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My Dad’s Mysterious Find: A 1970 Message in a Bottle From Georgia

In 2018, my adventure-loving dad was grooving his way down a desolate Caribbean beach when he found this old bottle with a crusty scroll inside. It was mysterious. It was intriguing. It was clearly old and fragile (my dad, of course, is 3 of those 4 things himself!). Every bottle my family has ever found that looked like this has been from the 1970s. In fact, the last message in a bottle my dad had found was from 1970. Could this be another?

My Dad With The 1970 Message in a Bottle from Kenneth Henderson

My dad with a message in a bottle he found.

1970 Message in a Bottle from Kenneth Henderson Closeup

Another Very Old Message in a Bottle For My Dad

Last year, my dad, who keeps going like the Energizer Bunny, found this 49 year old message in a bottle from 1970. Previously, he had found this 30ish year old message in a bottle from a Nova Scotia high schooler and spoke with him on the phone! Dang, he’s lucky!

Thus, on Message in a Bottle Day 2019 (the day after Thanksgiving), dad decided to open this bottle and see what might be hidden inside.

“I’ll be impressed if it’s older than 1980,” he said as he cut the bottle open with a dremel tool.

The 1970 message in a bottle my dad found from Kenneth Henderson

When my dad unrolled this fragile scroll, I simply could not believe my eyes.

Full text of 1970 message in a bottle from Kenneth Henderson

“1970!” he hollered as he saw the date.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 19-freaking-70! Another half-century-old message in a bottle from 1970 for my dad, signed by Kenneth Henderson of Griffin, GA!

If you find this bottle, please send your location and the date you found it to:

Kenneth Henderson

(street address)

Griffin, GA  30223

United States

Date: June 30th, 1970

Jekyll Island, GA

“Rock and roll!” my dad shouted after reading the note (this is our family battle cry), “I will find this man! I will find him!”

If your mind is not blown yet, recall Joel Nathan sent a message in a bottle July 25th, 1970 from Port Royal, South Carolina. Well, Kenneth Henderson sent this bottle just 26 days earlier, on June 30th, 1970 from Jekyll Island, Georgia, a stone’s throw away!

Path of Kenneth Henderson and Joel Nathan message in a bottle

Path taken by both Kenneth Henderson’s message in a bottle and Joel Nathan’s. Both were sent from the same region in summer 1970, and both were found by my dad in the Caribbean nearly 50 years after they were sent.

These guys were so close together in the same few weeks that they could have actually met!

A Brief Digression About Doc Holliday, and My Family Visiting Jekyll Island

Also — and this makes me very happy — my family vacationed on Jekyll Island once when I was small. Kenneth’s message was out at sea while we were on Jekyll Island, and had been already for 20 years. It’s rare for the person who finds a message in a bottle to have any connection to the place where its journey began, but my dad has exactly that with this bottle. He found it in the Caribbean, and had been to Jekyll Island himself. Cool!

By the way, guess who else is from Griffin, GA? Doc Holliday of wild west fame! You’ll remember him as played by Val Kilmer in the movie Tombstone, of course. Years ago, my dad wrote a series of articles for a local paper about wild west figures, including Doc Holliday. Cool, right?

I do love these little coincidences that give messages in bottles their magic 🙂

Seeking Kenneth Henderson of Griffin, GA, Author of 1970 Bottled Message

Thus far, Kenneth Henderson has evaded us, though we know that he lived in Griffin, GA (near Atlanta) as of June 30th, 1970. Also, we believe he no longer owns or lives at the address on this message (I have blurred the address).

Of course, my dad is fiercely curious about this message and hopes to find Kenneth. When I say it “haunts” him, I do mean like a ghost – present, unresolved, nearly impossible to believe…

I like to imagine that Kenneth is 120 years old and hasn’t thought about his Jekyll Island message in a bottle in decades. Imagine his phone ringing — a landline, of course — and joyful surprise washing over him as a friend or family member who sees this post explains to him the utterly amazing fact that his message in a bottle was found by my salty old dad on a deserted Caribbean island.

I hope he still has his curiosity, his sense of wonder, and whatever extra ingredient made him send a greeting into the impossibly vast ocean and wait for a reply. He waited as humans journeyed to and from the moon, as great artists and musicians flared up and fizzled out, as presidents came and went. It has been a very long wait.

Goodness, how I would love to tell him that his wait is over!

My dad and I can only do this with your help. Let’s find Kenneth Henderson and sprinkle a little message-in-a-bottle magic on his life!

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