MATTOON, Ill. -- If finding a high school ring doesn't seem like a big deal consider this: Until a few days ago, the last time Dick Diedrich saw his ring he was living in suburban Chicago with his parents and Harry Truman was in the White House.

Diedrich, 82, now has his class of 1949 ring from J. Sterling Morton High School in Cicero thanks to a Waukesha, Wis., man who returned it to him after finding it with a metal detector in a lake near his home.

The ring's journey back to its proper owner in Illinois began with Mike Geiger's phone call earlier this month to the Mattoon home of Dick Diedrich and his wife of 60 years, Doris.

"He said, `I think I have something that goes back to your high school years," Dick Diedrich said. "At that point the story with the ring popped into my head."

It seems that back in high school, Diedrich exchanged rings with his then-sweetheart, Doris. He said she only took his ring off "when they were dissecting frogs" in biology class.

In mid-1948, Doris put it on a shelf to wash her hands after biology class and when she turned around the ring was gone, as was another girl in the washroom.

"She was quite confident it got stolen," Diedrich told The Associated Press.

That's how things stood until Geiger called. He explained to Diedrich that he was using a metal detector at a lake near his home when he discovered the ring and pulled it from the water. "It really was in excellent shape for being so old," said Diedrich.

Gieger did a little detective work, Diedrich explained. He contacted the school's alumni association and was told that out of the 1949 class of about 1,500 students, there were two graduates with the initials R.D., including Richard "Dick" Deidrich.

Geiger called the other R.D., but he wasn't very friendly, so he called Diedrich, the newspaper reported. Believing he had the right R.D., he mailed Diedrich the ring.

Diedrich said he wanted to send Geiger a reward, "but he said he was just pleased to be able to return it." He sent him one anyway, along with a nice letter.

Deidrich has continued to do research to make sure that the ring is, in fact, his. But he said Geiger is convinced the ring is in the hands of the rightful owner.

"`It's your ring' he told me. `Keep it and enjoy it,'" Diedrich said. "So the bottom line is, I'm now sitting here at 82 years old with my class ring 63 years later."

___

Information from: Mattoon Journal-Gazette, http://www.jg-tc.com

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • World War II Savior Reunited With Children He Rescued

    This BBC TV show "That's Life" that aired in 1988 connected Sir Nicholas Winton with some of the lives he saved during World War II. In an operation called <a href="http://storify.com/storyvault/the-c" target="_hplink">Czech Kindertransport</a> Winton organized the rescue and safe passage of about 669 Jewish children who were designated for transport to Nazi concentration camps. In the clip, one of the children, Vera Gissing, embraces Winton and thanks him for saving her life.

  • Deaf Woman Hears Her Own Voice For The First Time

    Sarah Churman, a 29-year-old who was born deaf, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/30/sara-churman-deaf-woman-_n_989220.html" target="_hplink">tries out her cochlear implants for the first time</a> with some amazing results.

  • Dads Find Out They'll Be Grandpas

    When a same-sex couple receives news of a grandchild on the way, utter adorableness ensues.

  • Kid Receives Nintendo-64 For Christmas

    A boy and his sister receive the N-64 and freak out. There are no words for how excellent this video is.

  • Kristen Bell's Sloth Meltdown

    Kristen Bell has a thing for sloths. And we have a thing for how adorable Kristen Bell is when she thinks there's a sloth in the vicinity. MUST. WATCH. ON REPEAT.

  • Lily Gets Her Birthday Wish

    "Oh my goodness," Lily tells her mother as she opens up her birthday present. But the gift gets better when the 6-year-old learns that she is getting her birthday wish -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/girls-adorable-reaction-disneyland_n_998989.html" target="_hplink">going to Disneyland</a>.

  • Soldier's Homecoming

    A <a href="http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/127341/military_dad_surprises_9yearold_during" target="_hplink">military dad surprises his 9-year-old daughter</a> during a school spelling bee. Spoiler: Everyone tears up.

  • Man Learns He's Cancer-Free

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/hodgkin-lymphoma-patient-_n_1625775.html" target="_hplink">Jake Bouma</a>, a 28-year-old Hodgkin's lymphoma patient, meets with his oncologist to discuss the results of his latest PET scan.

  • Dog Meets Soldier Returned From Afghanistan

    Okay, so this isn't technically "a person" receiving good news, but what's a better example of pure, unbridled joy than a dog who is seeing her owner after 8 months? Gracie is so excited that she starts crying! Keep 'em tissues handy.

  • Marine Surprises Sister At Graduation

    It seems the whole school was in on it. Instead of just receiving her diploma, Jessica was greeted by her brother who recently returned home from Afghanistan during her graduation from California Polytechnic State University.

  • Radio DJ Finds Out She Won

    Detroit radio DJ Shannon Murphy of "Mojo in the Morning" finds out she won a contest and will co-host "Live with Regis and Kelly."

  • Son Meets Father After 49 Years

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/son-michael-hubbard-meets_n_1064094.html" target="_hplink">Michael Hubbard meets his father</a> for the first time in person after 49 years.

  • Justin Bieber Surprises His Biggest Fan

    Paige, who calls herself Justin Bieber's biggest fan, got a special surprise from the pop star when he knocked on her door.

  • Lab Chimps See Sunlight For The First Time

    This just fills us with utter happiness.

  • Misty Hyman

    Misty Hyman totally wasn't expecting to win this Olympic race -- she had no idea she'd won until a few seconds after she'd finished. The look on her face is priceless.