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Children’s Messages in a Bottle Found Three Years Later near Guam

November 21, 1990

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) _ Waiting three years for mail to be delivered might seem like a long time, but the surprise for children at Sunset Lane School was that it got anywhere at all.

A wine bottle carrying a dozen messages from teacher Angelita Woodworth’s class was set adrift in the Pacific in 1987. More than 6,000 miles later, the bottle recently washed up on a rocky beach on Saipan, an island near Guam, where Ted Gebhardt discovered it.

″It seems like the romantic type of story that you always read in those pirate-type novels,″ Gebhardt, a lawyer, said this week from his home in Saipan, the largest of the Northern Marianas.

The children, now in the sixth grade, couldn’t believe it when they received a letter from Gebhardt, along with their original notes.

″When I first found out, I was amazed,″ said 11-year-old Francis Kwang. ″I thought it would sink to the bottom of the ocean.″

Ms. Woodworth has enjoyed success in dispatching messages in bottles. A previous class’ bottle was tossed into the Atlantic Ocean near New York in 1986 and was found at Scotland within 18 months, she said.

The teacher said her pupils consider themselves much older and wiser now and were somewhat embarrassed to reread the letters they wrote as third- graders.

″One of them turned really red and said, ’How could I write such a dumb letter?‴ Ms. Woodworth said.

Twelve-year-old Brian Costales said he would have written his letter differently if he had known who would receive it.

″I would have asked for money: ’Dear lawyer, send $5,‴ he joked.

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