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Lost Hayes Ring Returned to Owner 54 Years Later.

When Jerry Squillante lost his class ring a few weeks after he received it in 1965, he thought he would never see it again. 54 years later, outside of Full Moon Pizza on Arthur Avenue, it was returned to him by Giulio Gallarotti, who had brought it all the way from Parma, Italy.

When Jerry Squillante lost his class ring a few weeks after he received it in 1965, he thought he would never see it again. 54 years later, outside of Full Moon Pizza on Arthur Avenue, it was returned to him by Giulio Gallarotti, who had brought it all the way from Parma, Italy. Mr. Gallarotti’s mother passed away in January of 2019, and he found the ring while he was looking through a box of her valuables. Though he had no idea how the ring came to be in his mother’s possession, he was determined to return it to its owner. Luckily, Mr. Squillante’s name was inscribed on the ring, so after calling the Cardinal Hayes Alumni Office, Mr. Gallarotti was able to track down Mr. Squillante and arrange a time and place to meet, and return his ring to him.

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However, the mystery of how the ring made its way to Italy remained. “I met Giulio,” Mr. Squillante recalled, “and he couldn’t understand how his mother ended up with the ring.” “We got to talking,” Mr. Gallarotti said, “and now I finally understand the story that has perplexed me for many years, of how my parents got the ring.” A few weeks after his graduation in 1965, Mr. Squillante recalls going out to dinner because one of his friends was going into the Army. They went to Mama Leone’s, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, famous for its meatballs, that closed its doors in 1994. He went to the restroom, and took the ring off to wash his hands. That was the last time he saw the ring for five and a half decades. “I kissed it goodbye,” he said, “and 54 years later I got a call from Cardinal Hayes saying, ‘Somebody found your high school ring.’”


Mr. Squillante recalls telling Mr. Gallarotti how he lost his ring: “I said, ‘We went out to eat at a place called Mama Leone’s. It was at, I think, 48th street in the city.’ And when I said that his eyes bugged out.”
Mr. Gallarotti also recalls the exchange: “I said, ‘Oh my God, my father was a waiter at Mama Leone’s. He must have found it in the bathroom and brought it home.’”

When asked why he put so much effort into returning the ring, Mr. Gallarotti’s answer is simple, ““The moral of this story is that it’s never too late to do the right thing,” he says. ““I’d like to think if more of us did this, the world would be a better place.”

By Daniel McCarthy