Robert Fowler was sure his class ring was gone for good. Just a couple of months after he got it in 1979, it slipped from the Mount Tamalpais student's 17-year-old finger as he surfed off Bolinas, Calif., a few months before his graduation. "I figured, 'Oh well, that's that,'" says Fowler, now 52. "To get it back, it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals." As it happens, such a deal presented itself, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Fowler recently checked his email to find a straightforward message: If you want your ring back, head to the Whole Foods Market in Pacific Heights. At a scheduled time on Wednesday, Fowler appeared and was greeted by treasure hunter Larry Feurzeig, who handed over the ring he'd dug up on a Bolinas beach weeks earlier.
"I'm shocked," says Fowler, who gave Feurzeig a bottle of champagne to thank him for the ring that now only fits his wife's finger. "Life has a way of continuing to surprise us." Armed with a metal detector, Feurzeig heard a beep while walking on the Bolinas beach at low tide. After 10 minutes of digging, he held a ring, engraved with MTS for Mount Tamalpais School and Fowler's initials. Feurzeig, who says he's returned four recovered rings to their owners, tracked down Fowler through alumni records. As Fowler's wife slipped the old ring on her finger, Feurzeig offered some parting advice: "Never wear jewelry at the beach," he said. "The cold water makes your hands shrink. And the suntan lotion makes things slip off." Fowler's reply: "No kidding." (A ring lost in a plane crash was returned 55 years later.)