Personal History

Treasure Chest Thursday: All Sides of My Aggie Ring

In the past four posts, I have shared some of the lessons I have learned with my new dSLR camera. Today, I wish to review something I posted three years ago, the concept of playing and photographing an object from different angles.

Aggie Ring
Honoring the men and women who serve our country and are Aggies!

Texas A&M University is a college rich in tradition, with one of the most visible being the Aggie Ring. There are plenty of photographs available online of the ring, which is rich in symbolism and history. ¬†However, these photos are of MY ring. I know in family history, Ron Tanner wants us not to have “My-tree-itis” and I’m on board with that fully. I don’t think he would mind me wanting photographs of My Aggie Ring rather than ‘any’ Aggie Ring in My personal history. I wouldn’t be a true Aggie if I didn’t have pride in My ring.

Okay, that last paragraph was full of fun, but here’s what I really want you to understand about photographing an object, especially a ring. You need to photograph each side of the ring. One side of the Aggie ring symbolizes the State of Texas, the desire for peace, and the strength to fight if necessary. The other side symbolizes the men and women of Texas who have and will continue to fight for their homeland (can you tell A&M was/is a military college?) and our dual allegiance to Texas and the United States of America. The shield honors the 13 original colonies but reminds the ring bearer to protect the good name of Texas A&M. ¬†The front of my ring has the year of my Senior Class ’98. I didn’t graduate in ’98 because I extended my program by a year to include a co-op, but I will forever be part of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’98.

Photographing Your College Ring
Proud to be a member of the Class of ’98

Without photographing each side of this ring, I would slowly forget the meaning etched into a ring I wear daily on the hand opposite my wedding band. My children would not know just how much meaning this ring has in it’s design and the pride I have wearing it.

When I include these pictures in my personal history, I would have many stories to share. First, I would have the story of when I picked up the ring. I actually picked it up alone because I couldn’t make it to the Alumni Center with anyone else in my class of ’98 that I knew at the same time. I remember standing in line on a lovely morning wearing my Aggie Sweater Vest. A Party Pics photographer was on hand to photograph this special moment and I am so glad it didn’t go undocumented.

Photographing Your College Ring
Texas Aggie ring, the side symbolizing Texas, the desire for peace but a
willingness to fight if called upon.

I can share the story of dunking my ring in a LARGE bowl of ice cream at Swensons with my room mate. There is another Aggie Ring Dunk tradition involving alcohol, but I don’t drink so ice cream was the choice. Friends, and my fiance, came to enjoy the dunking tradition. My friend Kristi didn’t eat her fair share of the ice cream and I still remember the brain freeze from that day!

Devon Geiszler, Aggie Class of 98
Look at me decked out the day I received my Aggie Senior Ring! Gig’em Class of ’98!

Finally (and continually), there are many stories of meeting Aggies throughout the country because they recognize the hardware on my finger. It’s big. It makes a statement. And it’s a magnet for other Aggies. In fact, the most recent experience occured when I was standing in line with my family to meet Pocahontas in Walt Disney World. The man in front of me asked me, “What class?” as he pointed to the ring. That’s the near universal sign that the person asking the question knows what the ring on my hand is. He didn’t need to say, “Are you an Aggie?” He didn’t need to ask, “Is that an Aggie Ring?” A fellow Ag recognized the ring and asked the appropriate question. We proceeded to talk as if we’d known each other back in Aggieland as we awaited the Native American Disney Princess. The Aggie ring unites Aggies around the world, and even in the land of a mouse.

Be sure to photograph all sides of your rings and heirlooms. Many objects have rich symbolism that should also be explained. And as you photograph these objects, be sure to record the stories that aren’t apparent from the photograph.

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.


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