Shawn and Debra McKenna were high school sweethearts who were married for four decades before he died in 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Earlier this month, Debra McKenna received a sweet reminder of the man she'd loved, from the most unexpected place. The Bangor Daily News relays how this story started, in 1973, when the two were still students at Maine's Morse High School and newly dating. Before Shawn headed off to college that fall, he gave McKenna his class ring—which she soon lost. She recalls that she'd gone to use the bathroom at a Portland department store, taken the ring off while washing her hands, and left the bathroom without remembering to put the ring back on. "I left my name and number [at the store] but never got contacted by anybody, and that was it," she says. "I never saw [the ring] again."
Enter Marko Saarinen, who recently stumbled across the ring while using his metal detector in a forest—in Kaarina, Finland, 47 years after McKenna had lost it. Saarinen contacted the Morse High School alumni group, and because Shawn was the only person in the class of 1973 with the initials "SM," which were engraved on the ring, it was easy to determine it was his. To add another layer of weird, Saarinen is a shipbuilder, and "Shipbuilders" is the Morse High School mascot. McKenna, who tells the Daily News she still feels "adrift" since her husband's death, wonders if this is a sign from him. "He's telling me to get my act together. To get going with the rest of my life," she says. She's still curious, though, on where the ring has been for nearly 50 years. "I want that story," she tells the Times Record. "How the heck did it get there? How can that be?" (Read more discoveries stories.)