This past weekend we celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday with a trip to Bethany Beach, Deleware. It’s been a tradition of my family to walk the beach and pick up trash. Not the most glamorous of traditions I realize, but it makes us feel good about cleaning up our Mother Earth. Give a little back when you can. We always find interesting treasures on our walk. On Saturday, September 29th, 2018 I came across my very first message in a bottle. It was tucked up in the fence that protects people from walking on the dunes. I noticed the cork sticking out of it right away and thought it peculiar. The cork was damaged and broke off in my hand when I tried to remove it. Sand and some muck hid the note inside the bottle, but with luck, my sister jammed the mushy cork through with a discarded straw (one of many we found), and we were able to get the note out. It was soaked and in bad shape. I wasn’t even sure it was a note, covered in sea gunk it looked like wadded up used gum.
I peeled just enough back to uncover a few handwritten letters, but the paper was disintegrating with every touch. My mom and sister convinced me to let the note dry overnight. I’m glad they did, the blue paper was too delicate to open in its current state, I would have destroyed it.
The next morning I rushed for the note like Christmas morning. It probably took me half an hour to peel back the rolled up note which was still damp. I used a Q-Tip to clean off some mud. After examining it carefully I think we got it:
Dear John 8/2/18
I wish I didn’t have to write this. I wish I could have talked to you. You were always a good brother to me and my family. I always looked up to you and you always watched after me. I’m sorry you had such demons and I couldn’t protect you. I know how you loved to fish, so I’m spreading some ashes in Montaul and I hope you are at peace now. I love and miss you so much.
Ka—(paper too hard to read full name)
Please continue watching —-(paper to hard to read final wish)
Goosebumps trickled up my arm and my eyes watered with emotion. Someone lost a brother close to them, and I am receiving their final prayer for the fallen. How honored I feel and how sad I feel for their loss.
We looked up Montaul and could only find Montauk, New York, which is roughly 7 hours by car north of Bethany Beach. See Google map Here. With Hurrican Florance barreling through about a week ago I think it helped the bottle move South rather quickly.
Anyone I came in contact with since finding the message has asked me what I plan to do with it. The first thing that has come to mind is to send it to Post Secret so this secret or wish can be shared with others and maybe the person who sent it will know that even though I don’t know who they are I am thinking about them and John. If I could write back I would say:
I’m sorry John is not here with you anymore. I can’t imagine what his demons were; I certainly know we all have them, yet some carry so much more than others. I hope you and your family can find some peace and heal from losing him. I hope John caught some big fish in his days and found happiness in the life he had. I’m sending you a big warm hug and a smile. Keep the memories close to your heart, it’s the best place for them.
Fingers to the sky; sending a prayer up and into the universe for John.