Man Returns Fifty-Year-Old Message in a Bottle

December 30, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pursuit / pərˈsut / (n.) – an effort to find something or someone
Example: His pursuit of the perfect gift led us to several stores.

2. eventually / ɪˈvɛn tʃu ə li / (adv.) – after some time
Example: It was a long and difficult hike, but they eventually reached the top. 

3. pass away / pɑs əˈweɪ / (phrasal v.) – to die
Example: His grandmother passed away when he was six years old.

4. locate / ˈloʊ keɪt / (v.) – to find the location of someone or something
Example: He tried to locate the owner of the lost wallet.

5. fulfill / fʊlˈfɪl / (v.) – to carry out or do something
Example: She fulfilled her promise to her parents to graduate with honors.


Read the text below.
A man returned a 50-year-old message in a bottle that he found to its original owner.

In 2011, Clint Buffington discovered an old glass Coke bottle while having a vacation in Turks and Caicos Islands. Upon opening, he discovered a message that read: “Return to 419 Ocean Boulevard and receive a reward of $150 from Tina, the owner of Beachcomber / ˈbitʃˌkoʊ mər /.

Buffington, who has been collecting bottles since 2007, began his pursuit of the bottle’s owner by writing about it on his blog. Through the help of some people who responded to his blog, he eventually found the address mentioned in the letter.

In October this year, Buffington’s search finally led him to the Beachcomber Motel in New Hampshire / ˈhæmp ʃɪər /. However, he discovered that the motels original owners had already passed away. Buffington tried to locate other family members, and eventually found Paula Pierce, the owners daughter.

Pierce was very happy to receive the letter, which was originally from her mother. She also fulfilled her mother’s wish and gave Buffington his $150 reward.

At present, Buffington still continues collecting messages and posts about them in his blog.

Meanwhile, another collector of bottled messages has also made it a habit to post about her discoveries online. Nicola White, who is from England, started collecting bottles in 2011. She responds to some of the letter senders and tries to find them through the Internet. Once, White discovered a letter from a boy who wanted to be the Red Power Ranger. She found the child through Twitter and fulfilled his wish by sending him a Power Ranger costume.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were Clint Buffington, would you return the message in a bottle? Why or why not?
·         How would you react if a letter you wrote a long time ago comes back to you?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think do people send messages in bottles?
·         Do you think that collecting messages in bottles is worth one’s time?

December 30, 2016