This weekend, I received an intriguing email from a gentleman named Jan Boogaard:
“I have found a ring that has the Wendy Brandes stamp on it and appears to be a custom piece. I have attached a picture. I’m hoping you keep some kind of record of whose this could be so I can return it to its owner.”
I was in suspense for the couple of seconds it took me to scroll to the photo, thinking, “I hope I remember this one!” Turned out I didn’t have to rack my brain at all because this ring …
… is the ring that I created for my own mother’s birthday in 2014.
I was like …
… because BarbaraB hadn’t told me she had lost the ring, making me surmise that she didn’t even know it was gone yet. I was right. (I forwarded BarbaraB the original email and picture with the remark, “Ever feel you were missing something?!”) I connected her to Jan (pronounced “Yon”), who drove 15 miles through a Florida downpour to meet BarbaraB at the grocery store where the ring had slipped off her finger.
It was Jan who found the ring at Fresh Market, but it was his wife, Carma, who found me. As she told me in a later email:
“When he brought [the ring] home, I looked for a stamp. It’s such a unique and intricate piece, I was hoping there would be some indicator as to where it came from. It took about 45 seconds after googling the Wendy Brandes stamp to find pictures of “Barbara’s customizable ring” and what you wrote about it. I immediately felt like we hadn’t found a replica, but your mom’s ring. We looked for contact information and you know the rest!”
I wanted to find out a little more about Jan and Carma, mostly to see if they matched the image I had in my mind’s eye based entirely on their names and proximity to my parents’ community: a Dutch couple, married 50 years, who retired to Florida to be near their American-born grandkids.
I was sooooo wrong.
This gorgeous couple — from Illinois originally, not the Netherlands — have been married 11 years, not 50. They have two children (not grandchildren) with fabulous names: Their son, Dax, is 10, and their daughter, Torunn, is 5. The Boogaards have been in Florida for about eight years, where they are not retired. Jan works in retail management and Carma is an account manager for a school software company. The moral of this story is to (a) never judge a book by its cover, and (b) never assume people are a Dutch version of your parents just because they shop at the same grocery store in Florida.
Jan and Carma earned a lot of good karma for rescuing BarbaraB’s ring. In addition, they’ve earned a piece of Wendy Brandes jewelry, courtesy of my grateful mother. We’re about to pick that out now.
If any of you readers someday find a piece of jewelry with my name inscribed in it, holla at me at info at wendybrandes dot com, so I can help get it back to its owner … which hopefully won’t be Mom again!