Like many teens who attended Ceres High School in the 1970s, Trudy Schalles admired her Josten’s class ring her parents bought for her with her name engraved inside. But she didn’t get to enjoy it for long. During her junior year she loaned it to her high school boyfriend, Glen Wilson, to wear and he lost it at a job site in Patterson. He told her in a matter of fact way when she noticed he wasn’t wearing it.
Trudy never thought she’d see her ring again as the decades pushed it far into memory – until it surfaced recently, 47 years later.
Now married and named Trudy Prickett, the 1975 CHS grad was contacted at her Kansas City, Missouri home last summer by a couple who found it in their grandparent’s home. She was overjoyed when they mailed it to her with a letter.
“I was very surprised,” said Trudy, who was born and raised in Ceres since 1957. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Wilson was a senior working for Bill Moring painting houses in 1974 when he lost it.
“As time went on he told me he lost it and really didn’t know where, so I thought, well, okay, that’s gone,” said Trudy. “I just figured it was gone and never thought about it again.”
Last summer one of her Ceres acquaintances on Facebook had messaged her saying the long lost class ring was found.
Prickett received the ring in November from Christine Stokman Wagner, a Mae Hensley Junior High School teacher, who spent weeks of sleuthing to track down the ring’s rightful owner. The discovery was made when Wagner’s five-year-old niece was playing with her grandmother’s collection of costume jewelry. One of the items was Trudy’s ring which had been picked up years before at a construction site on Baldwin Road in Patterson. When the call was placed on social media to track down the woman whose name was engraved into the ring, Ted Betschart, a relative of Christine’s husband, recognized the name of Trudy Schalles as a former classmate. Betschart contacted an old friend of Trudy’s who knew where she lived and contact was made through Facebook.
The couple messaged Trudy but she waited months to receive it, doubting the whole time if it was really her ring.
“I have a really nice letter that they sent me with it when they mailed it to me. It’s really nice how they went about trying to find me. It’s kind of a weird story because it happened so long ago.”
In the letter that accompanied the ring, Christine Wagner told Trudy: “We had a whole group of people looking for you and I am still amazed that we were able to find you! It kind of feels like fate that this ring goes back to its owner. I hope that it brings you joy.”
The ring is in prestine shape and just as she remembered with the blue stone and engraving. Unfortunately it no longer fits her finger.
“I looked at it and was like, gosh that thing is tiny,” said a chuckling Trudy.
She still maintains connections with Ceres folks despite having moved from Denair to Kansas City in 2005 to be close to her son received a baseball scholarship to Avila University. Trudy’s father, Jack Schalles, was a teacher in Ceres for many years, along with my mother being a substitute teacher.
“We love it out here,” Trudy said of Kansas City. “It’s so different. We had to slow down a lot moving out here. Nobody’s in a hurry out here. I retired last year. It’s awesome out here. I just can’t even imagine being in California the way things are now and it’s sad because it was such a good place to grow up when we were younger and now it’s changed so much.”