When they drained their eight-foot private lake last year, the members of the Melody Lake Association expected to find a leak in the dam. Instead, they uncovered buried treasure.
Treasure, that is, to Stanley Fendryk '76. It all started as Peg Moxley was raking stones that had once been covered by eight feet of water outside of her lakefront cottage; as she raked, she spotted something shiny. The shiny thing turned out to be a Lehigh football class ring.
"We drained it because we thought there was a hole in the dam, but there wasn't," says Carol Rosati, a Melody Lake Association member. "Peg, an elderly Lake Association member, found the ring when the lake was at its lowest and gave it to me. It looked brand-new -- not a scratch on it. But once I examined it, I discovered it was definitely not new -- the date on it was 1975."
Determined to find the ring's owner, Rosati started her detective work by looking up Lehigh University on the Internet. She arrived at a general informational e-mail address, and her message concerning the found class ring ended up in the inbox of Mary Rader in the Lehigh advancement office.
Because it was a football ring, Rader contacted Lehigh's athletics department. "I had a couple of clues -- the year (1975), the player's initials (SRF), and his jersey number (28)," Rader says. The combination matched only one former student, Stanley Fendryk '76, now a senior account executive in Green, New York.
"I called Stanley's home and left a message, informing him that his 1975 class ring had been found," Rader says. "The next morning there was an excited voice mail message from Stanley --he said it had been 25 to 30 years since he had lost the ring, and he was very anxious to get it back!" So Rader put Fendryk and Rosati in touch.
Fendryk recalls, "I didn’t remember where I had lost my ring, but I knew it was soon after graduation." Melody Lake is about 45 minutes from where I live, and I believe I was at the lake for a graduation party, swimming ... and I think beer may have been involved," he says. "It's not a particularly valuable ring, but it has a lot of sentimental value."
When the two spoke, Fendryk and Rosati discovered that the coincidence was more than eight feet deep; the finder of the ring, Peg Moxley, and Fendryk actually knew each other from way back, when Fendryk worked for Moxley during the summers. So, Rosati decided to surprise Peg Moxley by having her present Fendryk with his ring at the next Lake Association meeting.
Fendryk jokes, "I would have rather that they hand-delivered the ring to me at my office, but they made me work for it, and it was worth it. There were about 100 people at the Lake Association meeting. They asked me to wait outside until it was time for the ring update, and when I walked through the door, Peg looked at me like, 'What are you doing here?' She handed me the ring and everybody applauded. It was really nice."
Fendryk is astonished at how well preserved his ring stayed at the bottom of Melody Lake for nearly 30 years. "It looks like it did right out of the box -- not a nick or a dent on it. If you think about it, the ring was protected in the mud for all that time. It probably would have gotten more banged up on my finger."
Even though the ring doesn't quite fit, Fendryk is nevertheless quite happy to have it back. "You hear about these sorts of nice things happening to other people all the time, and finally, something like this happened to me. A couple of people went out of their way to help me get my ring back. Any place along the way they could have said, 'Forget about it.' But they didn't, and I am very thankful."--Liz ShimerLehigh Alumni Bulletin