My great-grandmother's name is Lucy. She was born in 1918. In the 1920s, she and her family lived in the small settlement of Tarkio, in the northwestern corner of Missouri close to the Iowa and Nebraska borders.
Lots of her extended family also lived in Tarkio, including her maternal grandmother and some of her cousins on her mother's side. All the kids went to the same school a few miles away, and they walked there together every day. One cousin in particular was a strikingly pretty girl of about Lucy's age.
This girl was their grandmother's favorite. Their grandmother liked to give this particular grandchild gifts, and not give any gifts to her other grandchildren because they weren't as pretty. One of the most lavish gifts she gave her was a ring with her birthstone in it. None of her cousins had ever owned anything this nice before, and this girl knew it.
She used the ring to subject her cousins to slow emotional torture whatever chance she got.
One day, she and Lucy were walking home from school together when she shoved the ring in Lucy's face and started teasing her about it.
And Lucy snapped.
The ring landed in a huge, sandy field overgrown with tall grass. No one ever found it.
Lucy's mother wanted to (and I quote) "whup" her when she found out what had happened, but Lucy's father stepped in and said, "That girl deserved it."