|ANTIGO, Wis. - Years after casting a bottled-up note into a lake for a class project and just one year after his death, a man's childhood message has been found and returned to his mother.
Eleven years ago, a then 10-year-old Joshua Baker wrote the message nestled in an empty vanilla container, his mother, Maggie Holbrook said. He died last February following a motor vehicle accident in California. He had recently returned home after serving in the Middle East as a U.S. Marine.
"I think he was just letting us know he was OK and to keep doing what we are doing," Holbrook said.
The message surfaced in White Lake in late April, just days after the 11th anniversary of its casting. It was found by one of Baker's closest friends, Steve Lieder, of Antigo, she said. Lieder and two friends were chatting near the lake when they looked down and saw the bottle. They broke it open and found the note inside:
"My name is Josh Baker. I am 10. If you find this put it on the news. The date is 4/16/95."
They immediately took it to Holbrook, who said she is now having the note preserved and will display it in her home.
She can remember when her son wrote the message for the school project. She said she always wondered why they didn't put it in the nearby Wolf River, which has a much stronger current.
"I still remember the day he wrote it," Holbrook said. "I couldn't understand why they threw it in the lake. No one would ever see it again. Now I know."
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I love messages that come from bottles, who knows how long messages will take to get from one side of the world to the other. I should try that some day. I find it sad that he isn't around to hear about the finding of his message in the bottle but he is with us in spirit.