The rest of the story:
Well, after the fun of digging through all of those nostalgic and sparkly treasures we found in the chair, I took it upon myself to figure out who these pieces belong to and to find out how to return them.
There was no way of knowing who donated the chair at the thrift shop. They hand out receipts but don't take your name. The only information I had was that it had been delivered locally and that there were initials and a wedding date in the wedding ring.
You would be surprised what you can find, just by googling that little bit. Try it.
I found both his and his wife's obituaries. Where they are buried. I found the house they lived in. I found out their children's names. I found out where their family lives now. I found out that he was a Mason, a Shriner, and a WWII vet that worked on ships.
So, I talked a good friend in to go on an adventure the next day, to the house that I had found...where the chair came from...where the man and his wife lived...Nettie won't go on adventures with me anymore. Ha.
We pulled up and she offered to follow me in for support. The garage door was open. The man inside was on his phone. A motorcycle was parked and there some boxes in there with him.
I told him that I had bought the chair. That's it. That I wanted to find it's owner. I rattled off some names of family members and the man himself. I also asked about grandchildren. I told him I wanted to return the chair. I thought the family might want it.
He said he was an ex-boyfriend of their secretary. No lie. That he was there to pack it all up and drive it back to the family. He asked if we wanted to look through what was left and take what we wanted. We shook our heads...but then he said craft stuff upstairs. Oh, no. You don't say "craft" and "free" in the same sentence to two crafty teachers.
In we went. We shouldn't have.
He took us upstairs and continued to point out things he was going to donate, and hand us things calling them "cool" and please take them. Um. No. But there were a few neat retro boxes in there. Shame on me.
We got kind of nervous and told him we didn't really want anything, that we would just leave the chair on the porch and send it back. He told us the grandson had moved into the house and let his dog trash the place, and took his grandmother for granted. Then he showed us some random picture on his phone of the beach, I think? I can't remember. At that point I decided the search was over.
We thanked him for his time. I don't think he cared one bit to have the chair. He said he remembered it. But it he was doing the work, wouldn't he for sure remember dropping it off a day earlier? And he didn't look inside? He didn't have any regard for any sentimental value at all. So I never told him there was a jewelry box inside. We didn't give him our names or tell him where we were from.
He said he was leaving on Friday as we walked out. He had just been laid off from work and was going back to where he came from. Random. Weird, to say the least. Scary, now.
We got in the car and drove off. I have the jewelry box. I sent a message to who I think is a granddaughter, but that has been weeks now. No reply. It's ok. I'll enjoy it for them. Katie likes to dig through it and look at all the pretties. I have no idea what it's worth and I'm not sure I really care. I'll keep his memories for his kids that don't want them.
And I won't go on any more family tree adventures either.
And, to end the story properly, I sold the contents. And I won't lie, I made money on it. But it wasn't sentimental to me, and no one ever responded to my messages to give it back. The adventures of thrifting!