By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV's New Hampshire Bureau Chief

HAMPTON BEACH, N.H. (CBS) – A message in a bottle traveled thousands of miles and as many as 50 years before finding its way back to the author’s daughter.

Paula Pierce has lived her life by the ocean. Last week, it delivered a message.

“It was like being contacted from the past,” she said.

That message came in a bottle. And it took decades to find its way back to the Beachcomber Motel, her family’s business.

“It just jumped up off the page at me and I was like that’s my father’s writing. That is my father’s writing!”

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

Sometime between 1960 and 1980, Paula’s father wrote on a piece of paper and put it in a Coca Cola bottle.

It reads ‘Return it to 419 Ocean boulevard and receive a reward of $150 from Tina, owner of Beachcomer’.

Tina is Paula’s mother. She thinks her dad wrote it to tease his business savvy wife.

Somehow the bottle made it all the way to the Island of Turks and Caicos where Clint Buffington found it. He is an English tutor from Kentucky who collects messages in a bottle and tries to find the owner.

Paula learned of the message in the bottle last week when a reporter from Seacoast Online contacted her.

“A message from the past like this carries special weight and I’m just really glad to be part of that,” he told WBZ-TV.

He and Paula have both said they’d like to meet in person. She is anxious to hold the letter.

Traveling direct, it’s about 2000 miles to Turks and Caicos, but no one knows how many miles that bottle logged in the 30-50 years it spent in the Atlantic Ocean.

Paula’s parents passed away years ago. She misses them terribly and thinks there may be a bigger reason the bottle finally surfaced now.

“That gave me chills today. I actually started to cry,” she said. “I feel like they’re sending me a message somehow.”

Her father may have meant the message as a practical joke. Instead, he gave his daughter a priceless gift.

Comments (9)
  1. Italo says:

    What a great, beautiful article! I don’t think there are coincidences… ;) Kudos to this woman for having received notice of such a great message, and gift, all these years later from her parent.

  2. Beachbum says:

    I did this in the 1960s and someone found it and called my Dad.. he already knew us! It went from Seabrook across the river to Hampton LOL

  3. Gina says:

    This guy collects messages in bottles and tries to find the owners? How often can you find messages in bottles? Especially it happening over and over to one person.

    1. Message in a Bottle Hunter says:

      Gina, it takes a LOT of walking! It started out by pure chance, and has developed into a bit of an obsession :-) I hope you’ll check out my blog:

  4. mel says:

    ocean currents always flow the same way so he may be situated in an area that is near a current.

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