It was a real pleasure to be interviewed by two fellow travellers from the Creative Writing MFA Kingston. Sinead Keegan and Lisa Davison now run an online literary magazine open to submissions – this time based on themes from ‘Captain Swing and the Blacksmith’, which inspired them to call this edition ‘Message in a Bottle’.
Click here to read full interview:
Folk song lyrics say so much and so little as does a message found in a bottle. There are some incredibly touching stories of 1st World War soldiers sending love notes to their wives on the way to France, friendships spanning cultures and tragedies thought never to be told. I like this story below as it twists the assumption that messages in bottles are thrown into the ocean by desperate survivors of shipwrecks. In this case the finder is desperate and needs saving…
Escaping a regime
FOUND BY: Hoa Van Nguyen off the coast of Thailand, 1983
SENT BY: Dorothy and John Peckham from a cruise to Hawaii, 1979
TIME AT SEA: Four years
In 1979, during a cruise to Hawaii, Dorothy and John Peckham wrote notes and placed them inside empty champagne bottles, then threw them overboard.
They wrote asking anyone who found the message to get in contact with them, and they included a $1 bill in each to cover postage of the reply.
In 1983, the Peckhams got a response. Hoa Van Nguyen, a former soldier in the Vietnamese Army, had written them a letter saying he and his younger brother found one of the bottles while floating off the coast of Songkhla Province in Thailand in an attempt to escape the communist regime in Vietnam.
The Peckhams exchanged letters with Van Nguyen, and when Van Nguyen asked whether the couple could help his family move to the United States, they worked with US immigration to make it happen.
The families finally met in 1985 when Van Nguyen flew into Los Angeles from Thailand.