Honor Flight

Cedarburg woman's ring reveals WWII history

CREATED Nov 6, 2012

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  • Photo: Jodi Becker

  • Photo: Jodi Becker

  • Photo: Jodi Becker

  • Photo: Jodi Becker

  • Photo: Jodi Becker

WASHINGTON, D.C. - One of the guardians along on the most recent Honor Flight has been wearing a piece of history without even knowing it.

It took a World War II veteran to explain the whole story to her.

Beth Carstens-Duchrow is an Honor Flight volunteer from Cedarburg.

A ring she wears on her right hand has become a conversation starter for a few WWII vets that know its history. 

Beth told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jodi Becker she picked the ring from her mother-in-law's things after she passed.

"It just kind of caught my eye.  It's very plain...nothing special.  I didn't know what it was," said Beth.

Fast forward to a conversation with a vet who was talking about spoon rings and making one during his time in the service.  She told the man she had one, but he didn't believe her.

"I showed him and he said, 'Oh, my gosh!  I've never seen another one like it.  Who made that for you?'  I'm assuming it would be my father-in-law, who served in World War II in the Army in the Pacific.  I don't know the true story, because my father-in-law and mother-in-law are passed."

He gave her all the details about the ring's likely history.

"He said it was made with a spoon, and they could clink it on the side of the rails on the ships, and then they would take a jackknife and they would carve it out."

Beth showed Becker the ring.  There are grooves on the inside and she says with a magnifying glass you can just notice ridges on the outside.

It used to be a coin. 

Beth did a little more research on the spoon rings.

"It started out in boredom," explained Beth. 

"They take days and hours, and days and days to make.  Then they come home.  A lot of rings were given to betrothed back home as a 'Would you marry me?' ring."

Knowing it has so much history, Becker asked Beth what she does with the tiny, plain item that had been locked away in a jewelry box for so long.

"I wear it."

The history lives on.