When Joyce Jenkins called The Kerrville Daily Times on Monday she was hoping against hope that the newspaper could help her find a precious family heirloom — her mother’s simple gold wedding band.
Virginia Pate, 92, had called Kerrville her home for more than a decade. However, as age and signs of dementia began to creep into her independent living upon Hilltop Drive, Jenkins decided it was best to mover her mother closer to home — in East Texas.
Before Pate’s home was sold and her belongings packed up, including an extensive collection of paintings she produced through the years, she lost the gold wedding band her late husband had given to her in 1948.
It was a devastating blow. As Pate’s memory begins to fade, the one thing she holds onto is that that gold wedding band — size 4. Arthritis had led her to wear it on her pinky finger, and Jenkins believes she lost it while walking her dog. Neighbors in the Hilltop Drive area helped search, but no luck.
“The Hilltop community embraced my Mom and helped care for her along with Heart Choices Care Management until the time was right to make the move to assisted living,” Jenkins wrote in an email. “Mom loved Kerrville and was drawn to the area for the opportunities to paint and share her love of art.”
The one thing that Pate continually asked about was finding her ring. The move had been traumatic enough on the whole family, but the agony of the missing ring was even harder.
“It was heartbreaking to re-home Mom’s dog and cat, distribute her possessions no longer needed, sell the cars and her house then move her to an assisted living facility near me but Mom has now adjusted to the new chapter and really cannot recall more than the previous 10-minutes worth of events,” Jenkins said.
So, Jenkins made one final plea — to the newspaper.
“On May 8, I had just closed on my Mom’s home of the past 12 years on Village Drive in the Hilltop neighborhood and my only purpose in making the call to the Daily Times was an effort to find closure with Kerrville; to let someone know the story of a lost wedding band belonging to my 92-year-old mother,” Jenkins wrote to us.
As part of the coronavirus pandemic coverage, The Kerrville Daily Times hosts two 30-minute long Facebook Live updates, which I host. The show has been a place for us to share news, engage with our online audience, and most importantly, try to connect with our community in a new way.
Jenkins called me on Monday afternoon, and we went live with it that night on the show, and that’s where the story took a rapid turn.
Carolyn Northcutt, a Realtor with Century 21 The Hills Realty, has been a steadfast sponsor since the show started, and she’s been ready to give back to the community at any time. She recently gave $100 to the woman believed to the oldest mom in town — 104-year-old Adele Wendell — and she has other ideas on how to help, including a fundraiser for a Tivy High School grad who is headed to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
However, when Northcutt — one of our most faithful viewers — heard this story she got on the phone with local jewelry store Baublitt’s and took action. Working with the store, Northcutt was able to purchase a size-4 gold band and have it shipped to Jenkins.
“My hope was that the story would be related and, by some fluke, someone would have found it and just could not identify an owner or that someone had a good metal detector, didn’t have anything to do and may have wanted to scan the Hilltop neighborhood where my Mom walked several times a day,” Jenkins wrote in an email to me. “Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think that anyone may care about an unknown character, much less make the effort to bring a point of light to a life that is growing dimmer each day.”
On Friday, the ring arrived and Jenkins was able to present it to her mother who is living at a nearby assisted living center.
“My heart melted and my eyes welled with tears when Louis called me on Tuesday to say that someone had contacted him about replacing a lost 72-year-old wedding band that had belonged to my mother,” Jenkins wrote. “Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think that anyone may care about an unknown character, much less make the effort to bring a point of light to a life that is growing dimmer each day.”
Virginia Pate has a simple gold band, size 4, again — it makes her smile. For Joyce and her family, it’s one final reminder of why her mother picked Kerrville as a place to call home.
“I absolutely cannot thank Carolyn and Baublit’s Jewelers enough for bringing such joy to the lives of my mother and myself,” Jenkins said. “Thank you for your generous gift! To see my Mom so happy is a wonderful memory.”
(Louis Amestoy is the managing editor of The Kerrville Daily Times)