Christmas 1945: A Lonely Soldier and a Message in a Bottle
Frank Hayostek and Breda O’Sullivan captured the hearts of millions in the somber but celebratory days after World War II.
adventure, Asheville, beachcombing, business card in a bottle, Clint Buffington, Cocoa Beach, cypress gardens, Grenelefe, illustration, John E Freeland, Long Island, message in a bottle, message in a bottle hunter, ocean currents, Phil Freeland, romance, stick figure, travel, winter haven
Finding a message in a bottle is fun!
It’s also extremely addicting. And when I’m landlocked and working, and my mind wanders back to the beach, and to bottles shining in sunlight–
I start getting a little batty! The unopened bottles in my home become the tell-tale hearts of my life, always pulsing in their cardboard box, hijacking my concentration. I stare at them and want to open them and yes, yes, their time will come!
But I have to be extremely careful. The papers inside are the only links I have to the senders, soon to be (hopefully!) my friends. Each one is priceless, each brittle paper. So I wait until the time is right for each bottle, wait till I have time and a quiet day stretching out before me, when I can gather the tools and supplies I need. And then, the bottles know: there is no escape!
That night, after my mom had taken the drawings out of the bottle, we passed them around, speculating. Was this the work of a famous artist we weren’t familiar with? Did we hold priceless treasure in our hands, the flippant gesture of an artist bored at sea? What was this?!
I emailed John the very night I got home.
Dear Mr. Piper,
We are strangers to each other, or were, but you should know this: I found your pencil sketches—the ones you put in a big plastic bottle and tossed in the sea!
Two hour later, he wrote back to me!
What an amazing thing to happen. It has been drifting around since November 2006! When I threw it over the side of P & O cruise ship Oceana, (but then you might know that already, I can’t really remember what I put on the notes? It was only a bit of fun and just a very long shot). I had no idea where it would end up; probably swallowed by some passing whale perhaps? So where on earth did you find it? I am so totally overcome by this event.
I live in Exeter, in the County of Devon, in the South West of England. I am retired and painting and writing full time.
One crazy day in 2008, I found two messages in bottles on an uninhabited Caribbean island.
But the one on the left is a different story…
I found it jammed under a rock ledge on a section of rocky coast. This is how rocky the coast was. Like my high socks?