By Tim Humphrey
I came bustling into the Pioneer Times office with the excited look of a boy with his new bike. Only it wasn’t a bike: it was a long–lost class ring from Ricker Classical Institute graduating class of 1949. The initials, A.E.T. were inscribed inside. I decided to be a detective and locate the owner of this rare find. Now to digress to several weeks prior to this time to catch up on the timeline involved.
This entry appeared on the Ricker website, www.ricker.net, and started an interesting chain of events:
Houlton Pioneer Times Photo /
RINGS THE THING - Tim Humphrey played amateur sleuth to solve the mystery of the lost-and-found Ricker ring. With him is Kay Bell. She is curator at the Aroostook Historical and Art Museum at which the Ricker Room is housed.
Being an longtime follower of Ricker’s history and a 1969 graduate of Ricker College, I could not resist the challenge of finding to whom this ring belonged. An email was sent to Mr. Herrmann explaining plans to find the owner. That’s when the transformation from retired teacher/musician to “Sherlock Holmes” took place.
After a lively conversation with the curator of the Houlton museum, Kay Bell, I set out to solve the mystery. She wanted to jump up and run down to the museum to help the struggling sleuth solve this baffling case. Had it not been for a broken arm and leg, she would have done just that. Not bad for 90+ years old. Something was afoot.
First, who was AET? Secondly, how did a ring purchased circa 1949 in Houlton, Maine, end up in Corning, NY?
I went to his favorite place to recall all things Ricker: “The Ricker Room” located in the Houlton Museum on Main St. There began a search throughout the contents of the room for a clue. Aha, there it was. In the locked glass cabinet was a commencement announcement for the graduating class of Ricker Classical Institute, 1949. My heart raced to think I might have stumble onto something. The only problem: the cabinet was LOCKED!!! So, with anticipatory success looming, the budding “Sherlock” graced Kay Bell’s doorway with a forlorn look that only Kay could understand. After relating the find, Kay relinquished the key to the glass cabinet and awaited my return. Within an hour I returned the key and a surprising result. In the commencement program the name of Allison Eugene Troy was listed. OMG, I’ve solved it; that part anyway. That was only half the story.
Now, where in the world is Allison? Is he still alive? If so, where does he live? Here’s where Kay comes in again. It seems her friend, Janet McCluskey Bates was a graduate of RCI. You guessed it, 1949. Next contact , Janet. She told me that Allison was in her class but didn’t know of his whereabouts. Dead end? Not by a long shot. Janet referred me to Paul McLaughlin, also a graduate of 1949. Paul related that Janet Nelson was a friend of Barbara Daigle. Barbara Daigle married a man by the name of Brian Troy. YES INDEED, Allison’s younger brother. After talking with Brian, I was given Allison ‘s phone number in Florida. Needless to say, the solution this mystery was eminent.
Allison answered the phone and probably wondered why this ‘wannabe Sherlock” would be calling. Without delay, Allison and I developed a great rapport; probably the unspoken Ricker connection. Here is the result of this conversation:
Apparently Mr. Troy was a teacher at Corning Community College in the 60’s and from the description I gave he lived at the residence now owned by Steve Herrmann. Allison didn’t recall losing the ring but was fascinated by the story of how it was found. He decided that the Ricker Room was the most fitting place for the ring and thereupon donated it to the Ricker archives. The story doesn’t end here.
“The ring” from Mr. Herrmann arrived and it now resides in the town of origin nearly fifty years later. It is presently on display in the Ricker Room at the Houlton Museum for all to see. If you’ve never visited the Ricker Room, please stop by and check out the artifacts of a school now gone but forever in our memories locked.
Tim Humphrey—Ricker College 1969
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