UPDATE: The owner of the gold pendant described in this column has been located. She is a Times Free Press reader who says it contains cremation remains of her late husband Jack, who died earlier this year. She was able to describe identifying marks on the pendant not revealed in the column. Read Life Stories next Thursday, Nov. 17, for a full account.
Bud Crevasse, an 87-year-old resident of Alexian Village on Signal Mountain, has been worried ever since he found a tiny gold pendant on the ground last month.
The bauble he discovered in a supermarket parking lot is small, about the size of a vitamin tablet. It has a butterfly on one side and an engraving on the other side that reads "Jack."
"I realize this might be precious to someone," Crevasse, a retired TVA employee, said in an interview at Alexian earlier this week. "I've heard people talk about taking the ashes of a loved one and wearing them on a necklace."
Crevasse said he and his wife, Rona, were running errands on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 29, when Bud spotted the pendant. He is sure about the date but fuzzy about the location. It was either the Wal-Mart on Signal Mountain Road or the Publix on North Market Street, he said.
"I remember canning tomatoes with my wife that morning," Crevasse said. "We took some to my kids on Lookout Mountain."
Later, Crevasse said he and his wife stopped for groceries before visiting the couple's little vegetable garden on the mountain. He was walking out of the supermarket (either Wal-Mart or Publix), when he spotted the pendant.
"I saw something shining, and so I picked it up and put it in my pocket," he said.
Later that day, Crevasse said, his wife fell and injured her leg and had to be taken to the hospital, which made the day seem like a blur.
Days passed and Crevasse tried to think of ways to find the charm's owner. He called local police departments, but had no luck. Next, he talked to some of his friends at Alexian who said he should alert the media, so he called the Times Free Press.
Meanwhile, Crevasse said he kept the pendant on top of his dresser, thinking about its owner every day.
"If it were mine and I lost it, I'd be distressed," he said. "I have concluded that there are ashes in there."
After we talked, Crevasse gave me the locket to have it checked out by a jeweler.
On Wednesday, we took the pendant to Dayle May Jewelers on Manufacturers Road, where jeweler Jerry Tessmann inspected it. She said it is made of gold-plated sterling silver, and she noticed a seam at the top that suggested a screw- off top.
"I would say it's from a necklace, and the chain broke," she noted, viewing the pendant through a jeweler's loupe. She said the pendant was likely bought online, and she removed the top to reveal a chalky gray substance inside.
She said the butterfly on the side signifies the life cycle.
This little locket is obviously a deeply sentimental object to someone.
Crevasse, who knows the pain of losing a loved one — a former wife died several years ago — says he hopes this little pendant finds its way back to its owner. Soon.
If you can help solve the mystery of the "Jack" pendant, please let us know using the contact information below.
Contact staff writer Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 423-757-6645.