There is not one part of my dear, beautiful Merasheen Island that doesn't bring back fond memories to me. I look at the spot where our little old house used to stand and the tears pour out, while other places make me laugh so hard that my belly hurts. There are so many memories and I envy those who are able to visit so often. I do, however, have one very deep regret from my youthful days growing up on Merasheen.
Approximately 60 years ago, when I was a teenager, my widowed great-aunt, Ellen Carroll, came to live with my family in our 400-square-foot “mansion” on Merasheen Island. I remember my two sisters and me all sleeping in the same bed - and when Aunt Ellen moved in, she slept with us, too. (At least we kept warm!)
I can remember her to this day. She was a fragile looking little lady, with a bun on top of her head that could be compared to a New York skyscraper. I bet she never had her hair cut in her entire life. Her and Uncle Tom never had any children of their own, though they raised my mother from the time she was five years old, when my grandfather passed away.
Aunt Ellen quickly went downhill after she came to live with us, passing away within the year. I remember well the day that she died. Mrs. Maime Walsh came to the school door to tell me that my Aunt Ellen was dying. When I got to the house there were a few people kneeling around her bed, praying. One of the individuals at her bedside, a young man named Philip, caught my attention with the comforting sincerity of his prayers. He had been up in the hills that day cutting wood, he would later explain, when he heard a voice tell him to stop what he was doing and go to Kathleen’s (my mother’s house). He first ignored the voice, but when it spoke again, telling him to put down his axe and go, he listened. Philip would go on to tell this story many times around the island. Perhaps with the sounds of those prayers ringing in her ears, Aunt Ellen passed away that evening - but not before giving me a token to remember her by.
About a week before her death, Aunt Ellen called me to her. She took off her wedding ring and placed it in my hand. It was the only valuable possession that she owned and she cared enough about me to pass it on to me. I promised her that I would care for it for the rest of my life.
Time passed and I started going out with a young fellow who begged and cajoled to borrow my ring. He promised that it would only be for a few days and he would give it back, but before long he announced that he had lost it. He believed my ring slipped off his finger as he washed his hands in a wash pan and later threw out the water.
Devastated, I searched the grass around that house multiple times, but never found my aunt’s ring. A few times when I went back to Merasheen after we left in 1965, I would go back to that spot (near where the home of Jack and Lillian Pittman once stood), and look again with no luck.
Over the last 60 years, I have prayed to Saint Anthony many thousands of times to help me find it. Saint Anthony never fails me; whenever the kids lose something, the first thing they do is call me and ask if I can say the prayer that I always say when things are lost. In my lifetime, my prayers to Saint Anthony have turned up everything from a missing cat to a misplaced camera, and everything in between - but not the ring. Perhaps in this case the saint is upset with me for breaking my promise to my aunt. The truth is, I’ve never forgiven myself for losing Aunt Ellen’s wedding ring, bestowed to me upon her deathbed.
I hope that anyone who visits Merasheen Island will have a look for me - or perhaps somebody picked it up many years ago, has it in their collection and still doesn’t know where it came from. The gold ring can easily be identified, since the initials “EC,” for Ellen Carroll, are engraved inside.
To all you readers, please say a prayer to Saint Anthony to bring my aunt’s ring back to me. I promise a nice reward to anyone who can return my precious heirloom. It would make me the happiest person on earth and my aunt the happiest angel in heaven, smiling down with her grey bun piled atop her head. - Submitted by Mary Pomroy of Calgary, AB
If you have any information about the missing ring, please contact Downhome. Have you found a long-lost item after many years of searching? Click here to share your story.