ATLANTA -- A four-decade-long family mystery has been solved thanks to a curious homeowner who took the time to return a wedding ring he found. The story behind that small item has now united two strangers.
It was the place Mary Lou Friendly built a life with her true love.
"So many memories here," she said.
It was 1972 when she moved into the home in east Cobb with her husband. Married in 1956 - and still in love to this day.
"We got these little diamonds," Mary Lou said. "Just what we could afford."
When her husband lost his wedding ring 40 years ago, it had more sentimental value than anything.
"My husband, he had taken the trash out, we figured it was about 1978 or 79," she said.
They searched and searched but came up empty-handed.
"We got people with metal detectors who looked," Mary Lou said. "We never ever found it."
Years passed and they moved to Florida. Her husband, Robert, died in 1984. But earlier in the week, Mary Lou got the surprise of her life when Don Fleenor, who now owns their former home, called.
"Raking in here, cleaning up," Don said. "And that's where I found it."
Her love's ring finally found: Don had taken the time to study it hoping to reunite it with its owner.
"Our initials - MCL. To RDF. 17-56," she said.
Don looked up the names of the previous homeowners and it matched the initials.
"I called the number listed on White Pages - she said, 'Hi, this is Mary Lou,' so I knew I was onto something," Don said.
"He called me. I just couldn't believe it," Mary Lou said.
She said that having the ring disappear and reappear back into her life is a sign - a miracle - and a reminder of the love she shared with her husband.
"He may be looking over me," she said. "I don't know. Anyway, it's just so good to just have it and know that I have a little part of him now."
Though, she has so many questions.
"I said, 'How did you find this; how did you do that?'," she asked.
Touring the house, she raised her five children in she thought about the good times.
"It meant a lot to put it back in Mary Lou's hands," Don said.
And Mary Lou now proudly wears both rings.
"People said so good to have good news," she said. "And read a nice story."
Matching rings for a match made in Heaven.