The bottle was recovered by a young tug boat operator, who was clearing debris at the Azwell Dam in Washington state. (Contributed)

Okanagan woman shocked by return of letter in a bottle, after 31 years

‘I honestly didn’t think it would get past the beaver pond.’

A woman who grew up near Princeton has received an answer to a letter she wrote – 31 years after she stuffed it in a bottle, and tossed it into a creek.

Amanda Hope said she was shocked when she was contacted through Facebook last Saturday, telling her the note was discovered in Washington State.

“I’ve heard about people finding messages in bottles and tracking the writers down, but never thought I’d be one of those people,” she told The Spotlight.

“I really wish I had been a little more profound, but I never expected my little glass pop bottle to travel so far.”

Hope was 14, living on a farm on Summers Creek Road. Today she lives in Kelowna and works for Interior Health.

It was July 5, 1989, and Hope wanted to see if one of her friends, living downstream, would find her floating message.

“I honestly didn’t think it would get past the beaver pond.”

Now it appears the bottle reached the Similkameen River, and then the Okanagan River and the Columbia River, before ending up in Washington, after travelling at least 300 kilometres.

It was found by a young tug boat operator, who was clearing debris from Azwell Dam, 60 miles north of Wenatchee. He gave the bottle to his mother, and she employed some neat detective work to track down Hope.

The note is worn and illegible in parts, however, the readable sections brought back sweet memories for the writer.

“Hi there, I see you’ve found this bottle. Well if your …this is Mandy. If you know Star, tell her you found my …Summers Creek Rd. It’s July 5th, 1989. I’m sending …journey by the first bridge. If your Michelle Webster …her to say hi to “Ernie.”

“If your Robert Brown… know him, tell him the girl he makes eat hay says …someday. And hi. If your Shane Gallagher, or know him… for the buck. I told you I was getting off at your bus stop…feel honoured to find this, whoever you are. I’d love to find a bottle. Well, I’ll be going. This may not get far because of the beaver dams, but all the people I’ve mentioned live along the creek. And if you are the Hopes by the highway or the Gillards, hi…stole our last name Hopes. Just kidding. Have a nice day. Mandy.

“P.S. If this is found in the far future, I’ll be… ound soon by one of the mentioned above, I’ll be just…let me know. Phone me or tell me when you see me.”

Hope received a digital photo of the letter, and the original is being mailed to her. (Contributed)

Hope said she isn’t certain what prompted her to write and send the message.

“The farm was remote, so us kids were always looking for ways to amuse ourselves.”

However, she did admit a fondness for the 1977 Disney animated classic The Rescuers, which features a main character who sends a message for help down the river, in a bottle.

While Hope is delighted with the experience of having someone find her bottle, she said her adult self feels “bad about littering…I don’t throw bottles in streams anymore.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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