When 7-year-old Blake Lewis threw a message in a bottle out to sea from Bush Point, his mom thought it would just float off into the sunset.
“It was totally one of those things he decided on his own,” his mom, Jessie Lewis, said.
She also didn’t know what his message said.
“He threw it out to sea and I figured we’d never hear about it again.”
Lewis and his family were visiting the Freeland home of his grandparents, Mike and Shelley Merryfield, while they were away. The family is from Maple Valley and love visiting Whidbey for a change of scenery.
He drew a picture of what might be an artistic interpretation of Whidbey Island, signed his name, placed the message in a bottle and threw it in the waves.
His mother said it was probably in a Decoy red wine bottle.
They left the beach but were later surprised to see on social media that someone had found the first grader’s message in Port Townsend.
About a week after Lewis committed his message in a bottle to the surf, Ruth Smethers was visiting the Victorian-style city with a friend when they found it lying on the sand at Glass Beach.
Ironically, Smethers is very familiar with its point of origin, some 20 miles away, having grown up in Greenbank.
Smethers, who now lives in Marysville, posted some photos to a local Facebook group, asking for help identifying “Blake,” and was shocked at the response.
More than one thousand people saw the post and multiple people tagged friends. Finally, Lewis’s mom saw the post and she and Smethers connected.
“It was just kind of fun,” Smethers said. “There’s all this crappy stuff going on in the world, and this is a feel-good thing.”
“I think what’s really fun about this story is, especially in COVID times, to be able to connect with people in this way makes it so meaningful, and makes it that much more special,” she said.
“We need that right now.”
This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.