AP/The Huffington Post
BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. -- A long-lost message in a bottle has resurfaced 35 years after a Vermont boy sent it off in a favorite swimming hole.
The glass bottle with a note was found recently near the Bellows Falls dam by 14-year-old Justin Shepard. It was missing its cork, but there was still enough information inside it to track down the writer, Sean Keown (COW'-un).
Years ago, Keown and a pal had shipped bottles containing notes down the White River in Rochester, about 75 miles away.
"This is where we grew up and this was one of our favorite swimming holes right down here," Keown told WCAX-TV.
Keown, who has a three-year-old daughter, said he never imagined that he would ever see that piece of his childhood again.
"I hadn't thought about it in years [and] I had no idea that I would get it back," he said.
But 35 years later, his message in a bottle was found and the teen who discovered it was determined to reunite it with its writer.
Shepard said he found the uncorked bottle as he was exploring the area beneath the Bellows Falls dam with his dad. The note found inside was wet but not illegible.
According to WCAX-TV, the teenager used Google to find the contact details of the original author and soon after sent a copy of the note to Keown.
"I was so excited I actually called my parents," Keown said, who reached out to Shepard to offer his gratitude.
"I got his phone call and he said he'd been waiting 35 years for someone to find it," said Shepard.
The old note promised a reward for the bottle's finder.
Keown said that since he had been in elementary school at the time, he had been thinking of a candy bar or soda as a possible reward. Now, however, he thinks it will be cash instead.