Dr. Stephen Meyer ’64 lost his brass rat in 1966. “I know exactly where I was—I was visiting a friend in Auburn, Alabama, in 1966. I was washing a car on the front lawn and when I was all done, I noticed my ring was gone,” he recalls. After looking around the yard and in the water bucket, Meyer gave up the search. “I pretty much assumed it was lost at that time. I knew I had it and then it was gone,” he says. With his brass rat still missing years, and then decades later, Meyer says he gave up hope of ever seeing it again. But 50 years after Meyer’s ring went missing that all changed.
TJ Shoultz, a woman living in Auburn, Alabama—the same town where Meyer first lost his ring—spotted something shiny on the ground of a local park. When she picked up what turned out to be a brass rat, she noticed Meyer’s name inscribed on the inside. Shoultz tried to find Meyer herself, but later contacted the local TV station, WSFA, for help. The news station turned to social media to connect the brass rat with its owner, reaching out to the MIT Alumni Association through its Facebook page. When the Alumni Association got in contact with Meyer to alert him to the good news, he couldn’t believe it. “My first thought was ‘It’s impossible.’ I knew exactly how it had been lost, so to find that it had been found 50 years later seemed impossible,” he says.
WSFA soon produced a news story on Meyer’s ring, and, after seeing the location where the brass rat was found, Meyer’s has one theory on where it has been all these years. “The area it was found in has a curb that looks like an old driveway, so I think that could be where that house was where I washing the car. It’s entirely possible that it was found right where I lost it,” but Meyer admits that the theory doesn’t totally add up. “There’s just no reasonable explanation for it being there for 50 years. Maybe the rain covered it? Or we stepped on it that day?” he says.
Regardless of the ring’s journey, it’s now back in Meyer’s possession after being quickly shipped from Auburn to his home in Southern California. Meyer’s says he plans to go back to wearing the brass rat—just not right away. “I tried it on, it doesn’t fit, of course,” he laughs.
Meyer says he isn’t the only person delighted that he has his ring back. “My daughter shared the story on Facebook and got 72 likes; I told the mailman and he loved it,” he says. “Everyone that I shared the story with has been blessed by it.”