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to whoever finds this letter
associated press ^ | 7.12.03 | associated press

Posted on 07/12/2003 4:08:03 PM PDT by freepatriot32

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 11) - Almost five years to the day that Roger Clay died in a motorcycle accident, his parents got one last message from him - a sun-scorched note he had stuffed in a bottle as a child and set adrift in 1984.

A man found the bottle in a St. Petersburg canal on the Fourth of July and returned it this week to Clay's mother.

``I dread this time of year every year. It's the worst,'' Lisa Ferguson told the St. Petersburg Times for Thursday's editions. ``But now I have something wonderful to think about.''

Clay died July 10, 1998, nine days after his 21st birthday.

He had been 7 years old and on vacation when he tossed the tape-sealed Pepsi bottle into the Gulf of Mexico from a pier in Clearwater, just north of St. Petersburg.

``To whoever finds this letter please write me a letter and let me know,'' the note said in shaky pencil. The note included his address in Fairfield, Ohio, and the date: Dec. 27, 1984.

When the bottle turned up behind Don Smith's home on Tampa Bay, on the opposite side of the Pinellas County peninsula, Smith set out to find the boy. With the Times' help, he learned of Clay's death.

Smith said he was determined to find the parents. ``Imagine what that message would mean to them,'' he said.

Ferguson was tracked down on vacation in Seminole, a St. Petersburg suburb.

``Here I am, trying to escape Roger's death, and he reaches out and gives me this message, this gift,'' she said.

Clay's father, Roger K. Clay, said he had forgotten all about the bottle.

``It's kind of hard to put into words, all the emotions that brings back,'' he said. ``I told Lisa, it was like he was trying to remind us he was still with us.''

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: a; bottle; finds; in; letter; message; this; to; whoever; whomever
1 posted on 07/12/2003 4:08:04 PM PDT by freepatriot32
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2 posted on 07/12/2003 4:10:22 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: freepatriot32
3 posted on 07/12/2003 4:10:23 PM PDT by cmsgop (Has anyone seen my Schwab ?)
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To: freepatriot32
This really resonates with me.

My grandmother wrote me a note the day I graduated from high school and dropped it in the mail. The next day she was dead of a massive heart attack. I received the letter several days later.

I could still quote you the entire thing start to finish.

4 posted on 07/12/2003 4:12:38 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . there is nothing new under the sun.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Touching. Sometimes things happen and it isn't until afterwards that we seem to understand why.
5 posted on 07/12/2003 4:43:52 PM PDT by cubreporter
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