Lost, not found

Hayden woman hopes for return of wedding bands

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COEUR d'ALENE - Little meant more to Kathy Schnell than the two rings on her fingers.

One, her father's wedding band. The other, her husband's.

So when she realized they were missing Tuesday, she cried.

"I can't sleep, I can't concentrate," the Hayden woman said.

Schnell is hoping and praying she gets them back. She has searched pawn shops. She's checking at any store that would buy gold rings. She has called anyone she believes could help.

So far, no luck.

She could use some luck right about now.

"Even if I have to pay to get them back, I don't care," she said Wednesday.

The loss of the rings has taken an emotional and physical toll on Schnell.

Three years ago, she contracted a brain virus that nearly killed her. She spent six months in a wheelchair, followed by four months in a walker. In August, she fell 14 feet off a ladder.

"Now, at least I'm up and moving," she said.

But her brain, she said, still doesn't work right. Probably never will. Her thoughts aren't clear. Her short-term memory constantly falters. The words often don't come out right.

"I can't make my mouth say what I want to say," Schnell said.

Thursday, through sobs during a phone call, she fought to tell her story.

Her father, Jim Johnson, died in 1990. Kathy received his 10-carat white gold band. It was simple, basic, no diamonds.

Her husband, Calvin Schnell, died of cancer in 1996. Before he passed away, he put his yellow gold, 14-carat band, into his wife's hand.

She wore those two rings on her middle fingers. Always.

"I don't usually take them off," she said, adding they're sized small, so they must be pulled off.

On Nov. 30, during a visit to her massage therapist, she did remove them. Schnell didn't realize they were missing for almost two weeks, until she went to the mall to look at rings for her daughter.

"I kept looking at my hands and couldn't figure out what was wrong," she said.

And yes, she knows people will say, if these wedding bands were so important to her, how is it she didn't notice for so long they were gone?

She has an answer.

"They don't understand that my brain doesn't work right," she said. "I don't comprehend things like most people."

Schnell believes another client of her therapist may have found the rings and kept them, perhaps sold them, perhaps picked them up and forgot about them.

Their monetary value isn't much, she said.

"They're not worth anything to anybody," she said.

But their meaning to her, sentimental, emotional, is great.

Her father, she said, was her hero.

"For me to have his wedding ring, I can't tell you what that means to me," she said.

Her husband was her best friend and had been before they exchanged vows.

"It took me seven years to realize I was in love with that man," Schnell said.

Now, Schnell is taking out ads, checking with shops she believes might wind up with two older, gold wedding bands.

Maybe, luck will finally come her. She hopes so.

"I don't know what else to do," she said.

Information: 691-7397

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