Gold Wedding Band…Found in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Yard
BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received an email from a gentleman named Robert who was inquiring about my services in helping him find his lost wedding band. I was quite excited to help the man in his efforts to find the missing ring which he had hoped was still hidden somewhere on his property.
Almost a year earlier, Robert was working on a project around the outside of his place. He was removing a tremendous amount of ivy that had been growing along the outer brick walls of his Harrisburg, Pennsylvania house. The homeowner believed his yellow gold family heirloom wedding band must have slipped off his finger and got lost somewhere on the property. The other possibility was that the wood chip cutter that he was using during his outside project could have gotten the best of the poor piece of gold and perhaps was shredded into smithereens! He couldn’t be sure what exactly happened to the band.
Robert searched all around the bushes near the foundation of the house. He got a metal detector and searched over the grassy areas in his front yard and along the side yards. Eventually he took his search for the missing ring to the back of the house and looked heavily in the weeds and withered ivy that had been removed off the house and dragged with a tarp all the way to the farthest parts of the property. Unfortunately, all of his diligent efforts did not lead Robert to uncovering the lost wedding band that he so very much cherished.
This particular yellow gold keepsake was very special to the family because it was previously worn by Robert’s deceased father-in-law. Robert’s wife, Michelle, was gifted her mother’s wedding band which matched her father’s ring that was gifted to Robert. They loved the idea that they could wear their parent’s rings because not only did they have sentimental connections as family heirlooms, but the couple was also very happy that they were saving the environment by wearing gold that had already been manufactured 53-plus years earlier. They shared with me that they didn’t want to buy gold jewelry because they said it was harming the environment with today’s mining and production of gold throughout the world.
When Robert and Michelle couldn’t find the wedding band anywhere on their large property, they had to put aside the idea that they would ever see the ring again. However, almost a year later, hope would finally emerge from the depths of despair. As Robert was looking for a class to take online, he stumbled upon an ad that I had posted regarding my metal detecting service for people in need of finding lost items. He figured that he had nothing to lose because if I didn’t find the missing item, the client would not be responsible for paying me anything other than my travel expense. The two of us made arrangements to talk on the phone and by the time we were done, Robert scheduled a date for me to come out and help him find his missing wedding band.
I will never forget that particular Father’s Day as I drove two hours north from Maryland to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was definitely a hot one outside. I didn’t leave the house without packing a large cooler filled with drinks and plenty of ice. Each mile I drove, I got more excited about this mission to help this complete stranger who lived so far away solve the mystery as to where his wedding band ended up. Of course, there was no guarantee that I would find the ring, but at the least I could bring Robert some closure if I didn’t find the keepsake. He could then move on and not wonder if he should continue searching for something that was clearly gone forever.
I arrived at Robert and Michelle’s lovely 1800s estate sometime in the early afternoon. The moment that I got out of the car, I was shown around the property and Robert explained to me exactly what he was doing during that weekend when he was stripping all of that ivy off the side of the house. He explained to me how he transported the ivy on a tarp from the front lawn all the way to the far back of the house. Once I was completely oriented as to all of Robert’s whereabouts throughout his weekend project almost a year earlier, I knew exactly where I needed to search if there was a chance that the ring was hiding somewhere outside on his property.
Once we were finished with the tour around the house, I got busy pulling out all of my necessary search equipment that I needed for that Sunday’s adventure. I made sure that the ice cooler was near to me at all times because it was a real scorcher of a day. Being that it was Father’s Day, Robert and Michelle would be hanging out with the children and hosting a few close friends that would be coming over to celebrate the day together. Their little party would be in the backyard over to one side where I was not going to be detecting. From time to time I would have young visitors come near to watch what I was doing, as well as a couple of neighbors that were walking by who also wanted to see what I was doing.
