It’s a clear, sunny day in 1995, when Lottie Jangdal and her then-husband, Jan, are enjoying a rousing game of volleyball in the garden of their Tapley’s Farm home. Jan takes off his wedding band, inscribed with Lottie’s name, and places it on a deck railing.
By the time the game is finished, the ring is nowhere to be found. The couple figures a bird took it, attracted to the white-gold ring’s gleam, and don’t think much more about it.
“I don’t think we searched at all, because it was on the deck and then all of a sudden it was missing,” said Jangdal, over the phone from Latvia, where she is on a motorcycle tour.
As of 2023, it isn’t a curious crow in possession of the ring, but Mechthild “Mecki” Facundo, a longtime Whistlerite who, with her husband, purchased Jangdal’s former home on Balsam Way in 1998.
Earlier this month, Facundo’s husband was turning over some soil in the very same garden where the newlyweds played that volleyball game nearly 30 years ago, when he noticed something shiny in the dirt.
“Of course, it was a little bit dark and dusty, and when I polished it, we noticed the beautiful pattern on it and we saw the engraving,” Facundo explained. “We hadn’t touched that patch of soil since we bought the house.”
With the relatively uncommon name engraved inside, Facundo thought there was a slim chance at returning the ring to its rightful owner, so she posted to social media asking if anyone knew of a Lottie missing a wedding band.
“You think about the emotional reaction that must’ve happened when someone loses a ring like this. It reinforced to me I had to put it on Facebook and try my best to get it back to the owner,” Facundo said.
Another longtime local, Janalee Budge, thought it might belong to the same Lottie she befriended soon after first landing in Whistler in the early ’90s, and, lo and behold, she was right.
“I only know one Lottie, and Mecki had mentioned it had been there for a long time, and I knew that Lottie lived here in the ’90s when I first moved here, and I knew she lived in Tapley’s somewhere,” said Budge.
Unfortunately for the hopeless romantics out there, Jangdal’s marriage didn’t stand the same test of time the wayward wedding band did: she and her husband divorced in 2006, and while Jangdal said the ring doesn’t hold the same significance to her it once did, she knows someone who may get meaning out of it.
“I just thought it was a fun thing to hear of. It has not much importance to me, but maybe to our son,” she said. “It would be neat for him to get that back and be able to do something with it. It was also a fun reminder from the past to get that Whistler connection again.”
Although it’s been a quarter-century since she called Whistler home, Jangdal, now 56 and living back in her native Sweden, recognizes how her five years in the resort shaped who she became.
“It helped me appreciate the small things—everyday life and the joy of living. There are so many things in Whistler that bind people together and I feel very fortunate to have had that time in my life and the friendships that I acquired at that time—and still have,” she said, explaining that she remains close friends with several fellow Swedes she first met in Whistler all those years ago.
While she acknowledges the huge role social media played in getting her ring back, Jangdal also believes there is something distinct about the community of Whistler that ushered it back to her, from half a world away.
“I think that Whistler spirit is something unique,” she said. “It struck me that there is a genuine feeling and concern about other people that was very obvious to me in the early ’90s and many of us who stayed ski bums at that point in time really formed a connection to Whistler.”