Daily article helps Decatur
resident find lost '76 jewel
By Deangelo McDaniel
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2469
HARTSELLE —How would you feel if you were reunited with a special gift from your mother?
"I feel happy, very happy," Walter Lee White, 50, of Decatur said.
More than 30 years after he lost his 1976 Morgan County High School (now Hartselle High) class ring his mother bought, White was reunited with it Monday.
"I never thought I would see it again," he said. "I wish my mother was still here. She would be proud."
Almost a month after his mother paid $79 for the ring in 1975, White quit school and lost the ring.
"My mother was mad because $79 was a lot of money in those days," he said.
White didn't even realize he had lost the ring until his girlfriend asked about it. He got his General Educational Development diploma less than two years after leaving school but he never found the ring.
Then, he received a telephone call from Dolly Holmes after The Daily published a story about the ring Friday.
"I thought someone had died," he said, noting that Holmes typically calls to inform him about people in Hartselle.
Holmes lives on Sparkman Street near the high school. White played with her three sons as a prep student.
Holmes knew White as Lee White.
"That's what people called me in high school," he explained.
Holmes called one of her sons who looked in an old annual and learned that White's full name is Walter Lee White. The initials "WLW" are on the inside of the band.
White carried a copy of The Daily's story with him until coming to the newspaper Monday at about 3:45 p.m.
"I go to work at 5 a.m. and as soon as I got off, I got by here as quick as I could," he said. "My mother would be proud. She would be so proud."
White said he is thankful for Jean Johnson and her mother, the late Laura Yates.
Yates, who died in 2000, lived at 202 Corsbie St. and found the ring while planting a garden near a welding shop behind her home.
After her mother's death, Johnson found the ring in a jewelry box and tried unsuccessfully to locate the owner.
She gave up her solo attempt and solicited help from The Daily.
White, who was born the youngest of five children to Cornelius and Martha White, lived on Hammitt Street. His father operated a shoe repair shop, but White remembers playing behind the welding shop.
"All this is kind of unreal and brings back a lot of memories," he said. "I assure you I won't lose the ring again. I'm going to put it in a safe place."
As for Johnson, putting the ring back on White's hand completes half her journey.
She still wants to find the owner of a 1971 Vinemont High School ring she found in a jewelry box she purchased at the Salvation Army in Hartselle.
The ring has a sapphire with a "V" on the top and the initials "MCH" in the band.
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