Karen Autenrieth and her husband Robert, surrounded by their children and grandchildren on Valentine’s Day, opened the package holding the long lost ring.
In a video taken by their daughter Michele, Robert Autenrieth is seen sliding the ring — which he had given his wife on their wedding day nearly 55 years ago — on her finger before he kisses her.
“Happy, very happy,” Karen said when asked how she felt. “It’s like I can’t believe it. It’s amazing.”
The improbable story began during an the winter of 1973, when Karen lost her wedding band at her grandmother’s house in Chicago. It’s a memory she clearly recalls decades later.
Despite her best efforts, Karen said she was unable to find the gold ring — which had “RA to K.B. 4-16-66” engraved on it in honor of the day she and her husband married.
She was disappointed but accepted that she might never see the ring again.
The universe had other plans
In February, a Chicago man who lost his own wedding ring posted on Facebook asking if anyone had found it.
In the comments section, Sarah Batka, a woman who lives in Autenrieth’s grandparents’ former Chicago home, said she had discovered a wedding ring “six to eight years ago” while she was gardening. It wasn’t the man’s ring, but it sparked a hunt for the rightful owner.
Within days, they had a lead.
They discovered that a woman — Karen Autenrieth — had grandparents who once lived in Batka’s home and now resides in San Antonio, Texas. They thought that she was the possible owner of the ring.
“She replied later Monday morning — it was hers! She lost it 50 years ago in the snow at her grandmother’s house! She was amazed that it had been found all these years later. We got together by phone and had a teary-eyed conversation,” Flynn wrote.
After connecting, Flynn mailed the ring to Autenrieth, who held onto the package to open it on Valentine’s Day with her husband.