Even though it’s been lost for almost 50 years, Karen Autenrieth’s wedding band has remained a symbol of eternal love — and she’s about to get it back.
Autenrieth, of San Antonio, Texas, lost her wedding ring in 1973 when she and her family were visiting her grandmother in Chicago.
She told the San Antonio Report that she was helping her three children into the car when her ring flew off her hand into the snow.
“It was very snowy, very cold,” she told the website.
Though she searched for it immediately — and a few weeks later, after the snow melted — Autenrieth’s ring never turned up. Until now.
Thanks to some social media posts and the research of a Chicago historical society, Autenrieth has received her wedding band in the mail and will be opening it on Valentine’s Day.
Autenrieth has been married to Robert Autenrieth for 55 years in April. The couple got matching wedding bands, with their initials and their wedding date engraved on the inside, according to the San Antonio Report.
That engraving is what helped historians track Autenrieth down.
At the end of January, a man posted on Facebook that he had lost his own wedding ring in the Chicago snow and one of his friends commented that she had found another wedding ring while she was gardening about eight years ago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A woman who lost her wedding band in Chicago in 1973 got it back this week. (iStock)
Another woman saw the comment and tagged the local Ridge Historical Society to see if they could help find the ring’s owner, the newspaper reported.
The group agreed and looked through newspaper archives, ancestry websites and real estate records for the house where the ring was found, according to the Tribune.
Eventually, the Ridge Historical Society tracked down Autenrieth’s grandfather, her great aunt and then Autenrieth herself.
Carol Flynn, one of the historical society’s researchers, told the Tribune that she messaged Autenrieth to tell her she had her ring.
Flynn mailed the ring down to San Antonio, where Autenrieth picked it up from the post office earlier this week, the Tribune reported.
She told the newspaper that she and her husband are waiting to open the package until Valentine’s Day, when the couple will be celebrating their youngest son’s birthday with him, his two siblings and their families.