Imagine finding a message someone wrote for you nearly a century ago. Fascinating, right? And this isn’t a movie we are talking about. What’s even more fascinating is the place where this message was found— deep into a river, inside a green-coloured glass bottle.
A boat captain scuba diving in a Michigan river found an unexpected surprise: a bottle with a note from 1926. Jennifer Dowker, the owner of glass-bottom boat tour company Nautical North Family Adventures, was scuba diving in the Cheboygan River on June 18 to clean the windows on the bottom of her boat, the Yankee Sunshine.
She was looking for something that would pique her client’s interest.“I just collect little bottles that I find on the ground of the river when I am diving pretty often actually,” Dowker said. “I have a little double-headed axe blade that I found the last time I washed the windows.”
She spotted the green bottle on top of the fish bed, and could see that there was paper in the bottle.“I thought ‘Oh that’s kind of cool’ and then I read the word ‘this’ on the paper inside the bottle and I thought ‘Wow that is really cool,” Dowker recalls.
Although the bottle was filled with two-thirds water and had a badly deteriorated cork, she was able to use a pick to pull out a note dated November 1926. It read: “Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow Cheboygan, Michigan and tell where it was found?”
“It was a pretty phenomenal once-in-a-lifetime find for a scuba driver,” Dowker said, who put the letter in the freezer to dry out.
She posted pictures of her find on her company’s Facebook page because she says she knew a couple of Morrows in the area, and expected at least 25 people to see the post.
Little did she know that her post would go viral.“I woke up the next morning and I had a lot of messages from tons of different people saying ‘Oh this could be you know so or so,” Dowker said. “Honestly, my first thought was how I was going to find the time to do this, because I am a single mom with three boys running a business.”
On Sunday, June 20, the scuba driver was returning from her father’s place when she got a call from a woman named Michele Primeau. The 74-year-old woman said that she came to know of the note from another woman, who had seen Ms Dowker’s post on Facebook.
Ms Primeau said she received the pictures of the letter over email from the other woman. She added that it was the handwriting of her father, who was born in Cheboygan and lived there until his 20s.“It was also interesting because he threw the letter in the river in November, and his birthday is in November,” USA Today quoted Ms Primeau as saying. Her father died in 1995.
Now can you guess who gets to keep the note? Well, it’s Ms Dowker. Though she wants to return it, Ms Primeau wants Ms Dowker to keep it.Ms Dowker said that she will get the letter framed in a shadowbox, and Ms Primeau will send more pictures of her father from that time before they display it for people to see.
“I would just want my father’s memory to keep on living and want more people to see it,” Ms Primeau said, adding, “So, we are going up this summer and we are going to see it first-hand.”