Once upon a time in the days before cell phones and the dreadfully unhappy years before the internet, Chesapeake Bay Girl was bored--exceedingly bored.
Faced with the same tedious options every day and living in near isolation in Mathews, she thought about ways to break out of her daily rut of making forts, climbing trees, riding ponies and spying on Middle Sister, whose behavior never ceased to amaze her.
A yen for travel, exploration and communication with other people besides her
One day while kicking pine cones around the shoreline of the creek, she came upon the place where her grandparents used to dump their glass, including old bottles that once held orange marmalade, Jean Nate' or milk (yes, kids, milk used to come in glass bottles) but which now housed periwinkle shells and creek mud.
The light bulb went off, and an idea was born. Why not write notes, stuff them in these bottles, toss 'em overboard and pray that some Unknown Person Far Away will find them and call back, as instructed? This way she'd actually hear from a human being who (theoretically) wasn't from Mathews while simultaneously conducting an important social and scientific experiment. If only she kept track of the time and the tides, she might have had herself a really fine scientific experiment.
Once--and only once--out of the dozen or three bottles tossed from the banks of Queens Creek, someone found one of my messages and called to report in as
When my mother told me, I rejoiced. Surely he was from the Eastern Shore of the bay; or perhaps from some other exotic destination along the Eastern Seaboard (there are so many, after all).
So where was this person and how far had my bottle traveled?
Up the creek a ways. Not out the creek. Not on the shores of Gwynn's Island, not along the bay. Just up the creek a ways.
Thankfully the internet has replaced bottle notes, but somehow or another I can't shake that "up the creek" theme in my life.
Did you communicate with people outside your comfort zone before the internet? Did anyone out there have pen pals? As of Blog Fest I know of one person who is married to a life long pen pal. This is amazing to me, yet reinforces my belief that you can come to know someone far better through the written word than through any other medium.
Bottle notes notwithstanding.