The first time I saw Katie she was sitting on the floor opening up boxes of ceramic turtles. She was a geeks dream. Long thick red hair framing her pale face, with a pair of thick black glasses worn high on her nose, (magnifying her oh so pretty green eyes). (Unlike most red haired girls, Katie did not have freckles). She had such a wonderful body (but not in the 108 lbs and big boobs sort of way though). I just knew (before I even spoke to her), that something was going to happen between us.

The next day I spoke to her for the first time. (I guess I should mention at this point that we worked together. Technically I was her supervisor, but I had no real power). Talking to her I found her to be easily embarrassed, very intelligent, and utterly adorable. I tried to ask her out then and there but was shooed away with an excuse about her family.

I never gave up though. Over the next few months we spent almost all of our time at work together (getting almost nothing done), and in that time we became good friends. I would try and ask her out, and she would turn me down. Finally I told her I would wait awhile before I asked her out again, (but the next time would be the last time).

I left my job for another before I got to ask Katie out again. But I didn't forget about her. I called her on her birthday. (It was a month since I had spoken to her last). She told me that she wanted to be with me, and that she had wanted me all along. But there was a problem, she had a very abusive mother. Even though Katie was 19, her mother still ruled over her with an iron fist. No man was good enough for her daughters. Her mother had already beat the hell out of Katie's older sister because of her relationship with a man she did not like. Katie did not want to suffer the same fate.

So we met the next day at her college. Katie had a 2 hour break every tuesday and thursday. She had me meet her at a bench by a lake on a very secluded part of campus. (This bench is where almost our entire relationship would play out). She kissed me as soon as she saw me, (she then apologized saying that she had not meant to kiss me so soon).

That is how it was for a while. We would meet twice weekly at our spot by the lake (with many emails and love letters exchanged on the other days). We would talk, kiss, and sometimes do more. But we never took any of our clothes off. I was very happy. I loved Katie. She was (and still is), the only girl I ever loved.

One day Katie had 4 hours off because of a canceled class. We were both so happy. We used the time to go back to my house (so we could actually be alone together with no fear of disturbance). This time we did end up naked. It was Katies first time being naked in front of a man so she was very self conscious. (Katie was a virgin, and had only even kissed one guy before me). Katie and I did not have sex, but I did end up giving her the first orgasm she had ever had.

The next day I spent all of my money on an engagement ring. But I never even got to ask her to marry me. When I saw her next she was in full on freak out mode. She said that things were very confusing to her now. So she wanted to take a break from the relationship. So we agreed on a month apart. After the month was over she said that it would be better if we didn't see each other any more.

Four months later I thought I would make another attempt. (I don't give up very easily). So I went to Katies college. I brought the ring. I didn't know her new schedule. But I just knew that fate would help me find her. I park, get out of the car and walk towards the library. The door to the library opens and a girl comes out. It is Katie. Out of the 30,000 students at her school I run into her first. I really thought fate was on my side.

We sit down and talk. But Katie says she just doesn't love me anymore. I finally walk away crying. I take the ring out of my pocket open the case and hand it to a chinese girl who is sitting at the next table. I tell her, "Here you can have this I don't think I will ever have a use for it". She looks confused but keeps the ring. Katie sees this and begins to cry also. She tells me that she really wants to love me but she doesn't. She says she is sorry. And then runs away into the library crying. I did not follow her.

I never saw Katie again after that day.

A song from the young, aspiring, floundering Brill Building trio of Al Kooper, Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine. An interview excerpt from Stephen Bishop's book Songs in the Rough:


Stephen Bishop: "This Diamond Ring" must have been written about 1964 or 1965?

Al Kooper: I would think 1962 or 1963.

SB: That early?

AK: Yeah. It didn't come out until later, but we wrote it in 1962 or 1963. We wrote it for The Drifters.

SB: Did you do a demo of it back then?

AK: We did. It was a black demo. My friend Jimmy Radcliffe sang the demo.

SB: When you look back at that now, how do you feel about it? Do you feel proud of it?

AK: I always hated the Gary Lewis record, because it was an R&B song and they took all the soul out of it. Later, I cut it on an album of mine Act Like Nothing Is Wrong (United Artists -- December '76), and cut it the way it was written.


Interestingly, the teams of Leiber and Stoller and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill had collaborated, in 1963, on a song called "Only in America", written for the Drifters, and even recorded by them, but it was never released in the US (until a few years ago) -- a second version with Jay and the Americans singing over the same backing became a big hit instead. One could say, too, that they "took all the soul out of it", but who can argue with a shower of royalties?

Kooper heard the Lewis recording of "This Diamond Ring" (I don't think The Drifters even had a chance to reject it) and despised it -- a 45 RPM death blow to his mind's-ear conception of the song. In the years since Kooper/Brass/Levine had written it, young country/pop producer Snuff Garrett, who might be better known for one of his later gigs doing rural-populist hackwork soundtracks to rural-populist films like Smokey and the Bandit II and Any Which Way You Can (not to mention magnum opera like "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", and the 70s schlock that made Cher a gay icon) took a liking to it, and recorded it with Gary Levitch, the son of Jerry Lewis. The drop in vocal quality from the legendary Drifters to the let's-bury-it-in-the-mix voice of young Levitch was too much for Koop to stand. And then he heard it on the radio. Again and again. More and more. Koop gradually made a temporary peace with it.

Who can argue with a shower of royalties?

Me, unencumbered with the sounds and visions of Drifters in my head, think it's a pop classic, of sorts, and it's this recording that separates young Levitch's group from the other celebrity-offspring group of that era -- Dino (Dino Martin, whose subsequent tennis career matched his musical one), Desi (Arnaz, Jr., whose subsequent acting career yadda yadda yadda), and Billy (Hinsche, who was non-celeb-kid, but had the longest-lasting career in music, most notably, perhaps, as an auxiliary Beach Boy).

The engagement is off. Can you keep the ring? Depends on where you live.

There is a New Mexico case involving a dispute over an engagement ring. Vigil v. Haber, 119 N.M. 9, 888 P.2d 455 (1994). Glenn and Jannel exchanged engagement rings when they were getting along, but immediately their relationship began to deteriorate. Within a few months, Jannel was seeking a restraining order to keep Glenn away from her. A dispute about Jannel’s ring was referred to the local district court judge.

Glenn wanted his ring back. Marriage is a contract, an engagement is a contract to enter into a contract, and restoring the status quo ante is a standard judicial remedy when the contract is rescinded. Jannel argued, however, and the district judge agreed, that since Glenn was “at fault” for the deterioration of the relationship, Jannel could keep the ring.

Jannel’s argument might win in many states. Most states, in fact, follow a rule of “fault”, or “equitable estoppel” from contract law. A court applying an “estoppel” rule refuses to intervene to order the ring to be returned to the party in the “wrong”.

Other states, such as New Mexico in this case, remove fault-finding from the personal-relationship dynamics of marriage and divorce. Although technically marriage is a contract, other social concerns apply. "Usually the conduct of both spouses contributes to the failure of a marriage . . . establishing guilt and innocence is not really useful." Id., quoting Dixon v. Dixon 319 N.W.2d 846, 851 (Wis. 1982). New Mexico was the first state to legislatively recognize “no fault” divorce, in 1973. In this case, the Court applies the same policy to engagements.

Held: Jannel has to give the ring back.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.