Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 10, 2012

Ring it up as a very special visit

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It was a special visit for one former Garvin County couple who this week stepped into a jewelry store in downtown Pauls Valley for the first time since they got their wedding rings there more than six decades ago.

The couple is Freda and Tom Ward, who now live in Moore.

The two first met when they lived in Maysville. It was also in Maysville where they got married back on Nov. 2, 1950.

That previous summer Freda and Tom went into the “big town,” which in this case is Pauls Valley. They went there to get their engagement and wedding rings, which they did at O’Neal’s Jewelers.

Earlier this week the two, accompanied by their niece, Ingrid Page, stopped by O’Neal’s for their first visit since getting those rings that have played a big part in their lives over the past 62 years.

It was all smiles for Freda, now 78 years old, as she visited with Miles Philpott of O’Neal’s.

“I never thought the store would still be in business,” Freda said.

“I was glad to get the chance to come back and see the store, see if it looked the same. Everything does still look the same,” she said.

“I haven’t been back in the store since we got our rings. You don’t really think about it. Now that I’m here it does bring back a lot of old memories of when we first came in.”

Tom, now 83, focused his brief comments on the rings they had purchased there so long ago.

“I just wanted to tell the man his rings don’t wear out,” he said.

As for Philpott it was indeed a pleasant surprise to get this kind of visit.

“It’s quite an honor that you dropped by,” Philpott said to the couple.

Page, who moved to Pauls Valley a few short years ago, said it was this past summer when her aunt was here for a visit. That’s when Freda discovered the jewelry store was still there and open for business.

“She came for a visit in July,” Page said, referring to Freda.

“I needed to go the bank across the street from O’Neal’s. When we came out she literally stopped in the street and started staring over here,” she said, referring to the jewelry store on PV’s downtown Paul Avenue.

“She said, ‘O’Neal’s, it’s still here.’ She was just glued to it looking over here. That’s when I found out they got their rings at the same place where my husband and I got our rings.”

The Wards’ visit this week was not only for sentimental reasons, but while here they were getting some touch-up work done to Freda’s ring.

“They’re here reminiscing, and she wanted to show them they still had their rings,” Page said, referring to the couple and the jewelry store.

As it turns out yet another big surprise ended the visit when Tom decided to also buy his wife a brand new ring from the same Pauls Valley store that had such a strong connection to the start of their married union.

The jewelry store also offered a surprise by deciding to do the work on Freda’s original ring for free.