Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Message in a Bottle Written by American 5th Grader in 1997 Found in France: Here’s What It Said

Message in a Bottle Written by American 5th Grader in 1997 Found in France: Here’s What It Said

A fisherman in France found a message in a bottle that was thrown into the vast Atlantic Ocean nearly three decades ago for a school project. According to Oak Ridge School staff, the letter was penned in 1997 by a 5th-grade student from Sandwich, Massachusetts. However, the student wasn’t looking for a pen pal. It was part of a science project on ocean currents.

“We got an inter-office envelope that was addressed to this student, Ben, and the Secretaries were looking for him everywhere,” Assistant Principal Brandy Clifford told NBC Boston. “They could not find this fifth grader.”

However, only when the envelope was opened did they truly grasp the identity of Ben and the significance of what they had in their hands. “They felt like they found a treasure when they saw a letter from this gentleman from France. This letter was dated in 1997,” Clifford said.

“He said, where did you find the bottle? What are the conditions of the bottle?” Clifford explained, reading Ben’s old letter. “If you could, please fill out the questions and return. Thank you. Ben.”

The Message in a Bottle was Found in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France

Remarkably, Hubert Eriau, a 71-year-old fisherman, discovered the bottle. The response from Eriau, directed towards Lyons, was only recently received by Oak Ridge School, which is also a part of Sandwich’s public school district. Based on Eriau’s reply, which was written in French, the bottle was discovered on the shores of Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. “He said that he was walking around the beach, cleaning the beach, and he found the bottle and it was sealed tight with wax… and he had a really hard time opening it,” Clifford explained.

NBC Boston managed to locate Ben Lyons, even though he was out of state. Unfortunately, his family mentioned that he couldn’t provide any comments on the story due to his professional obligations. However, Lyons did release a statement. “It’s great the kids can learn about the oceans and currents from this,” he wrote. “Showing what a small world it actually is. We’ve had fun reading the different articles and the interest this has generated.”

However, the saga doesn’t end there. Regarding the future plans, the staff at Oak Ridge School expressed their intention to continue the correspondence with Eriau. Of course, they’ll start by composing a reply to Eriau in France. They plan to express their gratitude for his considerate response, ensuring the continuation of this thoughtful exchange.