Romney High School ring reunited with family
One of Romney High School’s 1957 class rings found it’s way home to Hampshire County and Debbie Haines, formerly Debbie Short, after making it’s way – somehow – across the country to Texas.
“My cousin called and left a message on my phone saying a class ring was found in Texas that had my sister’s initials – KLS – on it,” said Haines.
“She said, ‘Could that be Kitty’s ring and I said ‘oh, I don’t know, I don’t know anyone who has it.’ Maybe?” Haines is the sister of Kitty Lee Short, a 1957 Romney High graduate.
After finding the ring, John and Judy Clegg reached out to Romney Mayor Beverly Keadle to find its owner. Word spread and that’s when Haines was notified. Later she contacted the Cleggs.
“That family had never been to West Virginia, never heard tell of Romney. They asked if my sister could have been in Louisiana or Texas and I said no, she would not have been there. She (Judy Clegg) said her father used to work for the post company in Texas when he was living,” Haines explained.
“She doesn’t know if somehow someone sent it; it should not have been in Texas. When he (John Andrew “Andy” Knowles, the father of Judy Clegg, who had the ring in his possession) passed away, they went through all his stuff and they assumed it belonged to her mom or dad – they never paid attention to it.”
She continued, “One day a grandkid came down and said ‘where did this ring come from?’ and then they really got to looking at it. Then they realized it wasn’t theirs – it was from Romney, West Virginia, wherever that was, she said, and it was from 1957.”
Haines reached out to the Cleggs, shared photos, and the families determined that her sister Kitty and their father John were not a couple. Still, she did some research and the ring does appear to be her sister’s.
“I talked to a couple people including Nancy Arnold who graduated with her (Kitty) and they said, yes, that is what our class rings looked like,” she said.
“Also, my sister is the only person with the initials KLS in the 1957 yearbook so it is definitely her class ring. How it got in Texas is beyond me or anybody else.”
The Clegg’s Good Samaritan detective work, along with Haines’ research, concluded the search and now the ring is home with Haines, who wears it everyday when she’s in the county.
“I call it my mystery miracle because it’s a mystery how her class ring ended up in Texas when she graduated in Romney and never went to Texas and it’s a miracle I got it back,” said Haines.
“This will probably never happen to anybody in a million years. I feel it was meant to be. My sister wanted me to have this for some reason. She died in 2000 and it came back to me after all these years.”
Both Kitty Short and Andy Knowles have passed away so the families concluded that there might never be a clear answer on how the ring found it’s way across the country. Its journey is a mystery since they believe they (Kitty and Andy) were the only two people who may have truly known what happened.
Either way, Haines said she is thrilled to have the ring back home with her in Shanks.
She concluded, “It’s like it was sent to me from heaven. It was meant to be.”