Social media helps reunite Milford woman with locket lost on her wedding day

MILFORD — The power of social media and some dedicated community members reunited Renee Garelick this month with a cherished family locket she lost on her wedding day in July.

Garelick, owner of Moda Hair Salon off Bridgeport Avenue, lost a small, heart-shaped locket displaying two of her favorite pictures of her with her late mother and father. And while the day was one of joy, she could not help but feel anguish at losing an object that proudly displayed those who were so important in her life.

"I lost my mom in 2000 and my dad two years ago to COVID," said Garelick. "So this locket means so much to me because it has a picture of me with my mom and me with my dad."

Garelick's friend and wedding planner Kathleen Porto came up with the idea of putting the two photos in a locket for Garelick's wedding.

"We got married in our backyard, which is on the beach," she said. "She gave me the locket right before I walked down the aisle and told me she knew my parents couldn't be here today, but she wanted me to have this so they could be with me."

Garelick said Porto placed the locket in her bouquet, but it didn't have a chain.

"I think when we took pictures, it must have fallen out on the beach," she said. "The next day, when I went to get my bouquet to take it apart and get the locket, I noticed it was gone."

Garelick went to her neighbors' house and asked them if she could use their metal detector to search for the locket. But after two days of searching, they didn't find it.

"I knew it would come back to me at some point," she said.

The person who had the locket was Melodye Grant Bucci. However, she wasn't the one who found it.

"My neighbor found the locket, and since they don't live here permanently, they gave it to me and asked if I knew the person, but I didn't," Bucci said.

She took the locket, put it in her drawer, and had forgotten about it until after the holidays when she was cleaning out and saw the locket.

"I started to wonder if I knew the person in the photo, but I didn't, so I decided to put a picture of a locket on a Milford Facebook page on Jan. 6 to see if someone recognized the person in the photo," she said. "Immediately after I posted the photo, I was getting responses that people knew who it belonged to."

Bucci said one of the people who posted in the post's comments said it was her hairdresser, Garelick.

Garelick said she had former clients and customers call the front desk to tell me someone had found her locket.

"I had no idea, and I first didn't know what they were talking about, then all of a sudden my phone started to ring and ring, and the whole day I was getting called and tagged on the post," she said. "Even my family in Maine saw it, and they reached out to me and told me someone had found my locket."

Bucci said it was a little more than an hour after she made the post she had Garelick's phone number and the location of her studio.

"(Garelick) had told me she could pick it up after work, but I knew I couldn't let her wait that long, so I drove it to her because even though I didn't know both her parents had passed, I knew it was a sentimental locket," Bucci said.

Garelick saw Bucci come into her salon, and was thankful she had her locket again in her hands.

"What made it more special is I got the locket back the day after my dad's birthday. It was like a great gift," said Garelick. "It felt like a sign and a gift from my father. My birthday is Jan. 4, and he is the fifth, so we would always celebrate it together and have pancakes at Chips. So I felt this was his present to me."