Saturday, June 22, 2013

Text message in a bottle

Matilda "Tillie" Esper (b. 1893) and her friend Selina J. Pramstaller (b. 1898) were enjoying June 30, 1915, at Tashmoo Park, a popular amusement park on Harsens Island in Michigan. At one point during the day, they penciled the message “Having a good time at Tashmoo,” placed it inside a corked bottle, and tossed it from the ferry into the waters of the St. Clair River. Instead of riding the waves, the bottle sank to the riverbed only to be discovered nearly a century later by David Leander, owner of Great Lakes Divecenter in Shelby Township. With the help of the local historical society, a fellow diver, and a little publicity about the discovery, Leander traced the descendents of one of the notewriters. “I couldn’t believe it. A part of me said, ‘There’s the old-school way of doing a text message.’ I thought it was pretty impressive,” said Tillie's 59-year-old grandson Eric Schiebold about the serendipitous look into the teenage life of their grandmother, who died in 1984. Tillie's granddaughter Janet Baccanari, 46, commented, “It’s like she came back to life. It’s exciting stuff....It just gave me goose bumps.

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