Cindy Blackham got her first wedding ring at just eight years old. She found the piece—a man’s hammered gold wedding band—at the edge of the sidewalk at her grandparent’s home in New Britain, Connecticut. “I actually put it on my hand for about a month and pretended I was married because I had a wedding band,” she confessed to Brides. Once her newfound ring had lost its luster, however, Blackham tucked it away in her jewelry box for safekeeping, and there it would remain—for the next 40 years. "There was no way to find the owner," she said.
Though she got rid of other items in the box over the decades, Blackham always felt a moral obligation to hang onto the ring. “It’s not mine to ever discard,” she reasoned. “I’m [now] a woman in love. I know the significance of a ring. That was exchanged between two people.”
Unbeknownst to Blackham, those two people were Edward and Renata Simpson, who lived across the street from her grandparents. “[Edward] thought he had taken it off and put it on the sink at work [and] somebody might have found it and held onto it,” Blackham explained. Instead, it likely fell out of Simpson’s pocket, never to be seen again ... or so he thought. But In November 2018, Blackham came across the ring while visiting her childhood home with her daughter, Ashley Blackham.
“I was...looking for something else,” she explained. “My daughter questioned if that was my husband’s ring.”
After Cindy explained that the band had in fact belonged to a man she had never met, Ashley gave it a closer inspection, noticing something her mother hadn’t seen before—an inscription. “There’s writing inside that ring,” she told Cindy. With Ashley’s keen eyes trained on the script, the two women were able to make out the initials "E.R.S.," "R.M.S." and a wedding date of "July 30, 1969."
As luck would have it, Ashley is a data analyst who was doing family research at the time and knew just what to do with that information. “My very clever daughter, she had a really strong hunch that Ancestry.com’s family records "[might turn up some answers],” Cindy recalled.
She was right. Just 10 minutes later, Ashley had located the ring’s rightful owner. “She went onto Ancestry and she pulled a report of all the weddings that took place on that date,” Cindy explained. “[She looked at] the husband’s names and the wife’s names and she compared the initials.”
Ashley soon found a match in Edward and Renata. “She did it in record time,” Cindy added. “I was still poking around in my jewelry box!”
Armed with their monikers, the mother and daughter duo hurriedly looked up the couple’s phone numbers. “We couldn’t wait. I was like a kid in a candy in a candy store, it was just so [many] emotions,” she told Brides. “I said, ‘Let’s call them up.”
Edward didn’t answer right away, but the woman he had married 49 years prior, Renata Simpson, did. “I said to her, 'Did you ever lose a ring in New Britain, Connecticut?'” Cindy asked. Renata replied that she hadn’t... But her husband, Edward, most certainly had.
That's right! Not only did the couple remember the ring he had lost, they were still together. In fact, they were about to celebrate their 50th anniversary!
Thanks to Cindy, the loving pair's gift, which is traditionally meant to be gold for the 50th year, came early with the return of the ring. “In early December, they came to [my] office. We got to finally meet and I just started crying, and he started crying,” Cindy shared. “They were so happy to get it.”
Their story didn’t end there, however: A friendship quickly ensued with the Simpsons, who invited Cindy and her daughter to their big anniversary bash in June. “These two people are so in love," Cindy gushed. "They are so engaged with each other. They have grown together, they travel together, they’re each other’s best friends.”
She was also privy to the extra-special gift Edward decided to give to Renata for Christmas that year. “I texted him and he confided in me that he was giving Renata the [replacement wedding] ring that was given to him by her mother from Italy,” Cindy shared.
Apparently, Renata’s mother, who has since passed away, had noticed her son-in-law’s naked hand after he lost the ring and insisted he have a new one so that the world would know he was married to her daughter. “All these years, he’s been wearing that,” Cindy said.
For Cindy, getting the chance to be a part of Edward and Renata’s serendipitous story was a personal high. “It’s so nice to give,” she noted to Brides, adding, “This was the highlight of my decade.”
We've got a sneaking suspicion it was the highlight of Edward and Renata's, too!
Now, if you'll excuse us while we go grab some tissues...