40 Year Old Message in a Bottle Was Written by “Bored” Girls
I never cease to be amazed by the power of messages in bottles to inspire people and bring folks together–to connect total strangers and create friendships where before there was nothing. And this 40 year old message in a bottle–which made my list of best messages in bottles found in 2015–is a great example of that. As the woman who sent it said herself, the finding of the message made her feel like anything is possible.
Well, the story is simple and sweet: Susan Cordell, 13, and Amy Heinkel, 11, were just “bored young junior high girls in 1975,” according to the PT Leader. So they decided to send a message in a bottle. They may have been “bored,” but I tend to think that their decision to send a message in a bottle taps into a deep and important element of humanity, which is our curiosity.
Anyway, as Susan’s mother recalled to the PT Leader, “I have a vague recollection that we were down at the deli at the Town Tavern…I have a picture of us all sitting there and Amy joined us and then Amy and Susan went out with a bottle that they probably got from the deli at the Town Tavern.”
Susan’s mother speculated that one day in 1975, Susan and Amy just got the idea. Then they “decided to go out and try this romantic thing out of an old book,” according to the PT Leader.
So Susan wrote a simple note, and sealed it in the bottle.
Howdy, me Susan Cordell & Amy Heinkel decided to put a note in this bottle. If found please write to 639 Port Townsend Wash 98368. Reward if found…please send…
According to the PT Leader, the address in the note was once “the Town Tavern pub and eatery in the N.D. Hill Building at the corner of Water and Quincy streets [in Port Townsend, WA]. The former tavern space is now home of Conservatory Coastal Home, while Water Street Hotel is upstairs.” No one seems to know why Cordell would have listed that address, but her mom says that they all hung out there when it was a tavern/restaurant. In fact, that seems to be where Cordell got the receipt on which she wrote the note.
40 Year Old Message in a Bottle Found
Fast forward four decades to 2015. One day, Mikki Stazel and her boyfriend Kevin Easley went beachcombing on Okalee Spit in Alaska, near Kayak Island. They told the PT Leader that they went in opposite directions on the beach, and Mikki, with her dog Surly, discovered the bottled note and brought it back to show Kevin. Together, they busted the bottle open on a log right there on the windy beach! Let me just say: They are braver souls than I am. I mean, holy crap! It is a miracle that the 40 year old, brittle paper in the bottle didn’t get completely destroyed. If you watch the video, you can even see the notes blowing away down the beach, and Surly chasing them. It gives me palpitations to watch! All I can say is that it was pure luck. As you can see from the photos, the message was very brittle indeed. Some of it had already crumbled away. It boggles the mind that enough of the note survived for them to find Susan Cordell.
But they did find her! And the foggy memory of sending the 40 year old message in a bottle swam back into view… It brought back memories of a different, much simpler time. For fun, she and her friend Amy (co-sender of the note) would get together on weekends and bake cookies. As a baker myself, I think that is just lovely. Do kids still do this? I know there are bigger things to be concerned about these days, but I, for one, really hope that kids still hang out to bake stuff on weekends.
Speaking of–Susan and Amy promised a “reward” in their 40 year old message in a bottle. Well, Amy’s sister, Lisa, suggested that they all get together to bake a batch of their old favorite cookies and send them to Mikki and Kevin in Alaska, according to the PT Leader. So far, there is no word on whether the cookies have made it to Alaska…
Today, Susan Cordell is a scientist living in Hawaii. When she learned of her message’s discovery, Susan Cordell told Fox 13 in Seattle it made her feel “like anything is possible”.
Well, I agree. And here at the beginning of 2018, I say cheers to a new year full of new possibilities. With any luck, it will be for each of us a year of thrilling discoveries and new friendships and adventures. After all, anything is possible!
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Jonathan H. Saunders said:
I have relinquished dozens of Messages in Bottles, from the Bering Straits to the Western Pacific, from the Grand Banks to the West Indies with nary a reply. These bottles are sealed with MarineTec, 5200 or like substances. Why no replies? I enclose release date, lat/long coordinates of release, return mailing and email addresses and 5 dollars American to cover postage and as incentive to reply.
Message in a Bottle Hunter said:
That is a fascinating question! My first answer is: Time. Any given message in a bottle can get sucked into some pretty strong currents, and continue to ride those currents like a highway for years and even decades. Many of the old messages in bottles I find–from 20 – 40 years old–appear right on the beach as if they have washed up that day or that week. So where have they been all that time? All I can think is that they have just been circulating year after year until some storm or something kicked them out of the major currents and caused them to wash up. There’s no reason that this couldn’t happen to many bottles–perhaps every last one of your bottles! They could all be out there circulating as we speak – or just as likely, they could be caught in the doldrums, waiting for some activity…
The other answer is: Location. Your bottles may well have washed up somewhere mind-bendingly remote. Did you know that Canada alone has well over 125,000 miles of coastline? Norway has over 33,000 miles of coastline… you see where I’m going with this. Your bottles could be lying in repose on some frozen stretch Norwegian coastline that hasn’t been walked by humans in 20 or 30 years.
I don’t know how helpful this all is, but I think it goes a long way to explaining why you haven’t heard back yet 🙂 (At the same time, this is also why you won’t necessarily hear back any faster by sending more bottles. I think the key ingredient here is just patience–and what a delight it will be when you finally do hear back, right?)