The Search for Mary Hansen

Alumni Searches - We are always searching for classmates whom we've lost track of, but this search is especially interesting, so I'd like to tell everyone about it. This is the series of e-mail messages and results of other investigations we carried out to find her:


Subject: Class ring
Date sent: Sun, 14 Sep 1997 09:29:46 -0700

Hi Jerry -

While metal detecting, I found a 1966 Mepham High School class ring, with initials M.C.H. inside. I would like to return this ring to it's owner. Any help you can give me in locating the owner will be deeply appreciated.

Joe S.


Subject: Re: Class ring
Date sent: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 09:17:36

Hi Joe -

This looks like we have a detective job ahead of us, which I love.

The class of 1966, at the peak of the baby boom, probably had about 600 in the graduating class, of whom we have 331 in our database. There are 15 "H"s but the only one with "M" first name has a "D" middle name, so that's probably not him (although that could be a change or an error.)

So now the job is to go to the yearbook, which I will do shortly when I get over to our archives, and find the others with the "MH" initials. Then we'll search the school records and try to find out exactly who it is, and get a birth date, and if available, social security number.

Then we'll start to do the searching, contacting siblings, if any, or friends, or put out a message in a newsletter, or on the web. We even look in the Social Security death records, in case that yields information.

As I said, it is a challenge.

If you would like to send me the ring, I'll hold it, or if you want to hang onto it, do so. One way or the other, I'll let you know what progress we make.

Jerry Worthing
webmaster


Subject: Ring
Date sent: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 10:02:16 -0700

Hi Jerry

A little more info about the class ring might help you in your detective work. I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket until I knew I had contact with someone who could and would help locate the owner of the ring.

I found the ring in 1978 at 5045 Hammond Hgts., Fort Campbell, KY. I tried several times to locate the school over the years, but I thought it was a college and not a High School. After I got into computers a few months ago and got up on the Internet for the first time last week, I made this ring search my first project. I quickly found Mepham's home page and knew I was at last on the right track in locating the owner of the ring.

About all I can add now about the ring is that it is about a size 7 or 8 which may or may not indicate the ring belonged to a female which will make the search even more difficult, especially if she married a G.I. after she graduated from Mepham.

Well, anyway hope this will help in the search because I think it would be nice to return something to someone that has been lost all these years.

Keep me updated.

Joe


Wednesday, September 17, 1997
I went to the yearbook collection and
found a picture of Mary Hansen.


Subject: Re: Ring
Date sent: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 09:13:54

Hi Joe -

We've moved one step further.

The 1966 yearbook showed a Mary Hansen.

Then I asked the Registrar at Mepham H.S. to give me the middle name. birthdate, and social security number for Mary.

She confirmed the initials for Mary Christine Hansen.
Birthdate XX/XX/47.
No listing for SSN.

I have started checking with graduates in our mailing list with the Hansen last name, but no luck so far of a sibling.

I think I'll try to get a yearbook, scan her photo, and put up a special query on our web site, under "Alumni Today."

And so we move ahead.

Jerry


Subject: Class ring
Date sent: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 17:17:20 -0700

Hi Jerry -

Looks like you have been quite busy in your detective work concerning the owner of the ring, but at last we have a name to work with now. I have always thought the ring would belong to a girl and this would hamper the effort in finding her because her last name would change when she married.

I will hang onto the ring for now and see what you find out.

Wonder how she would feel getting her class ring back as a Christmas present? Just a thought!!! Keep me updated.

Joe


Subject: Re: Class ring
Date sent: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 09:19:23

Hi Joe -

I wonder whether she was married to a GI who went to war in Vietnam. I wonder whether our local town clerk would have a marriage license on record. That could be quite a search, since the population of our township is over 700,000!

I plan on putting a page on the web site telling about our search, with her old photo.

From here on it will be slow.

The Christmas present idea is great, but I suspect we will want to connect as soon as we find her.... but that is way off... perhaps a couple years, if ever.

Jerry


October 9, 1997

Hi Joe -

I found out where Mary lived when she graduated, checked the phone book, and there is still someone of the Hansen family living there. I went to the house, and got her address. I called her and she is excited to think she will get her ring back. You should hear from her shortly..... and that's the end of the story.

