Message in a Bottle

I love love.


But also I love stories of love. Not just love stories, persay, but stories of love as a human condition. Stories of amazing feats of love, the powerful force behind it, or the general good that lies in the hearts of the human population that we had all too soon given up on.

This is one of those stories:

In 1999 fisherman Steve Gowan found a bottle clinging to his fishing nets. Inside the eroded bottle were two notes written by Private Thomas Hughes dated September 9, 1914. The first note asked the person who finds the bottle to forward the second letter to his wife Elizabeth Hughes. The second letter was a love letter to his wife Elizabeth in which he expressed how she was constantly in his thoughts as he made his way to France in the early days of WWI.

After reading the love letter Gowan felt a personal responsibility to see that Private Hughes’s 85-year old letters found their way home to his loved ones. Gowan assumed Elizabeth probably passed on so he began searching for her descendants and his search lead him to Thomas and Elizabeth’s daughter, Emily, who lived in Auckland, New Zealand.

Sadly, Gowan later found out that Private Thomas Hughes died in battle shortly after sending the bottle. He never got to see his beloved Elizabeth again nor ever meet his 2-year old daughter Emily. After hearing about Steve Gowan’s findings, The New Zealand Post offered to fly Gowan to New Zealand so he can hand deliver the bottle to Emily. As Emily later shared with the newspaper, her father’s notes couldn’t come home until the right boat came along at the right time with the right fisherman.

And if that isn’t enough to make you believe in a higher power, or the twists and turns of fate, or the incredible love you can feel from a person who has already left this earth, then this story, also of a message in a bottle, is sure to make you a believer.

When Josh Baker was 10 years old he dumped his mother’s entire bottle of vanilla down the sink and decided to use the bottle for a message. He took a piece of paper and wrote, “My name is Josh Baker. I’m 10. If you find this, put it on the news. The date is April 16, 1995.” Baker stuffed the note inside the bottle of vanilla extract and threw it out into Wisconsin’s White Lake. Years went on and Baker graduated high school and enlisted in the Marines. In a pure twist of irony, Baker survived the war in Iraq but lost his life back home in a tragic car accident. His family and friends were devastated by their loss.

In what could only be described as an unexplained act of fate, months after Baker’s death two of his friends, Steve Lieder and Robert Duncan, stumbled upon a bottle in Wisconsin’s White Lake. Just like something out of a dramatic movie, Steve and Robert opened the bottle to find John Baker’s note.

Today, Baker’s childhood note is displayed in the Baker’s home as a constant reminder that Josh, although gone, is always with them.

so see all you cynics out there, people are still fundamentally good, even if we don’t always see it, or choose to believe it. I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to write something epic. A love letter, or maybe just a life letter. But whatever the content. I want to scribble it down, roll it up, pop it in a bottle, and let it find its way to whomever. Because in this life,

you never know.



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