The missing necklace- red, white and blue...a special treasure

Special meaning in lost sea glass necklace treasure

We heard about Lyn Koch’s mission to find her lost necklace and thought the NASGA community could help her find it.  Please read on to find out how you can help her and the special meaning to her lost treasure.

Lyn and Mike Koch
Lyn and Mike Koch

Lyn Koch is searching for her precious sea glass necklace, a necklace lost a year ago in the Orlando Airport…and could be anywhere on the planet.

The special necklace probably means little to the person who found it, but means the world to Lyn, and the memories associated with the piece make it precious to Lyn.  The necklace is a heart-shaped piece of sea glass wrapped in wire and strung on a chain.

The missing necklace- red, white and blue...a special treasure
The missing necklace- red, white and blue…a special treasure

It was found by Lyn’s husband, Mike, who found the piece of glass a little more than two years ago during a trip to Italy. The couple collected sea glass whenever they had the chance. They always planned on turning it into jewelry, though they had yet to complete any projects.   The sea glass was frosted white with a touch of red, the color of Mike’s birth stone, and aqua, the birth stone of a child they had lost at birth.   The found piece was special, but would become even more special a few months later.

Mike on a vacation searching for sea glass

The couple returned from their vacation, and Mike went to the doctor to check on some leg pain that had started troubling him shortly before the trip. What doctors found was cancer so advanced it was causing his bones to break. Mike died 65 days later at the age of 66.

Months later, while reminiscing the last time she and her husband were enjoying life in Italy, Lyn remembered the sea glass piece that brought them so much joy, and her wonderful memories came flooding back.  It was then that Lyn decided to turn it into a pendant to keep close to her heart.

Lyn wore the necklace almost constantly until about a year ago, when she took a trip to Disney World with her brother. She was changing quickly in an airport bathroom, trying to catch a flight on which she was flying standby, and she set the necklace aside. In her rush to get to her plane, she left the necklace behind.

Lyn spent the next week calling the Orlando airport in tears every day, but nobody ever turned the necklace in. There was a flight to Zurich leaving from the gate next to the bathroom. And there were many other flights departing around that time. The necklace could have gone anywhere.

Lyn was losing hope, when her friend decided to help and has made it a mission to help Lyn find the precious treasure.   We’re doing this article to help Lyn find her necklace…read her interview below:

NASGA: Can you share the excitement and circumstance the day Mike discovered the special sea glass piece in Italy?

Lyn:    I do have to share, that on the day that he found the sea glass, we had no idea that his body was being filled with cancer. His leg started to hurt just before we left, as a result of testing out a pair of shoes that he purchased for the trip. His leg bothered him the whole time.  When we got home, we learned his leg had started to fracture. Upon further investigation, we learned he had rapid, aggressive cancer. December 21, 2012, we learned he had fatal cancer.  65 days later he passed away.

On November 3, 2012 on our vacation in Italy, we were on the Amalfi Coast.  We had taken a bus tour there, as the road was not for the faint of heart.  The town, Amalfi, was known for it’s pottery. It is such a beautiful town and equally beautiful day.  Set right in the mountain. We had half a day to spend there.  So of course the beach is always a draw.  And of course, we would “hunt” for treasures.  Several pieces of worn pottery had washed up on shore which we collected.  We had the habit of collecting a few pieces and then come together to share our treasures. But when Mike found that piece, he called me over.  “Lyn, look at this!” I thought maybe he was holding our favorite aqua or baby blue glass.  I had never seen anything like it (nor have I since).  I told him that when we got home, I was going to have it made into a necklace (I have never had any pieces we found made into jewelry)…..

I’ll share in a later question what made that glass even more amazing and more special than I could ever imagine.

NASGA:   When asking you for an interview, you loved a tag line on my email signature “Life is Just Like a Wave, You Can’t Change the Way it Breaks, Just the Way You Ride it”.  You mentioned those words described your life now, do you feel you’re getting strong enough to ride those waves?

Lyn:      Ha Ha, it depends on the day.  Mike was a fighter.  Till two hours before he died, he fought to live.  I think only then it occurred to him, “hmmm I don’t think I’m going to beat this thing”.  I guess I’m trying to follow his example.  Wouldn’t it be such a loose to not live this beautiful life in honor of Mike.  To not focus on all we have been given, to not appreciate my kids, grandkids, family, friends because I lost Mike?  I determined the day after Mike died, that I would get up every day.  I would look for the good, I would allow myself to grieve deeply, but not be overcome. Many days are filled with tears as memories roll down my checks.  As I write this, I am on a two day little trip to Duluth, MN on Lake Superior. Our honeymoon town (would have been 46 years). And as the years went by a place we always loved to use as our get a way.  I come here every now and then to feel the memories up close.  I can almost feel him here.  It is our place.  Today I found two pieces of sea glass, which we rarely found up here since the shore is all rocks.  It is a bittersweet time.  As to your question, this place is a place that makes me stronger.  Yes I feel strong enough….today…

NASGA:  You have been searching for your lost necklace for over a year now, do you think you will find it one day? 

Lyn:     Yes.  When the airplane took off from the Orlando Airport, where I left my necklace, I thought it was gone forever.  One day a good friend of mine said, “I have an idea to find your necklace.  It’s a five year plan though, and then she started contacting newspapers (only my local paper has written about it, but that is how I met all you sea glass folks).  We have done some Facebook requests to share.  We have gotten the word out to family and friends.  It is slowly growing.  And everywhere we go we look for it.  However, I basically feel it will come back to me, because of my Faith.  I just believe it will…partly because of why Mike found it…because it was so special.  It was a gift to me from Above, at a time when I needed it the most.  I’ll explain in the next question….

