Jennifer Dowker was scuba diving in Michigan earlier this month when stumbled upon something out of a movie: a message in a bottle from 1926.
A small, green glass bottle with a piece of paper rolled up inside was sitting at the bottom of the Cheboygan River, which Dowker could spot thanks to her glass-bottom boat.
“I thought, ‘A message in a bottle? Cool!'” Dowker, 45, told The Washington Post. She decided to then call her part-time employee, Rob Hemmer who also works at a nearby local history museum.
“Rob picked the broken cork out of the bottle with his jackknife and dumped out the water, then we carefully got the note out,” she said. “It was wet, and we were surprised to find that we could still read it.”
The note read: “Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow, Cheboygan, Michigan, and tell where it was found?”
The message was dated November 1926.
Dowker, who runs a company that takes tourists on cruises and shipwreck tours in Cheboygan, revealed to The Post that she quickly posted about the bottle on her company’s Facebook page.
“So look what I found when I was washing windows and cruising along with the fish,” she wrote. “Any Morrows out there know a George Morrow that would’ve written this circa 1926?”
“COOLEST night diving EVER,” she added. And by the next morning, the post had gone viral.
A woman by the name of René Szatkowski was able to contact George’s daughter, Michele Primeau, whom she found through George’s online obituary.
She revealed she wanted to help with the search because “I know that I would cherish something like that from my own family’s past.”
And so when she called Primeau, she said: “You don’t know me and this may be really strange, but there are people looking for you on the internet.”
Funny enough, George had sent the message off right around his 18th birthday.
“My dad was born in November, and I can just picture him going down to the river on his 18th birthday and tossing the bottle in,” Primeau told The Post.
The World War II veteran was “really sentimental,” she added. “I could see him doing something like that. When we were kids and went camping at Lake Huron, I remember he did the same thing once. He put a note in a bottle and threw it into the lake.”
According to his daughter, George died in 1995 of causes related to dementia.
And while Dowker wanted to return the note to George’s loved ones, Primeau said she decided that the note should stay with the person who discovered it.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if Jenn could keep it in her office so everyone who came in could see it?” she said. “It will be a way for my dad to live on. I really like the idea of sharing it.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.