When Kathleen Rable walked away from Waushakum Pond 46 years ago, she left a piece of herself. She never really forgot about it, but she did move on.
Sick of the New England winters, she took a job in 1969 in Southern California teaching in elementary school. She soaked up the sun, but eventually the hustle and bustle grew too much. So in 1993 she and her husband moved to Payson, lured by the pine trees and small-town feel.
She worked at the Christian school 10 years before retiring in 2005.
Just a month ago, out of nowhere, she remembered what she had lost all those summers ago and was saddened.
Meanwhile, more than 2,500 miles away, Scott Foreman dipped his toes into the little lake west of Boston. He hoped to strike gold or stumble upon a pickup. The truck supposedly sunk in the lake was a local myth. Legend had it that a shiny new truck fell through the ice into a silted grave decades earlier.
Foreman had never gone treasure hunting in the pond before, but knew all about working in cold, dark, dangerous places. As a confined space rescue specialist, he helps get workers out of reactors or engines or anywhere else you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy were stuck. When workers go down into tight, dangerous places, Foreman stands by ready to pull them out if something goes wrong. It’s a bit like Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers rigging a rope system to haul an injured hiker out of Box Canyon in Rim Country.
Foreman left behind his ropes and carabineers on this day and loaded up his truck with weight belt, tank and goggles after a friend told him the truck was out there somewhere.
Foreman waded out of the pond’s swimming area about where Rable years before had given swimming lessons for the local parks and recreation office.
He poked around a bit. His underwater metal detector in one hand and a small probe in the other, indulging a hobby that borders on obsession.
His first jaunt with a metal detector 10 years earlier had hooked him. Since then, he’s gone through seven metal detectors.
Some of his favorite finds include an early Civil War belt buckle found in Harvard, Mass. and a brushed brass collapsible cup from 1897. Women carried such cups while cycling, Foreman surmises from online research. When they needed a drink, they would pop it open and dip it into a babbling brook.
He’s also found many coins while living in New England.
“I am really into history,” he says. “I just love the hobby (of metal detecting).”
He finds roughly 10 pieces of gold jewelry a year searching lakes and ponds, which he pawns. He uses that money to pay for his equipment.
He’ll muck about in anywhere from 25 feet to two feet of water, sometimes with his tanks poking from the surface as he gropes along the bottom. He calls it muck diving. Visibility is rarely more than six inches.
As he swims along the bottom, he jabs his small detector into the mud, waiting for it to vibrate so he’ll know where to start scoping.
On this afternoon, Foreman was 13 feet underwater when his hand vibrated. He felt around and down in seven inches of muck, his fingers touched something solid.
He knew instantly it was a ring.
He surfaced and wiped the dirt away, revealing the initials KTC and Marian High School, a school in the nearby Framingham, Mass.
The ring looked brand new. “It literally looked like it was the day it was lost it,” he said. “It was preserved under all the muck.”
It was the second-class ring Foreman had found. The first time, the ring had the name “Diane” inscribed, along with the school and year. He managed to locate a woman planning the reunion for the small Catholic school near Boston and she discovered only one “Diane” in the class of 1972. Foreman later delivered the ring to the woman in Boston who returned the favor by buying him a “nice Italian lunch.”
Finding the owner of this ring proved far more difficult.
Foreman first went to the Internet, but couldn’t locate any clues to the ring’s owner. He had the school and year, but only the inscribed initials KTC to go by. He called the school, but staff couldn’t help him.
Frustrated, he told the story of the ring to a co-worker. Turns out, his friend knew the vice principal of the school. Foreman called and he agreed to search the records.
A few hours later, he called back with Kathy’s name and phone number.
He called, but got the operator.
Puzzled, he did another online search and discovered the area code had changed.
He called again and this time got Rable.
“She said ‘Are you kidding me?’” Foreman said. “I said, ‘I have found it.’ She was speechless.”
“I was amazed and overjoyed,” Rable said, marveling that he had tracked her down with only the initials of her maiden name.
Rable explains she was playing in the lake with friends when a friend pushed her and she fell in the water. When she surfaced, she realized she had lost the ring.
They looked around for the ring in the five-foot-deep water, but could find nothing.
“I was sad,” Rable said of the loss. “That (ring) was important to me.”
When Foreman said he would have a jeweler clean up the ring and mail it to her, Rable offered a reward. He refused, saying, “My mom did not raise that kind of son.”
Foreman said he was happy to return it to its rightful owner and he couldn’t sell something that didn’t belong to him.
Rable said that surprised her.
“He is a true example of generosity and caring,” she said. “And going the extra mile.”
Rable is wearing the ring again, but has no plans of playing around water with it on.