NASGA:  As collectors ourselves, we know how exciting it is to find a special piece of sea glass, many with special meanings, too, so your story strikes a cord with all sea glass collectors.   Do you feel that any of your other pieces you and Mike collected together are special enough to replace the piece that was lost?

Lyn:     I wish I could say yes, but the answer is no.  As fellow sea glass collectors, you know every piece is special, well maybe not the browns and common greens haha, but we have never found any piece like this.  Here is the reason.  When Mike showed me this piece in the town of Amalfi, I had no idea of it’s importance.  When we got home from our trip, we started to deal with all the medical issues with Mike.  The piece of sea glass sat on the counter.  I never moved it.  I was too busy taking care of Mike, so critically ill.  The piece waited, seeming less important, a necklace was the last thing on my mind.  A month after Mike died, I took the sea glass to my local “Vintage Market”.  A cute shop in my little town, where I knew a gal could put together a necklace for me.   With tears I told her where it came from and it’s importance to me, however I wasn’t aware of how amazing it was.  I asked her to please don’t lose it. The day came, when it was done.  She said this a gift to you from me. She said I had a hard time getting the wire to wrap around the glass.  Then finally, when I realized it was a heart, the wire easily wrapped around it. I looked down at the glass as it was now around my neck.  I gasped.  I never realized it was a HEART.  If that weren’t enough, the baby blue color and the ruby color on the glass also were significant. I finally realized at that moment, that the blue was the birth stone of our stillborn son, born full term many years ago, and the ruby color was Mike’s birth stone!! And, even more significant, the fact that it was red, white and blue….we were married on Flag Day!!  A profound find…

NASGA:  Beachcombing has long been a therapeutic way to relieve the stress of the day and takes all your worries out to sea.  Do you still beachcomb?  Do you feel it brings you peace?

Lyn:     Oh yes.  If there is a beach, I’m looking.  This year I found a golf ball at two different locations.  I had a chuckle, Mike loved to golf.  Today, as I mentioned, I found two pieces.  Yes, it does bring me peace.  It is a comfort. Such a fun hobby…

NASGA:   You and Mike would collect sea glass during your travels, is there a favorite place that you would hunt for sea glass, besides Italy, that is special to you?   Is there another piece that you found that also has special meaning to you or offers a special reminder of your travels with Mike?

Lyn:    Three places gave us abundant “hauls”, we always had the place to ourselves.  (1) The first was in Okinawa, Japan.  It was about 8 years ago.  We walked a path in the brush, that ended in a cove.  We could have walked away with hundreds of pieces.  It was everywhere.  Beautiful colors.  Beautifully worn…”done” as we would call them.  So fun. (2) Another place is more accessible, if you are on Oahu, Hawaii.  We have been able to travel to Hawaii many times.  Delta benefits helped with that.  After breakfast, on our first morning, we would walk about two miles along the beach.  We found this place quit by accident on that walk. There is a reef in this location, AND great amounts of sea glass.  I went back there this year.  A bittersweet memory.  I didn’t find any glass, only a golf ball.  Haha.  I think I got there too early as the tide wasn’t out. (3) The last place is Hana, Maui. A local had told us about the horrific tidal wave that had come many years ago.  They had relatives who had died in the event.  In the bay, right in town, on that day, we looked for sea glass.  We mainly found some pottery that had washed up, just as the local had said happened all the time.

We have found only two pieces of red glass. We found two, on the same beach, Lanikai.  Also on Oahu.

Oh my goodness, even as I write this, I realize in answering this question, that the color is Mike’s birthstone.  I guess I’ll be going into my little town and asking my “Vintage Market” lady” (her business name is “Sistas With Bad Habits) to make me another necklace…

NASGA:  That’s wonderful that you found a new sea glass piece to treasure! Do you generally beachcomb alone, or do you have friends that accompany you on searches?

Lyn:      We would always search alone.  Most friends don’t even know what sea glass is. Now, however, I search with my Grandchildren.  It is such fun to teach them about these free, priceless, treasures…

NASGA:   In addition to sea glass, do you scout the beaches for other nautical treasures?

Lyn:     Not too often.  Only if there is not glass.  On a beach again in Hana, Maui, we found a beautiful piece of cotten fishing net.  Beautiful colors, aqua, green, blue.  I think it reminded us of the beautiful sea glass colors.  I still have it, in our bathroom…

NASGA:  Do you have another memorable beachcombing experience you can share with us?   And what did you find?

Lyn:     A month after Mike died, my kids took me to the Canary Island.  My grief was raw and barely beginning. Couples would walk by, just as Mike and I would walk the many beaches through the years.  It cut deep. Someone had made a heart of rocks from the beach.  A vehicle must have ridden over the heart, as it was now a broken heart, but the shape remained.  It was how I was feeling.  Now, my heart too is hurt, but the wonderful memories remain…

NASGA:   What are some of the beachcombing destinations included on your “bucket list”?

Lyn:    I’m going to Ireland with my niece this Summer…I’ll be hunting there.  Mike and I planned to visit New England, Myrtle Beach and Alaska. To be honest, I hadn’t planned a future life without Mike in it.  So I’m still working on a bucket list.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  In the mean time, I’ll keep hunting in Hawaii, as my daughter lives there…

NASGA:  Wonderful to hear you’ll visit Ireland, hoping you’ll be able to find some special Irish sea glass.  Aside from collecting, what are some of your other interests or hobbies? 

Lyn:    I love to watch my Grandchildren.  The scavenger in me also enjoys garage sales and thrift stores.  I sew, enjoy crafts and puzzles.  I love to travel.  Church and my faith hold it all together. Without Faith, Family and Friends, I would spend the day in bed, haha…

Missing necklace – Contact Lyn is found 612-281-4747
Contact Lyn Koch
612-281-4747

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