More than 50 years had passed since Tishey Hughes laid eyes on her high school class ring. A tearful reunion Wednesday in the parking lot of Wayne Boze Funeral Home in Waxahachie changed that.
Hughes is a 1966 graduate of Sam Houston High School in Arlington. She only had the ring for a short time before it went missing and is unsure how it made its trip to Waxahachie.
“I am beyond excited," Hughes said. "I have thought of this ring for so many years because I only had this ring about a year after I graduated.”
With hopes of one day reuniting the ring to its rightful owner, Elnora Aday was charged with its safekeeping. An employee at Aday’s restaurant — Aday’s Dairy Mart — found the ring as they were cleaning up picnic tables.
But that was in the 1970’s.
The only clues to the owner’s identity were the initials, “TGB,” inscribed on the inside of the gold band.
“Well, I figured somebody wanted it. If I had lost it, I would want it back even if I was 100 years old. I knew that someone would be tickled to death to get it,” Aday said. “My daughter called the school that this came from four weeks ago and they did not give her any information. I have called them at least five times, and they would not give us any information.”
Despite her unsuccessful attempts to locate the owner of the ring over the years, Aday remained confident that she would be able to reconnect the two. That perseverance took an encouraging turn last week.
“My grandson, who is a Dallas attorney, came down last Friday and spent the day working on it. He had his computer and everything,” Aday recalled. “When he left, he put a piece of paper down on my table and said, 'here she is and she still lives in Arlington and here is her telephone number.'”
The search found the ring's owner, Hughes, still living in Arlington. The initials on the ring were a match to Hughes’ maiden name, Tishey Gannon Batts.
Aday’s caregiver, Virginia Cleveland, made a phone call the next day. After getting a recorded message, Cleveland called the following day again.
Hughes picked up.
“That time I told her who I was and that I was a caregiver for this lady and found the ring and wanted to see if it was hers,” Cleveland said. “She started crying. She said, 'I have thought about this ring every week for these 50-some-odd years.'”
Cleveland stated they then agreed to meet Wednesday.
Hughes shared when she looks at the ring it reminds her of her father, Ramsey Batts, who put away money for her to have this symbol of her accomplishment.
“We were not poor, but we were not rich. It took a lot for him to get this ring for me,” Hughes remembered. “I am just so excited and thankful to these people finding my ring and being so persistent. I love it.”
Aday shared Hughes feelings about the moment that connected a person with their past.
“I was tickled to death for her to have it,” Aday said. “I think that she is tickled to have it.”