Long-Lost Charm Bracelet Finds Its Old Owner Recently, All Things Considered aired a commentary about a charm bracelet that, 20 years ago, inadvertently found its way into the wrong bag because of airport security. Now, one of our listeners has helped us connect the charm bracelet with its owner. Michele Norris talks with the bracelet's current owner, and the woman who lost it.

Long-Lost Charm Bracelet Finds Its Old Owner

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Now we have an update to a story we brought to you last week. Commentator Bob Greene told us the story of Mary Christensen. While traveling through Europe 20 years ago, she somehow ended up with someone else's charm bracelet in her bag. She thought that airport security may have accidentally placed it in her bag while searching her carry-on. And for the last two decades, she's been looking for the owner of that bracelet.

Mary Christensen joins us now from Iowa. Thanks for being with us, Mary.

Ms. MARY CHRISTENSEN (Resident, Iowa): Good morning.

NORRIS: Could you describe this bracelet for us? What charms are on it?

Ms. CHRISTENSEN: There probably are 20 charms on it. There is a circle with a palm tree in it, with Aloha, Hawaii on it. There's a slice of cheese with Swiss on it. The charm that really led me to the search is a heart-shaped charm and it says Bob loves Ruthie. There are a couple of other charms on the bracelet that has what are appeared to be children's names and birthdates. And I thought maybe with that information, I could find someone.

I did locate a Bob and Ruthie in Seattle, Washington. But it wasn't them.

NORRIS: Now we also tried to help Mary find the bracelet's owner. We asked our listeners to email us if the bracelet sounded familiar to them. And to confirm that this is the right bracelet, we asked them to name two charms that were not mentioned in the commentary that aired.

And we received an email with the right answer. It came from a woman named Jennifer Shrecht(ph). And Jennifer is also with us on the line. Hello, Jennifer.

Ms. JENNIFER SHRECHT (Bracelet Owner): Hello.

NORRIS: And you're joining us from?

Ms. SHRECHT: Olympia, Washington.

NORRIS: Okay. So what was the winning answer, the two charms on that bracelet?

Ms. SHRECHT: One was a musical staff, and the other a duck that opened with enough room for an aspirin.

NORRIS: Jennifer, what is the story behind this bracelet?

Ms. SHRECHT: Well, my friend heard the piece air and called me, she knew that my husband's name was Mark. And about what year he was born and that he had a sister named Marcy(ph). And just on the off chance, she said, you should listen to this.

So I listened to it online. And at first I heard that Bob and Ruthe with an E, and thought, hmm. That could be. And then they said Marcy who was born in 1972 and I thought wow, that's a really big coincidence there. And then they said Mark and his birthday and I just got goosebumps. I knew it was Grandma Ruthie's bracelet.

NORRIS: Now, speaking of Grandma Ruthie. Mary and Jennifer, I'm going to ask you to hold on for just a minute because I think we want to bring one other person in on this conversation. Stay tuned for just a minute.

Ms. RUTHE HARSHMAN (Bracelet Owner): Hello.

NORRIS: Hello? Is this Ruthe Harshman?


NORRIS: Hello. This is Michele Norris, calling from National Public Radio. This is not a pledge drive or a fundraising call. I do have someone, however, on the line who would love to speak with you. Mary?


Ms. HARSHMAN: Hello.

Ms. CHRISTENSEN: My name is Mary Christensen. I live in Iowa and 20 years ago, I was flying back home from Europe. And by accident, someone put something that belonged to you in my luggage. Do you remember missing something after a trip to Europe 20 years ago?

Ms. HARSHMAN: No, but I was there 20 years ago.

Ms. CHRISTENSEN: I have something very precious. I'm sure to you it's filled with memories. I have your charm bracelet.

Ms. HARSHMAN: How did you find out? For heaven's sake. Was there two bracelets?

Ms. CHRISTENSEN: Yes, there it is. There is another friendship bracelet. I'm sorry I've had them for 20 years and I didn't know where to send them.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HARSHMAN: And they meant nothing to you.


Ms. HARSHMAN: The world to me.

NORRIS: But Ruthe and Mary, this is Michele. I've been listening to the two of you catch up. I'm going to let you two continue this conversation. But at this point, I think I'm going to back out on this.

Ms. HARSHMAN: Thank you very, very much. This is unreal. Thanks.

NORRIS: That was Ruthe Harshman, who will be reunited with her charm bracelet after 20 years. We also heard from Mary Christensen who found the bracelet and Jennifer Shrecht who reunited them all.

You can hear the original commentary and see a picture of the charmed bracelet at our Web site, npr.org.

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