1985 Message in a Bottle Found
*This 1985 message in a bottle was found back in 2008, but I just found out about it, and I think it’s super cool!*
When Donald Wylie was just 11 years old, he cast a message in a bottle into the sea hoping for a penpal, according to the University of St. Andrews. Well, it took longer than he hoped, but he also got more than he asked for. 23 years later, he gained real-life friends instead of a penpal. Wylie launched his 1985 message in a bottle in the Orkneys, and it washed ashore in 2008 at St. Andrews, northeast of Edinburgh. A Scottish message in a bottle, through and through! It’s not the oldest Scottish message in a bottle, but at 23 years, it’s downright impressive.
Once upon a summer’s day in 2008, a group of staff and students from the University of St. Andrews passed an afternoon cleaning up trash on the local beaches, and were surprised and delighted to find Wylie’s message in a bottle. They all worked together to track him down–and when they did, he was just as surprised to hear from them!
1985 Message in a Bottle Sender and Finder Meet on Beach Where Bottle Washed Up
Actually, everyone was so excited about it, that St. Andrews invited Wylie down to visit the beach where his message was found, and returned it to him.
They even orchestrated a meeting between Donald Wylie and Mary Stevens, who found the 1985 message in a bottle! Stevens, according to the University of St. Andrews, was “a mature student at the University and member of staff at ELT (English Language Teaching)”. So she’s no stranger to studying communication 🙂
According to the University of St. Andrews, Roddy Yarr, Environment and Energy Manager for the University of St Andrews said, “The message in a bottle was really quite a find and surprised us all, and we’re delighted to be able to reunite the owner with this piece of history. It really is quite remarkable that the bottle should be found after all this time – who knows where it has travelled to in the last quarter of a [century].”
What Does the 1985 Message in a Bottle Say?
Donald says that his mother actually penned the note. But the idea was to find penpals, to connect with the outside world.
Well, folks, I’m a sucker for this story, because the finder and sender of the message met, and did so on the beach where the bottle was found. That’s what I’m all about! It reminds me of when I met Janet Rockware on the Delaware River bridge where she sent a message in a bottle in 1981 after I found it in the Caribbean in 2008.
I’m also a sucker for it because I know one thing to be true, and it might be the only thing I am smart enough to know for certain. But I am certain about this: every new friendship makes the world a better place. The fewer people who are strangers to each other, the better. This is the magic of messages in bottles, and I tend to think we need all the magic we can get.
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