CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. – In 1965, Clarence "Corky" Iversen Jr. gave his girlfriend his class ring. About 44 years later, it was found buried in a cave in a Skippy peanut butter jar about 115 miles away.
He's still trying to figure out how it got there.
"Bonnie was in gym class one day and she said the ring was becoming a problem. I think they were playing volleyball," said Iversen, 65. "She set it behind a pole in the gym so she wouldn't lose it, ruin it, or cut her finger."
When she went back, the ring was gone.
Iversen said he was upset at the time — the ring cost about $27 back then. Bonnie had had the ring for about a week.
Today, Iversen figures the ring must have been buried for at least a year by the time he and Bonnie were married in the late 1960s. A note in pig Latin found with the ring says it was buried in 1965, but the rest is unintelligible aside from the initials "T.M.B."
Iversen was reunited with his ring with the help of the social-networking site Facebook, which he said a friend badgered him to join.
A man in Savanna, Ill., had bought a metal detector to help find metal stakes marking property lines, but began exploring nearby caves with his brother.
Their first find during that dig was a bunch of old steel beer cans, but they dug further and found the peanut butter jar wrapped in electrical tape.
When they broke it open, they found the jar full of stuff, including Roy Orbison-style glasses, a magnifying glass, a partial deck of playing cards, and a lanyard with a horn or tooth hanging from it.
There also was a picture of a man standing in front of a swing set wearing a waist-length black jacket and jeans. The Iversens are trying to identify him, thinking it might reveal how the jar made its journey.
"We were trying to speculate, maybe someone was jealous of Bonnie because you know how girls are in school," Iversen said. "We just don't know. I asked her if a guy could have come in and picked up the ring, but it was an all-girls gym class and if a guy would have walked in, they would have noticed."
Iversen traveled out to Savanna to pick up the ring. The man who found it had it appraised, and it was worth $75.
It's too small for Iversen to wear now, but that doesn't bother him.
"I'm thinking about putting it in a glass-covered shadow box or something," he said. "The story, at this point, is more interesting than the ring."