Man Finds 22-Year-Old Message in Bottle in Lake Superior

Bottle Surfaced After Massive Waves in October Storm

It’s a story of friendship made in a way that you just don’t hear about often, and a message that took more than two decades to be delivered

It all started for Charles Nelson back in October when a storm sent massive waves crashing onto the shore on Madeline Island, taking out docks and beaches in the process.

The next day on a search for driftwood, Nelson found something else.

“I found this bottle, I just thought it was garbage,” said Nelson. “I picked it up, thought it was garbage, noticed it was full of water so I drained it.”

It didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t an average bottle; there was a note something inside.

“Dear finder, I thought I’d try and see where this letter goes. My name is Emily, I’m a 15-year-old girl from Minnetonka. If anyone finds this, please write.”

“It turned out to be in perfect shape,” said Nelson. “Then I noticed the date, 1995. Where could it have been safely for the last 22 winters?  The ice heaving how could it last 22 years? The message is just like the day she wrote it.”

Then the search to write back to Emily, it wasn’t easy. Emily had moved from the address listed in the letter back in the 90’s. The search took off in a place that wasn’t even created until well after the note was written, facebook.

Once she was found, Nelson sent her a long-awaited response.

“I messaged her, I waved,” said Nelson. “She waved back, I said ‘Call me i have something of yours.”

They talked on the phone and agreed a meeting needed to happen, so Emily could get her note back.

“Back then I was probably hoping some stud high school boy would whisk me away to prom,” said Emily Colaizy.

Prom is no longer on Emily’s mind; she’s graduated college, started a career, gotten married and had her first child. All of the life she’s lived since the day she threw a bottle into the lake on an annual sailing trip near Madeline Island.

“A couple of us on these early trips thought this would be a fun idea,” said Colaizy. “To see if anything came back. That’s the piece I remember, tossing it out thinking we were so adventurous.”

Now she says the bottle is her own personal time capsule.

“Ii didn’t even have an email address; I had to put a physical address,” said Colaizy.

The timing of this response makes it all the more unexpected because after a yearly tradition of sailing trips on Madeline Island.

“Last year after 25 years, my dad decided we need to stop going due to age, family situations,” said Colaizy.

It’s as if the lake knew it was time to finally find a recipient for the message she left so long ago.

“It’s kind of like the trip that keeps on giving,” said Colaizy.

Nelson says he feels the lake was trying to tell him something too.

“If I didn’t care about the garbage I wouldn’t have picked it up,” said Nelson. “I may not have ever known. It’s like the lake was thanking me for picking it up.”

Charles and Emily plan to stay in touch, Emily also wants people to know she’s sorry for  littering in the lake, after all she was only 15.

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