A message in a bottle sent out to sea more than five decades ago was found 1,500 miles away and returned to a family in New Hampshire. The long-lost message was discovered by Clint Buffington, a musician and writing teacher from Utah, who was vacationing in the Turks and Caicos. “(I found) this coke bottle half buried in the sand, looked like it had been there since the beginning of time,” Buffington said.
“On the paper, there was something written in pencil, like handwriting, it said, ‘Look inside,’” he said.
Buffington broke open the bottle and unrolled that waterlogged note.
“I could read words like ‘return’ and ‘Beachcomber,’” Buffington said.
He used those soggy words to search for the sender and the story.
The note was written by Paula Pierce’s father more than 50 years ago.
“And it just hit me, it was my father’s writing,” Pierce said. “And I was shocked.”
The long-lost message was written in 1960 by Paul Tsiatsios, then owner along with his wife Tina, of the Beachcomer Motel just off the coast of Hampton beach, before it was thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.
The note said, "Return to 419 Ocean Blvd. and receive a reward of $150 from Tina, owner of the Beachcomber."
Paula’s parents are both gone now, and the Beachcomber sold a couple years ago.
Buffington flew to New Hampshire to deliver the message in the bottle.
“This is special because it brings back a piece of him, a piece of her, a piece of my childhood, a piece of the Beachcomber,” Pierce said. “All of these things are very hard to lose.”
She insisted on living up to her father’s promise, giving Buffington the reward.
“You have to take it,” she told Buffington.
But she said the biggest reward is the message in a bottle finding its way back home.
“The significance of the message in the bottle was not lost on him. It took him to find it, and it took him to come across the country and bring it to me,” Pierce said.