|As the song goes, whenever two or three shall meet and old tales be retold—it has been my experience that when these old tales are told sooner or later the tales will get around to rings, lost, found, rejuvenated, new stones set and so on. People tell me they love reading and hearing ring stories. Well, here is a ring story, which I believe will fascinate you.
The story begins with an email received by our web master, John Tsiknas 7th Co. The email is dated December 12, 2011 and reads as follows:
Dear John, My father, Robert E. Schwoeffermann, was class of 48B. (Scribe’s note: Bob was in the 23rd Co. and died 7/1/89) My sister is interested in purchasing a ladies miniature class of 1948. We were wondering if you could get us in touch with someone who owns one and would like to sell it to her. Please contact me at email@example.com if you have any information on this. My husband, Vincent J. Lynch is class of 1972. We get the Shipmate every month and that is how I found you. Looking forward to hearing from you. Go Navy Beat Army. Susan Schwoeffermann Lynch.
John responded the same day as follows:
Dear Susan, Your sister is in luck. I have a ring that I gave to my mother upon graduation that has the inscription “Mother Forever John”. She wore it until she passed away in 1983. I would never consider selling it, but your sister is welcome to it. Please send me the address that I should send it to. Best wishes, John Tsiknas.
Again on the same day Susan replied:
Dear John, I quite don’t know what to say except thank you for your kindness and generosity in giving my sister your mother’s ring. What a great story about her wearing it all those years. Since I am the one who wants to give the ring to my sister please mail it to me: Susan Lynch, 103 Ferry Landing Circle, Portsmouth, RI 02871. If you do not wish any payment for the ring at least let me reimburse you for the postage. Best wishes to you, too. Susan Schwoeffermann Lynch
The following day John emailed Susan:
The ring is on its way via Federal Express ground. The tracking number is --------- and it should arrive by Tuesday (Dec. 20).
As you may know Dave Carruth 9th Co. is our class secretary and I am the webmaster thus we correspond very frequently. He thought that it was a very unusual story even asked me if I would like to share our emails (yours and mine) with the rest of the class (probably in Shipmate) but I told him that I would have to check with you. We respect your privacy and would do nothing to violate it. By the way, I am curious-what is your sister’s interest in a miniature ring? Best wishes, John.
On Dec. 14 Susan wrote:
Dear John, I saw all your class information under 1948 Class News and thought you would be the best place to start. If you did not respond then I was going to email the class secretary. My sister’s interest is this: My father gave my mother a miniature as an engagement ring at Midnight Mass December, 1947 when he proposed to her. They got married in June of 1948 and were married 41 years before he died. Some time ago my mom told me she wished to give me her miniature since my husband had also graduated from the Naval Academy. I have my own miniature that my husband gave me but was touched my mom wanted me to have her ring. I will always cherish the ring especially with the romantic story behind it. My sister has always wanted my mom’s miniature, too, but understands my having it. So, she asked me to get her a 1948 class miniature so she could have something from our dad’s academy days. She knew my husband and I were in a position to find one for her and she said she was willing to pay whatever the owner’s asking price was. So, imagine my surprise when you emailed back that you had a ring and that you were willing to give it to me. I will see my sister sometime during the next couple of months and thought it would mean more to her and to me if I gave her the ring in person and told her the story. I plan to print out our email so she knows the story from start to finish. This will be a total surprise to Catherine when I do give her the ring. Now, I have a sister, Sally, whom I called to share this incredible story and she jokingly said she would like a miniature, too. Wouldn’t that be something if all three of us had miniatures from the class of 1948? If you could find a ring for her that someone is willing to sell that would be wonderful. I just love making my sisters happy. I don’t mind you putting this remarkable story in the Shipmate but I would need to ask my sister’s permission to use her name and I can’t do that until I give her the ring. It would spoil the surprise. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity. I will let you know when I receive the ring. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. Sincerely, Susan
On Dec. 19th Susan acknowledged receipt of the ring.
