Monday, January 12, 2009

Leif's Antilles High School Class Ring - 1992

Leif had a fine eye for design and liked to have utilitarian items that were beautifully designed but he claimed that he "didn't see the point" in jewelry or other items that had no utilitarian purpose, even if they were beautiful. He rarely bought jewelry, except for the earrings he wore after our friend Jennifer Coffey pierced his ears for him, but there were a few notable exceptions.

He did want a class ring from Antilles High School in Puerto Rico, and we got him one when he was a junior in 1992. Although he had to move to Kansas before his senior year, he identified with his AHS class, and his graduation present from us was a trip back to Puerto Rico to be with his class there for their graduation.

Leif was not a neat person and his room or apartment were usually a big mess, except for his computer desk. The very few things that I could always find without any problem included his AHS class ring, and later, his wedding ring, watches, and a silver two-sided battle axe necklace I brought him from Greece. Although each of these could be considered jewelry (the watches, were utilitarian, at least), they had some emotional or sentimental meaning for him. More about the others later.

Beginning much earlier, Leif had a strong interest in ancient warriors and weaponry. One of the best school projects he ever did was a catalog of medieval armor he made in junior high school. When he picked the emblems for his class ring, note the medieval knight with the sword and the battle axe on the side. It went perfectly with the cupola from El Morro, one of the Spanish fortresses in San Juan, which we visited many times. Leif's initials L.A. are on the top of the ring and he chose a purple stone. Purple was always one of his favorite colors. I don't know why he chose to put L.A. on the ring instead of L.G., and I found it also interesting that he chose the L. because at that time he was still going by his nickname, Alex.

I don't remember when Leif stopped wearing his class ring, though I suspect it was when he went into the army, but even though he didn't wear it, he treasured it and kept it in a place where it could be seen, such as the mantle over the fireplace at the 710 N. 9th Street house in Manhattan, Kansas.

I wonder how many high school graduates could look at their class rings years later and see that there is such a consistency of interest that Leif's showed. From Puerto Rico, he went to Kansas and there he joined the Society for Creative Anachronism and had real swords and a battle axe and also the rattan variety that he could use in the SCA fights. I've already posted some photos of Leif fighting in his armor.

I now have Leif's class ring, and while it means something to me because it was his and represents him so well, I wonder, what am I to do with it? There are no children who could treasure a father's ring. Who would remember him with it when I am gone?

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