Southern Indiana farmer finds message in a bottle nearly 20 years later
Nowadays, sending a message is instant, but not so long ago, messaging wasn't so fast.
CAMPBELLSBURG, In. (WDRB) -- Driving around his Washington County, Indiana farm, it's not unusual for Landon Roberts to find strange items.
"You usually get refrigerators and tires and stuff that people don't want," said Roberts.
Trash mostly ends up on his farm land when the White River goes out. But in late May, something caught his eye: a bottle that washed up during recent flooding.
"I could see when I looked down that it had a message in it and it said cut here to open," said Roberts.
It was a message in a bottle, nearly two decades old. "Two girls that were about to go into their senior year of high school and knew the river was getting ready to get out," said Roberts.
In 19 years, the bottle only traveled maybe 10 miles starting out near Medora and ending up near Campbellsburg. It was a little faded from the sun, but somehow still mostly intact. Roberts could have just thrown it away, but instead decided to do a little detective work to find out what happened to those teenage girls excitedly anticipating their senior year.
"I kind of thought in the back of my head it would kind of be neat to let this go full circle and I'm sure they would really enjoy having their bottle back or at least knowing somebody found it," said Roberts.
Years ago, that might have meant some real digging, but in the age of social media, a quick post is all it took.
"I was ecstatic, shocked. I didn't know what to say," said Julie Clines, one of the teens who sent the message.
After nearly 20 years under water, it took less than 24 hours via Facebook to find its way back to Clines. "They said we found a bottle with your name in it," she said.
She's now all grown up. "We were 16 and 17. We had wild dreams and plans of stuff we wanted to do," said Clines.
That bottle remained a fond, but distant memory. "I remember the day we threw it in. It's just vivid in my head," said Clines.
She says she never really expected to find out where it went. And while only 19 years have passed since Clines and her friend Amanda threw the bottle in the White River a lot has changed.
"Stuff like that doesn't happen. With the way technology is now, messages are instant and this just took a lot of time," she said. "I think it's kind of old school and people think it's neat now."
Roberts plans to return the bottle to Clines soon, but he and his wife just welcomed their first baby, so that's taken a backseat for now.
Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.