again.

He went on with his life, becoming a pilot, fighting in World War II and the Korean war and marrying his sweetheart.

Sadly at age 90 Jesse hit hard times.

He broke his arm, suffered a concussion, and lost Florence, his wife of 68 years.

Then out of the blue a phone call lifted his spirits.

72 years after he lost his class ring down the toilet, a city worker in Dunsmuir found it, garnet and all.

Jesse's no longer the 120 pounds he was in high school so he wears it proudly on his pinky finger.

"Makes me feel good all over again it takes me back," he says.

It's all because city worker Tony Congi was a super sleuth.

He noticed the tiny initials J.T.M on the inside of the ring, found the 1938 Dunsmuir High year book and found Jesse, the only one with the same initials.

He then tracked down another 1938 grad living in Dunsmuir, who just happened to be Jesse's best friend.

Tony personally delivered the ring a few weeks ago.

Now Jesse wakes up every day and looks at his ring, a reflection of youthful days and the goodness of strangers.

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