Ocean City, NJ—After 58 years of marriage, Kathleen DelVecchio of Philadelphia lost her husband, Jack, to cancer in April. In June, she lost a treasured gold link bracelet he’d given her 30 years ago. She never took it off in all that time, but the clasp must have caught on the fabric of her beach cover-up and the bracelet fell into the sands of the New Jersey shore.
Spending summers “down the shore” is a tradition for Philadelphians like DelVecchio and her late husband. And anyone who’s ever been down the shore knows that between the soft deep sand, the ocean tide, and mischievous seagulls, small items dropped on the beach have a chance of being found if you see it fall and notice it right away, but not if you don’t. DelVecchio noticed it soon, but not immediately.
Sadly, for DelVecchio, this wasn’t just losing a bracelet, it was losing another tie to her late husband, a retired Philadelphia police officer. She and her daughter, Kathy Gregory, notified both the Ocean City Beach Patrol and the police in case it turned up. The two women hoped that if someone found the bracelet they’d turn it in instead of keeping it as a found treasure.
While DelVecchio offered up prayers to St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things), Gregory turned to Facebook to give the saint a little earthly help. Her post went viral with nearly 4,000 views. Just four days later a pair of newlyweds hanging out on the beach spotted something shiny and pulled DelVecchio’s bracelet from the sand. By dumb luck, a friend of the groom’s mother was one of the 4,000 people who had shared Gregory’s post, so she forwarded it again to her son and new daughter-in-law, who responded with “Found on 55th [Street beach].”
An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer called the happy ending a full circle: the bracelet was returned to its owner and the two women embraced on the same spot where the bracelet was found: one woman learning to cope with the end of her marriage and another just starting hers.