All quiet on the ring front until May 27th when Susan wrote:
I finally had to call my sister and tell her I had the miniature to give her. I plan to drive to New York in two weeks to give her the ring. I read her all our emails and sent her via our cell phones a picture of the ring. Needless to say, my sister was speechless after I told her the story. And she said, yes, by all means put the story in the Shipmate. We both give our permission to have our names used.
On May 29th Susan wrote:
Catherine is the Executive Director of the Hoyt Foundation in Binghamton, NY and has a very busy travel schedule but we have found a weekend that will work and I am driving to her home on June 9th.
On June 10th John received the following email:
My name is Catherine Schwoeffermann-Menz. I am Susan Lynch’s sister, and the person who was inquiring about a 1948 ring. Susan came to visit me this weekend and gave me your mother’s beautiful ring. I am writing to give you my heart-felt appreciation for your generosity of spirit. Honestly, I do not know if I have ever received anything more special. Every time I look at the ring I will think of my father, my mother, you, and your mother. The ring has many stories embedded in it, and now there is one more-the story of my sister’s loving search, your generous gift, and my welcome receipt!
The ring is very beautiful, and I want you to know that rubies have always had special significance to me ever since I took a trip to India several years ago. So when I saw the red stone, I was more than delighted.
Thank you from my heart for your thoughtfulness and consideration-I am forever grateful.
Scribe’s note: If anyone out there can top this one, I’m all ears.
I have received a thank you note from our latest sponsored midshipman, Richard Thomas Class of 2016 (now, does that make you feel old?!). Richard is a swimmer/water polo man. He writes:
I look forward to completing plebe summer and the excitement a freshman year can bring. I will be busy with school and the water polo team. My outlook towards academics is one of confidence and excitement. The new challenges and possibilities ahead of me are endless. I once again would like to thank you for helping to make my acceptance to the Naval Academy possible.”
As always we must acknowledge the friends we have lost since the last issue.
11th Co. Ghormley, R.L., Jr. 6/3/12
2nd Co. Chipman, W.T., Jr. 6/23/12
Anderson, Barbara wife of Roy Anderson (Deceased) 21 Co. 5/22/12
Brendle, Betty wife of Bill Brendle (Deceased) 20th. Co. 5/28/12
Our condolences, like the families we shall miss them.
This is a good place for an accolade to Bob Ghormley who was our Treasurer for many, many years and made certain that the Class sent flowers or a memorial contribution remembering our friends who crossed the bar before we did. Bob did a wonderful job. Needless to say Warren Graham 2nd Co. was really hoping someone would stand up and take on the job and as I have said repeatedly our Classmates always fill the gap when one needs to be filled. In this case Charlie Mertz has volunteered to take it on. Thank you Charlie. We view it as a labor of love.
Finally, Phil Rogers 9th Co. was exposed to a negative rumor of an IG inspection of the Academy Columbarium and Cemetery. He mentioned it to Tom Hayward 21st Co. who commented “While this IG effort was conducted primarily on orders from the Congress related to wide-spread news articles about inept (or worse) management at Arlington, you need to know what steps the Supe has taken in the way of input to the Secretary, who signed off on the IG report.”
Much of the funding for the Columbarium is from the Class of ’59 and Phil received an email from Norm Bednarek ’59 as follows:
Phil, as a follow up to our earlier emails, here’s what we found out. Frank Donovan spoke with the superintendent and called me yesterday with the following: The IG and a thirty four-man team did inspect and review the Cemetery and Columbarium. They were part of a National effort to ensure that the Arlington National Cemetery mishaps didn’t occur at other locations. The VA has a vested interest since they provide tombstones at the military cemeteries. The findings were seven minor discrepancies (e.g. tombstone barely readable, tombstone askew, etc.) There was no issue of the VA taking over the Academies facilities.
Betty and I hope you had a great celebration of our Nation’s birthday and that you remembered to put your flag out.