A Montana woman has gotten back her long-lost engagement ring, 36 years after it first went missing.
Terry and Donna Claver had been out only three times when they decided to get married back in 1973. The pair picked out a sapphire engagement ring with a gold band, the best they could afford at the time.
About a year and a half later, a heavily pregnant Donna put the ring on the back of the toilet while putting lotion on and watched it slip into the toilet bowl.
“I went to grab it, but I missed and it fell in,” Donna told the Billings Gazette. “It went right down into the little hole at the bottom of the toilet. I could put my finger in that hole and feel it with the tip of my finger, but it was wedged in tight.”
Claver and her husband did their best to get the ring free, draining the toilet, and then shaking, poking and prodding it, but nothing worked. They gave up, and several years later moved out of the small one bedroom house.
They stayed in Stanford and watched as the house went through several other owners, eventually ending up as a hunting cabin for a group from Florida.
“It always irritated me that we lost it,” Terry told the paper. “I always wanted to get it back. About five years ago the hunters asked me to go in the house and fix a bathroom faucet. I saw the toilet over there and I thought, ‘I ought to just take that toilet up to see if that ring is still down there.’ But I didn’t have time and it was somebody else’s house, so I didn’t.”
But a lucky break came just last month when Terry, fixing the roof of a building across the street from his first house, saw the hunters carrying out the old, now broken toilet, so they could replace it with a new one. Terry offered to throw the toilet away for them and they happily accepted.
“I put it in the back of my pickup and drove it into the shop,” he told the paper. “I got a sledgehammer, and I whacked it. The base of the toilet fell down on the truck’s end gate, and right in the center where the little hole would have been was the ring.”
Terry excitedly called for his wife to join him in the shop. And that’s when she got a sight of the ring she thought she would never see again.
Holding it out on his pinky, Terry asked his wife of nearly four decades:
“Honey — will you marry me?”
The excited couple, who are now grandparents, laughed and cried, celebrating so many years after this symbol of their young love was lost.
“If we would have got the ring back six weeks after we lost it, we probably wouldn’t have remembered it,” Terry told the newspaper. “Every marriage goes through its seasons. Sometimes you think everything the other person does is cute, and other times you can’t stand to be around them. Finding the ring brought back the same original feelings we had when we were kids. It was a gift from God that made those feelings strong again.”