There were so many areas around the house that I needed to search. I started metal detecting in the most logical place before tackling more of the questionable locations. With a 6 inch coil (which is the disc at the end of the metal detector’s shaft), I slowly and carefully metal detected in the bushes that were up against the front brick of the house. There was a good chance that the ring fell off of Robert’s finger when he was pulling the ivy down off the house. It could have gotten lost under or somewhere around the bushes that were up against the brick. I was using a smaller coil because it would help to eliminate any electrical interference that the detector might otherwise pick up. It also was perfect for searching the hard-to-get-to-places with this smaller disc. Another advantage of using the 6 inch coil is that when you are detecting near the foundation of the house, there are lots of nails and small pieces of aluminum scattered all about. Therefore, one needs to use equipment that can separate out multiple target signals and differentiate between one from another. I found that the smaller coil worked very effectively to help me identify what was a potential target and what was not. I found all sorts of pieces of metal in the bushes and around the foundation of the house. Plenty of roof nails, screws, bottle caps, pull tabs, coins, little pieces of aluminum, and much more. I was extremely happy that I was able to overcome quite a bit of electrical interference as I was metal detecting along the edge of the foundation. When I finished detecting under all of the bushes in the front of the house and up against the foundation, I was completely positive that the ring was not anywhere in that vicinity.
The next area that I metal detected was the front lawn. I chose that particular area because once Robert removed the ivy from the brick, he laid the ivy on the grass in the front yard and on the side yards before hauling loads of the plant onto a tarp where he dragged it to the backyard. I wanted to make sure that the ring didn’t get lost in the grass in front of the house. It was a fairly small front yard so it didn’t take long to complete all of my grid lines from east to west and then back again. Though I found a few coins (mostly nickels), there was no gold to be found. It was at that point for me to move to the sides of the house.
During the five or so hours of search time, I would take occasional breaks because of how scorched I was out there on that very hot summer afternoon. Though I knew this could be a very long search day, I did not waver at all regarding my confidence that if the ring was lost outside on the property that I would find it somehow…somewhere. It was therefore extremely important to keep my body hydrated throughout the recovery process.
I gathered up my equipment and moved over to the right side of the house and detected in and around the bushes, as well as all across the flowerbeds along the length of the house leading towards the backyard. I found some interesting pieces of metal here and there, but didn’t find what I was looking for. Then, when I finished my search throughout that area, I moved to the grassy section on the other side of the walkway that leads to the back of the house. This section was adjacent to the neighbor’s yard. I wondered if the ring slipped off of Robert’s finger while he was working on the side of the house and perhaps it landed on the grassy area just before transporting the dead ivy from that side of the house. I grid searched that whole section of the lawn, but still no ring was detected on my machine.
Now that the front and right side of the house was completed, I turned to the left side of the house and began to metal detect all along the foundation of the house, in the flowerbeds, and even in the window well as I did on the other side of the house. I continued to go back and forth between my 15 inch coil for larger, more open areas of detecting where there were less trashy conditions, and the 6 inch sniper coil to work around hard to get to places. I was so hoping that I would discover the piece of gold on that left side of the house, but once again, nothing turned up.
Sweat was pouring down my face and the smoldering temperatures outside forced me to take yet another break once I finished that final side of the house (Robert said that there was no ivy removed on the rear side of the house). I sat next to my cooler, which was near the sidewalk that led down the side of Robert and Michelle’s front walkway and cooled off with a couple of drinks. While everybody was celebrating Father’s Day in the backyard, I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to recover the gold ring for Robert on such a special day as this one. I knew that I only had the backyard remaining to check and I tried to not let any doubts creep into my mind regarding the possibility that the ring never ended up outside or that it may have gotten chewed up in the wood chip chopper last year.
At that point in the afternoon, I believe I had metal detected approximately 3.5 hours of search time. I recall Robert coming over to me, asking how things were going. He seemed like he was doubtful that the ring might still be recoverable with just the backyard to search, but I told him that I find rings in the very last minutes of searching. I shared that I was quite encouraged that there were plenty of places to search in the backyard and perhaps that’s where we would find the missing treasure.
Once I finished cooling off, I carried my gear to the backyard and began detecting on the right side of the property (if you are facing away from the house). Robert had showed me a section where he had dumped some of the ivy before carrying it off to another location later that same day when he was working on the project. The weeds were kind of tall so I needed to be really careful not to miss anything along the ground. I pulled up a very old children’s gardening tool, an old matchbox car and a few other miscellaneous pieces of metal. By the time I finished grid searching that right section of the yard, I was 100% confident that Robert’s wedding band was not lost in that area.
