Message in a bottle makes a connection for Princeton woman after more than 30 years - InfoNews

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Message in a bottle makes a connection for Princeton woman after more than 30 years

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Pexels.com
October 01, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Thirty-one years ago, Amanda Hope wrote a message and stuck it in a bottle, expecting a friend along the creek where she lived in Princeton at the time to find it.

On Sept. 26, Hope was contacted by a woman named Liz from Washington state.

Her son, Simon, operated a tug boat on the Columbia River at Azwell Dam, pushing debris from the river onshore for cleanup. He was in the process of discarding the refuse when he spotted a bottle with a note in it.

When Hope was notified, she remembered the incident like it was yesterday.

“When she said her son found a bottle with a message in it from "Mandy on Summers Creek" and told it was from 1989, I got goosebumps. Absolutely, I knew it was me. And when she texted a photo of it, I recognized my writing immediately,” Hope says.

Hope recalls sending the message in a pop bottle, likely a Coke or Orange Crush. It was an older style glass bottle and she used the original cap to seal it.

The operator of a tug pushing debris away from a dam on the Okanogan River in Washington State discoverd a bottle with a message dating back to 1989.
The operator of a tug pushing debris away from a dam on the Okanogan River in Washington State discoverd a bottle with a message dating back to 1989.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED /Amanda Hope

“It’s amazing, really. I would have thought it would have eroded or leaked after all those years,” she says.

Hope says the original idea was to write a message to her friends living downstream on Summers Creek.

“I wish I had written something more profound, but it did capture my 14-year-old humour at the time and I never really thought it would get beyond the beaver dam downstream,” she says, adding she recalls sending at least one other bottle downstream when she was younger.

“It wasn't a common thing for me to do,” she says.

Hope says she loved the cartoon “The Rescuers” as a little kid. In the cartoon, a mouse puts a message in a bottle and sends it downstream for help.

“I was pretty imaginative as a kid, and it wouldn’t have been a stretch for me to come up with the idea, while stuck on a farm for the summer,” she says.

The message has worn over time but most of it can still be read:

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 honored 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.

But the bottle travelled past her friends' homes, down Summers Creek to the Similkameen River, then onto the Okanagan River and on into Washington state.

It was found near the town of Azwell, about a three hour drive from Princeton.

Hope says she’s still ‘in shock' the bottle was found and communicated back to her after more than three decades.

She had completely forgotten about it and although she had read stories of people finding messages in bottles, never thought she would be the subject of one of those stories.

"I think it’s absolutely amazing that the bottle was found. Liz and I have since been chatting, she is lovely and it’s quite interesting how much we have in common. One day, I plan to go visit her and her family and see where she lives. Finish the story, so to speak. And I also want to see just how far that bottle went. She lives in a remote community called Stehekin, Washington, which can only be accessed by boat. She is a teacher in the small school there and her class are going to use maps to follow the bottle’s route down the waterways,” Hope says.

“I think that little bottle had an amazing adventure. My guess is some summers, it lounged around in low water, which may account for the fading of the paper, and in spring run-off, probably had quite a rollercoaster ride. In winter, it might have been caught in the ice, and it had to avoid any off-shoots and creeks and streams along the way which might have pushed it in places it would never be found. It’s quite amazing it lasted all those years, and made it as far as it did. Then, to be found by Simon – what are the chances.”

Is she interested in trying it again?

“No,” Hope says with a laugh.”I would feel guilty about tossing a bottle into a creek now."

Amanda Hope's message in a bottle survived three decades in the Similkameen and Okanogan Rivers.
Amanda Hope's message in a bottle survived three decades in the Similkameen and Okanogan Rivers.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED /Amanda Hope

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