When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time doing "crazy" things -- digging holes in the sand "to China," tying letters to balloon strings and hoping someone would find it and call me to tell me where it ended up, and yes, I even wrote a few messages in bottles. I tossed a bottle off a boat in Alaska on my way to Kodiak Island when I was only 4. No one ever found it.
Turns out, there is still hope. Almost 25 years after a 5-year-old German boy vacationing in Denmark tossed a message in a bottle off a ship in the Baltic Sea, he got his answer from a 13-year-old Russian named Daniil Korotkikh, who was walking with his parents on a beach when he saw something glittering lying in the sand. He told the AP that he spotted the German beer bottle with a ceramic plug, and thought it looked interesting. Then he found the message, which in German read:
My name is Frank, and I'm five years old. My dad and I are traveling on a ship to Denmark. If you find this letter, please write back to me, and I will write back to you.
The letter was dated 1987 and included an address to the boy's home where his parents still reside. Now 29, the author -- Frank Uesbeck -- was thrilled to hear from the young boy, and the two have now struck up a friendship via video chat and hope to meet sometime soon.
It has all the makings of a children's book, but it's the stuff we hope will happen someday to inspire our kids to still believe in magic and kindness and creativity even when they're a bit too old for that stuff.
No one ever found my bottle message or my note on a balloon. But I do hope to bury a time capsule at some point with my children, something we can dig up years later and see what they liked when they were little. Childhood is such a fleeting time, and as my children bound with what seems like lightning speed toward school and friends and away from me, it's nice to create these kinds of links to a lighter time when they believed in miracles and digging holes to other countries and making friends with only a balloon string connecting you.
There is something so hopeful and lovely in this story. While littering in the ocean isn't always the greatest of plans and messages via bottle is an even slower way to send a message than dial-up Internet (25 years to arrive!!!), every kid should have a story like this to share someday.
Did you ever do a message in a bottle?
Image via M.Markus/Flickr