Jerry


9 Oct 1997 16:12:49 -0700

AT LONG LAST!!!!!!!

Hi Jerry -

I never dreamed I would get a call from Mary Hansen, but she called just after she had spoken with you. Was she ever surprised, and happy that someone would go to this length just for a class ring.

Well anyway, Jerry I sure appreciate all the effort you put forth in locating Mary.

I will send the ring to you tomorrow and let you return it to her.

THIS HAS BEEN ONE GRAND DAY FOR ME !!!!!

Joe


9 Oct 1997 23:12:22 -0400 (EDT)

Guess Who?

I'm Mary Christine (Hansen) Reid.

I graduated from Mepham, class of 1966. In October 1996, I joined the US Army. I have not lived in Long Island since that time, but my mother, sister and brothers remain there.

In 1973 I married a career soldier Jack Reid. We lived in Hammond Heights, Ft Campbell for only one year. We spent many hours in the back yard of those quarters, watching our daughter play. Being an Army family, we were assigned to many bases in the US and overseas. I knew I lost my class ring, but of course, I never knew where or when.

I have been impressed with the technology of computers, but I never thought the "WEB" would touch me in such a personal way. I want to thank Jerry Worthing, the Mepham webmaster and of course, Joe Stroup who found that high school ring so long ago, and now found me.

Today I live in Clifton Park New York with my husband, Jack, my daughter Chrinstine, and my son Eric, and of course our computer.

Sincerely,
Mary C. (Hansen) Reid


9 Oct 1997 23:37:37 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Mary Hansen

Just a note that not only is Christmas a special time to get this gift, Mary's birthday is on Christmas day and this is her 50th birthday year.

This will make it extra special.

Jack, Christine, and Eric (Mary's family)


16 Oct 1997 10:47:05

Hi Mary -

I have the ring here, and showed it, last night, to the executive board of the Alumni Association.

Now, what should I do with the ring?

Will you be coming down this way, for example for Thanksgiving or your birthday season? Or, should I just send it to you?

It's your choice, just let me know.

Jerry


19 Oct 1997 15:18:58 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Jerry,

We're coming to Long Island the weekend of Dec 20th. How about we meet then? I would like to thank you in person. Please let me know.

Mary


19 Oct 1997 17:37:35

Hi Mary and Jack,

Your photo came yesterday. You two really look like a cheerful couple, just as I would have expected from the yearbook photo.

I'm glad to hear you're coming down for the weekend of Dec 20th.

We're having the Alumni Association annual Holiday Season party in the evening of Sunday, Dec. 21st. How about coming over at that time, with as many of the family as you want, and staying as long as you want. That would be a great time to present you with the all-polished-up ring.

I look forward to seeing you.

Jerry


All you web surfers, take a look at our "Missing Classmates" lists, and see whether you can help with others whom we seek. If you can, send me an e-mail...

Jerry Worthing '41, Mepham Alumni Webmaster


From: Jerry Worthing
To: Joe Stroup
Subject: Presentation of Ring
Date sent: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 13:02:06

Hi Joe,

It was a great night. Mary brought just about the whole family for the ceremony. Her husband, two children, brothers, sister, and nephews & nieces.

When I handed her the ring there many camera flashes, so everyone has it on film.

Here is one of the pictures of Mary admiring the ring, with Jack Reid on the left and me on the right.

I took a copy of the story, as it is on our web site and the Times Union story, to the local community paper, and they'll be doing an article.

Mary and Jack were really pleased, saying it has been one of the highlights of their lives that will be remembered for many years. It'll be something that their children can pass on as a story for future generations.

It is fantastic how this human interest story gets such a warm response from people when we tell it. To a great extent the wonder is that you held the ring for nearly 20 years, and how "Mepham" just popped out at you when you hit the Internet search. And, of course, then the search for Mary, herself.

As you probably know, Mary had a surprise birthday celebration on Saturday, with her brother driving them to NYC in the limmo that he drives, Christmas show at Madison Square Garden, and dinner in the Tavern on the Green, in Central Park. Then there was a party at her mother's house near here on Sunday, and they left there to come here for an hour or so.

Our Alumni Association was having its annual holiday party, so we continued on for several more hours of eating and chatting.

We all had a great night.

So, the season is well under way, and we wish you all the happiest of Holidays.

Jerry