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What is the most random thing you have ever found?
For Mona McClintick, it was a bottle that contained messages written over 30 years ago.
While walking on St. Margaret’s Beach on P.E.I.’s north shore in May 2022, McClintick and her friend Shirley Gallant found a green bottle that contained a letter.
“The bottle originated from Auburndale Senior High School in Florida as part of a marine biology course, set free about 50 miles off Tampa Bay, Gulf of Mexico, in October of 1989,” says McClintick.
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The bottle’s destination began when biology teacher Dr. Margaret Bogan’s class conducted a ‘bottle lab’ as she taught her students about the Gulf Stream. The message enclosed in the bottle asked the finders to contact the school.
McClintick and Gallant were not the first people to find the bottle, however. It was first found in the ocean in 1995 near Fort Lauderdale, Florida by George and Phyllis Diercks, who kept it for many years until they set it free last year in the Northumberland Straight.
On May 19, 2022, it bobbed to shore in P.E.I. and Islander Stephen Peters found it, messaged the school, and put it back in the ocean, only to be found by McClintick and Gallant the very next day.
They also contacted the school in Florida to tell them about discovering the bottle.
“The school was glad to hear that we still had it, wanted it back for a school display, and they posted the news on their Facebook page. It’s off on another adventure now by Canada Post to Florida,” McClintick says.
Courta Scott of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley has a random find that she says plagues her existence.
“When I was a young kid, maybe eight or nine, I was crossing a downtown street in my home city of Guelph and a coin caught my eye on the pavement,” Scott says.
“I swept down quickly to recover it from the middle of the road and when I got it home, I noticed it had a Roman figurehead and Latin letters.”
Scott says her grandfather was into coins and was an amateur collector, but he was not able to undercover any information about the coin.
“I’ve been on a million websites and cannot find the origin. To say it sparked my interest is an understatement – I even did a minor in university and studied Ancient Greek and did many translations,” says Scott.
“I’m 40 now and still no end to this mystery in sight!”
A bag of mackerel
Jo-Ann Clarke from St. John’s, N.L. recently found six tins of mackerel in a Dollarama shopping bag outside her house.
“It was hung over a fire hydrant at the end of my driveway. Weird or what?” says Clarke.
“I have not found the owner and suspect someone waiting for the bus left it there unintentionally.”
Clarke put it back where she found it, in the hopes that someone would return for it, but it stayed there for days.
“I will put it in the trash if it is still there at the end of the week,” she says.
The bag developed some legs before that happened, however. It was moved across the street from Clarke’s home last week, and on the morning of Aug. 25, appeared in front of the house next door, she says.
Whether it’s actually meant for someone in her neighbourhood and has gotten lost on its way to be delivered is still a mystery.
Bridget Tait is originally from southern Alberta, but now calls St. John’s, N.L. home.
When asked about the most random thing she has ever found, Tait can only shrug.
“What haven’t I found? I’ve always had a knack for finding things since I was little, so I’ve managed to find lots of fun things: buttons, money, jewelry, toys, knickknacks – pretty much anything and everything,” she says.
The most interesting thing Tait has found and kept is a vintage pendant, which has been estimated to date to the 1960s or 1970s.
“Funnily enough, you find a lot of things in plain sight and in the oddest places,” she says.
“For my necklace, I found it in a greenspace behind my house. It was only a couple of feet from a public path.”
If you’re interested in becoming a finder, Tait recommends starting with familiar places around you. Some suggestions to start with are under the cash register at the grocery store, outside your local convenience store, or in your own neighbourhood.
“My best friend manages to find broken porcelain wherever she goes, so there is always something for someone,” she says.
Tait does not know who the original owner of the pendant is, but “who knows – maybe they could be reading this! I currently have it safely tucked away in a jewelry box,” she says.
“As a personal value, I like returning as much as I can, especially when it comes to important items like wallets, bank cards, and sentimental items. A lot of ‘lost treasures’ turn out to be other people’s junk though, which I am unashamed to say I hold onto as quirky tchotchkes.”
Hunter Spence from Port au Choix, N.L. has found a slew of random items in his own backyard.
And finding random things runs in the family – Spence’s grandfather found a lamp while he was dragging for scallops using a dredge that was hauled along the ocean floor off the Labrador coast near L’Anse-au-Clair.
The lamp is still in Spence’s possession. It was used for quite a few years but now he says it is only used ‘once in a blue moon.’
Spence also found old religious books and a school book that belonged to his grandmother tucked inside the wall of her father’s old fishing store.
“She remembered them very well and how her and her sisters and father went to St. John’s for the first time and they got these books,” says Spence.
“Her name was written inside the cover along with a boy she had a crush on at the time, as well as a poem written by her.”
When asked why the books would be inside the walls, Spence says there was an opening at the top near a shelf and it is possible the books could have fallen off the shelf and back into the wall.
In the loft of his great-grandfather’s generator shed, Spence found some more treasures: a Bible dated 1940, a shopping list, a certificate of service from the Second World War and a life insurance paper, all of which belonged to his great-grandfather’s brothers.
The Bible, shopping list, and life insurance paper belonged to George Chambers, while the certificate of service belonged to Absalom Chambers.
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