When Mike Moroff graduated from the competitive Brooklyn Technical High School in 1975, he was proud to flash around his gold class ring with the large blue stone in the middle. He was so proud he wore it everywhere, even to Reeves Beach when staying at his family’s summer home on Nautical Drive in Riverhead.
But one day in the late 1970s — he can’t remember exactly when — the ring slipped from his finger and into the sand, presumably lost forever. “I never thought I would see [it] again,” he said.
Fast-forward more than 30 years to last January, Rich Weiss of Riverhead was walking along that same beach with his metal detector — part of his daily routine — when he spotted something shining in a two-inch-deep puddle near the shore. He waved the detector over the puddle and the reading from the machine told him that whatever was beneath the surface would surely be a find.
He stuck his fingers in the frigid water and pulled a Brooklyn Tech Class of 1975 ring with a nearly illegible signature engraved inside. He could barely make out the name Mike Moroff. “That’s the only information I had,” Mr. Weiss said.
Mr. Weiss called Brooklyn Tech but only learned that a Mike Moroff did indeed graduate in 1975. He searched several websites before stumbling across a listing for Mr. Moroff on Classmates.com. He sent a message to that account last January, but did not hear back right away.
Mr. Moroff, who is from Selden, said he does not have a “gold membership” for the website so he is not normally allowed to view messages. However, last week he saw an ad for a free trial membership and decided to give it a try. Once he logged on, he saw a message waiting from an alumnus of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson, which piqued his interest because he had attended summer classes there after failing a trigonometry class during a bout of senioritis.
The message was from Mr. Weiss, who attended that school 10 years before Mr. Moroff. And it was about his lost ring.
“I was in a state of disbelief,” Mr. Moroff said after reading the message. He picked up the phone and called Mr. Weiss.
Last Wednesday, the men agreed to meet on Reeves Beach near the same spot where the ring was lost so many years ago. On that cold morning near the Long Island Sound, Mr. Weiss gave the ring back to Mr. Moroff. And after 30 years, it still fit perfectly.
“This is incredible,” said Mr. Moroff, who wore a Brooklyn Tech hat for the occasion. “He took the trouble of tracking me down.”
Speechless, Mr. Moroff could only give Mr. Weiss a hug.
Mr. Weiss, a retired U.S. Army 1st Sergeant, said he has found many valuable things with his metal detector over the years. But when he uncovered the Brookklyn Tech ring, he never considered cashing it in.
He said it would be worth far more to make someone’s day rather than make a couple of bucks.
“He did offer me a finder’s fee,” he said. “But I declined.”
Mr. Moroff said the ring was noncarat gold and probably would not have been worth much money if Mr. Weiss had decided to trade it in.
“It’s not the cash value of the ring,” said Mr. Moroff. “It’s the sentimental value.”