Message sender thrilled with Milton find

Wilkins: Brings back great memories of time at Prime Hook
August 29, 2020

Stacey Wilkins did not expect her message to be found. 

She and her friend Cathy Isaacs sent a message in a bottle in 1985 that they hoped would connect with someone overseas. The message was found 35 years later in the Broadkill River Aug. 8 by kayaker Brad Wachsmuth. 

“It’s exciting and crazy that someone found it,” Wilkins said. 

“Back in the day, we’d heard of people having pen pals in other countries,” she said. “I always wanted one to write back and forth with.”

Wilkins, then Stacey Wells, and Isaacs agreed that it was a good idea to try, but when they got no response, she figured the message had sunk and was lost. 

Wilkins said they wrote the message at the Prime Hook Beach cottage owned by the man she affectionately knew as Pop-Pop, her grandfather, John Howard Isaacs.

Isaacs, who died in 2002,  was a farmer with canning businesses in Milton and Georgetown. Wilkins said she remembers playing around a sandbar in front of the cottage.

One day, she said, she was building a sandcastle and found what she thought was a quarter, until she was informed that it was actually a token from Pop-Pop’s cannery.

“I still have that token,” she said. “That place always has a special place in my heart.”

She said she was surprised the message was found in the Broadkill, north of Prime Hook. Wilkins said she thought it had gone to sea, but storms must have pushed it back and it got stuck where Wachsmuth found it. She said she wasn’t sure if it was a beer or root beer bottle, or if they used a stopper or cork to plug it up. 

Wilkins, who now lives in Houston - between Milford and Harrington - said she first heard her message was found when her son texted her about it. From there, family and friends began texting and calling her. 

Wachsmuth handed the bottle and the message to the Milton Historical Society. Alonna Berry, acting director of the society, said they are working on a plan for the message and the bottle. Wilkins said she would be thrilled to see the message again.

“It brings up memories,” she said. 

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