Put A Ring On It

“Its interesting that we’re talking about wedding rings because we want to talk about a golden thread,” says Charli Reeves when her daughter, Tiffany Reeves Burke, asks her about her wedding rings.

Charli

Charli was 16 years old when she married Lloyd, Tiffany’s father. Lloyd was in the Army, and by the time he was discharged, Charli had given birth to Tiffany’s brother Anthony, and was pregnant with Tiffany’s sister, Charlotte. Charli and Lloyd decided to move to Georgia so that Lloyd could go to college. On the way to their new home they were stopped for speeding in a small town. The policeman offered to let them go if they paid him a bribe; otherwise he would take Lloyd to jail.

“We don’t have anything to give you,” said Charli.

Then she saw her rings. Despite Lloyd’s objections, Charli gave the officer her wedding rings to save Lloyd from jail.

Three Generations

Charli Reeves with her daughter Tiffany Reeves Burke and grandson Julius Sebastian Burke

Lloyd came through with another ring but then, years later, Tiffany got into New York University and needed a deposit for housing. Lloyd had been very sick and the family was broke. An acquaintance offered to give Charli the money to pay Tiffany’s deposit. Charli was reluctant but she didn’t want to deny her daughter. So she accepted the generous offer under one condition: that her benefactor take her ring until she could pay him back. He agreed to hold the ring until Charli could repay his loan. She did just that, reclaiming the ring later.

Charli looks at the rings as symbols of commitment that go both ways, saying, “The rings at times of crisis have served me well.”



2 Responses to “Put A Ring On It”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • Her rings became a true bond when she gave them away. Beautiful.

    Comment from Sharon Rapoport on February 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Great story. Love knows no limitations.

    Comment from Carl on February 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm - Reply to this Comment

Leave a Reply


  • Major Funding Provided By

  • National Broadcast Sponsors

  • National Partners

    NPR American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress