LEWISTON — In 1972, Linda Tanguay was a 17-year-old who bent the rules just a bit.

“A bunch of my friends and I went down to The Cage,” she said. “We had fake IDs.”

It was a small transgression, but Tanguay would pay for it dearly.

When liquor inspectors walked into The Cage during the youthful celebration, Tanguay quickly shoved her new class ring into her pocket. Marked with her initials and “Class of 1973,” the ring would have outed her as an underage drinker.

No problem, right?

“When I got home that night, I couldn’t find my ring anywhere,” Tanguay said. “I went back to The Cage to look for it. I went to a couple of pawnshops, but I never found it.”

For more than four decades, that was that. Although Tanguay looked into getting a replacement later in life, she never did. The finger that once proudly wore the LHS Class of ’73 ring went unadorned.

“It kind of bummed me out,” Tanguay said. “I mean, that ring was part of my life.”

If the universe had been punishing Tanguay, apparently that punishment has ended. The ring she lost in 1972 was found recently in a lost-and-found box at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Togus.

How did it get there? Nobody knows. Tanguay was contacted by a Lisbon woman who works at the hospital and who had found the ring. After a series of phone calls, the ring was returned to Tanguay in such pristine condition, it’s like it was never gone.

“I mean, it looks really good,” Tanguay said. “There’s no wear and tear or anything.”

Tanguay, now 61, said she visited the Veterans’ Hospital in 1992, but by then the ring was long gone. She could think of no reason it would have ended up at the hospital, and there were no clues as to the ring’s travels before it got there.

“I wish I could talk to the ring,” he said, “because I’d love to know where it’s been.”

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