GROVETOWN, GA -- It was a sunny week at Clark's Hill Lake. Aimee Lim and her fiance were walking along the shore when a sparkle caught her eye. "When I went down the water, I saw something flashing. So I wadled in there and picked it up from between two rocks and saw it was a ring."
The ring was in good shape, gold with a blue stone in the center. The lettering said "Westside High 1982."
Aimee says, "I thought probably he just lost it a couple of months ago, a couple of years. So I will be able to trace him pretty easy."
Aimee was in detective mode, but her only clue was faded, tiny initals engraved inside: J-E-C.
She turned to a trusty research assistant- Google. "I found a list of Westside High alum from 1982. And looked at all the guys named there and then bang! J-E-C. John Edward Clark." Aimee says it was the only name with those initials on the list of Seniors from 1982.
The class roster online helped her find "who," but now she needed to know "where." Where was John Edward Clark? Was he still living in the area?
Aimee explains her mission, "I went home and spent all afternoon tracking where he was. I checked Facebook, searched every website I know, then finally I went into the Yellowpages. And I found his name!"
Aimee called the number listed, and left a message with John Clark's daughter. John says, "My daughter met me at the door. She was out of breath and told me, 'Dad you need to call this lady right now- she found your class ring.' And I was like.. come on, Summer. Really?"
John was doubtful, but he picked up the phone anyway. "Aimee said, 'I think I have your ring!'"
John could hardly believe it. He didn't lose the ring last weekend. Or last year. He lost it in the lake in 1984. At least 27 years ago.
"She found my ring," John repeats, shaking his head. "And it had been in the water since '84. I'm pretty certain since 1984."
Aimee couldn't believe it either. "It was around 27 years in that water. Just waiting for me to come pick it up! I think it went to the right person," she laughs.
John agrees. The ring means much more to him than just a piece of jewelry. "Graduation was a huge accomplishment," he explains. "It was not acceptable to my parents for me not to graduate high school. So it was a struggle between myself and my parents, but I made it through. I did graduate high school. I got this ring- and it was a big deal to me to get this ring."
John spins the ring around his pinky finger, tears coming to his eyes. He and his dad both saved up until they could afford the $365 dollar gold ring. "Graduation was important. I remember my father telling me he was proud of me. And that," John pauses, remembering. "Was a big deal."
Sadly, John only had the ring for a couple of years before he lost it fishing one day at Keg Creek, right near the same bridge Aimee and her fiance found the ring. Back in 1984, John and his friends searched the shore for weeks, but the ring never washed up. Until now.
"I feel like it's all whole again, for some reason or another, now that I got my ring back," John reflects.
Aimee adds, "We met at Wal Mart. I was about to give him the ring, and he was trembling and teary eyed. And shaking. And I was like, Oh this ring means a lot to this man. Okay- I really did the right thing."
The right thing. The right place. The right time.
And, now, the right person. John holds out his hand, staring at the gold and blue. "Aimee is an amazing person. Incredible person. People like her don't come around but once in a lifetime."
Their smiles prove- this newfound friendship is worth more than its weight in gold.