Back in 1984, when Bob Dishman was a junior at the U.S. Naval Academy, he placed an order for his class ring. Confident that one day he would become a pilot, he requested the “pilot insignia” under the stone. A move Bob describes today as “pretty presumptuous.” Class rings are a huge deal at the Academy. A Ring Dance is held at the end of the Junior year, where Second Class Midshipmen ceremoniously dip their rings into a bowl filled with the collected “Waters of the Seven Seas.” A symbolic marriage to the Navy. Class rings were not allowed to be worn before the dance.
A week before the big formal, while moving a classmate out of the dorms, Bob tucked the ring in a camera bag for safekeeping. And then, in all the frenzy of the day, left it on a shuttle bus. Follow-up calls were a bust. The ring was gone before he could wear it. There was no time to order a new ring before the dance. Bob and Tami (his future wife) performed the ceremony with the high school ring he’d already given her.
During his senior year, Bob failed the eye exam necessary to become a pilot. Crestfallen, he ordered his replacement ring without wings. But Bob’s dreams of becoming a pilot were not over. That year, a change was made in flight school requirements, and Bob was the first to qualify. He went on to fly as a Navy pilot for the next 30 years. Not long ago, Bob shared his ring story with a fellow Academy graduate. They speculated its whereabouts, and odds of Bob ever seeing it again. It was engraved with Bob’s name, so who knew? Maybe it would show up one day and he could wear it for the first time. A week later, Bob received a call. “Mr. Dishman, have you lost a ring recently?” “Well,” Bob replied, “not recently.”
Smyth Jewelers knows the value of a sentimental treasure. So, when Bob Dishman’s Class of ’85 ring showed up in in one of our jewelry acquisitions, we did our best to find its original owner. And boy, are we glad we did. Thank you for your service, Bob!