As I moved into the five hour mark of searching, the sections that I had left to metal detect were becoming more limited. For most item recovery specialists, we don’t give up until we know that we conquered all of the territory necessary to determine whether or not the lost object was actually dropped in the area(s) that was suspected. I made sure that there was no chance that I somehow missed a spot where the wedding band might have gotten lost. I moved towards the lower area of the backyard which steadily moved on a decline and then got a bit steeper towards the bottom of the hill. I made sure that I investigated all of the hillside going down towards a path where people walked by on a regular basis. Robert had told me that the shredder was down the hill in that region, so I was interested in knowing if I would pick up any of the gold pieces if the ring got placed with the ivy inside the wood chip cutter. More metal objects were discovered along that hillside, but still there was no gold to be found.
I slowly moved my way from the right side of the backyard over towards the left side (if you are facing away from the house). My gridlines were perfectly set as I moved towards the path at the edge of the property and then moved my way back up the hill and continued until I cleared all of that territory leading to the left side of the backyard. It was at that point that I knew we were running out of real estate and my chances of finding the ring were getting slimmer and slimmer.
As I shared earlier, Robert had taken me to all of the spots where he carried, dumped and or cut up the ivy. When he took me to the last area where he dumped some of the ivy (the load that never got cut by the wood chopper), he explained that that was the only other place where he had moved about when working on that particular project. I knew that this was the last part of this search from what he had indicated to me earlier when we took a tour around his property. My last remaining section to detect was probably an area that was 35 feet x 20 feet on the left side of the backyard (if you are facing away from the house). There was quite a bit of brush like in other spots that I had previously detected. In other areas there was just old leaves and overgrown plant life. Truly I was hoping for the best outcome. And yet I probably was having thoughts that this might end up being a “closure story” rather than a successful one. But I didn’t give up hope. I kept metal detecting along my gridlines and every time I got a target signal I checked it out to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything important.
I know it is a cliché to use the phrase “all of a sudden”. However, that’s exactly what happened in this particular story. All of a sudden I hit a fantastic signal that was close to the surface, but slightly below the ground. I had gotten similar target signals just a bit earlier when I uncovered a coin spill of pennies and nickels that must have fallen out of someone’s pocket many years earlier. I wasn’t going to rush to excitement knowing that I had a similar signal earlier all to find out that I had only found a whole bunch of coins that were in the same range as this particular hit. Yet, I stayed optimistic as I pulled out my pinpointer (a hand-held metal detector to examine the specific area where my machine was picking up the particular object). I knelt down on the ground and used my effective tool to zero-in on exactly where the object was buried. Then, when I became confident as to where the object was exactly buried, I move some of the leaves out of the way and there before my eyes I saw the most beautiful sight! It was a yellow gold wedding band that could partially be seen above the soil! I was ecstatic! Even though I have found many items in the very last few seconds of my searches, I have to admit that I was quite surprised that I pulled this ring so close to the end of this task! There were absolutely no other places left for me to search other than a few remaining feet on my gridline! This is why I love what I do so much because there are so many miracle stories that take place and I’m always getting surprised at the next one! I thanked the Lord profusely as I was still knelt down on the ground, staring at this amazing sight! What a moment that was! I couldn’t wait to reveal this precious piece of gold to Robert and his beloved wife!
The family’s party had wrapped up perhaps 45 minutes before I had discovered the ring, so I had the pleasure of walking up to the house to call Robert out to give him a fun fake-out in unveiling this most wonderful surprise! He and Michelle were beyond shocked at what I uncovered far out in the backyard, close to the bottom of the hill! In a matter of minutes, this handsome wedding band that had been in the family since the 1960s, would finally be reunited alongside its matching counterpart (Michelle’s wedding ring that she had been wearing since her mother’s ring was passed on to her years earlier). It brought me so much joy to be able to preserve the sentimental journeys of both the couple’s parents and Robert and Michelle’s personal marital story through what was represented with those two matching rings that were handed down years ago!
I will never forget that adventure in which I embarked upon, driving 250 miles round-trip to another state far away, hoping to solve a mystery that had remained an open case for nearly a year. Robert was so happy that he made that first call to me! Even more so, that he eventually gave the “green light” to move forward with the recovery efforts in attempting to make what seemed as an impossible situation…actually ending up being possible!
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