Bottle return: Friends reconnect 15 years after launching message from Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — Nearly 15 years ago, four little girls from Yarmouth wrote a message, put it in a thick green bottle, threw it into the ocean and hoped for a response.

After a few years, the girls moved away from Maine, grew up and forgot about their message – until last week, when they learned that 8-year-old twin girls and their little sister found the bottle on the beach in Cohasset, Mass.

The message inside said “Dear Somebody, We live in Maine. We want to know if you want to be are pen pal. Are addriss is 7 Royall Pt. Road, Yarmoth, Maine.”

Linda Bolster, the Massachusetts girls’ day-care provider, said the sisters who found the bottle – twins Annabel and Kyra DeGroat and their 5-year-old sister, Bridgit – wanted to answer the note that was signed “Laura, Pearce, Sara and Paige.”

That’s when she called her local newspaper, and The Forecaster.

After reading in The Forecaster last week about the bottle, Yarmouth high school senior Miriam Thompson called the newspaper and said her older sisters, Pearce and Paige, were two of the girls who wrote the letter. She said Laura and Sara Kayeum were the other two girls.

She would have been about 4 when the girls wrote the letter, Thompson said.

“Pearce is going to be so excited to hear about this,” she said. “This is such a great story.”

When Pearce was contacted last Friday in New York City, she said the memory of those days made her really happy.

“That story couldn’t have come at a better time,” she said. “It has been really stressful in New York, and this memory brought some light to my day.”

Thompson, 22, now lives in New York with her sister Paige, who is 20. Pearce is a senior at Parsons New School for Design and is earning a degree in design and management.  She said she remembers throwing many bottles with messages into the ocean with the hope of reaching far-away places. 

“To think it has been in the ocean for all those years,” she said. “I never, ever thought it would get that far.”

Susan Kayeum, mother of Laura and Sara, said the story brought back many fond memories of living in Maine.

“It reminded me of how creative and imaginative the girls were at that age,” she said. “They had so much fun as a group.”

Laura Kayeum, one of the authors of the message, said she and Pearce were best friends when they were young. She said they met in kindergarten and were inseparable through third grade. Then, Laura’s family moved to West Hartford, Conn. She said they kept in touch for a while, but eventually drifted apart.

“Hearing about that time of my life and reliving my childhood has been really fascinating,” she said. “It has been so nice to reconnect with Pearce, and interesting to see how memory works. At first I didn’t remember much, but bits and pieces have been coming back as I think about it.”

Kayeum, now 21, is a senior at Colby College and an international studies major.

“Reliving this story has been a welcome break from the stresses of senior year and searching for jobs,” she said. “I can remember Sara was always tagging along with us, and we were such a close group of friends.”

She said it is interesting that the girls who found the bottle are about the same age as she and her friends were when they sent the letter nearly 15 years ago. She said she wrote a letter to the sisters in Cohasett, and hopes they can be pen pals for a while.

“I told them what I used to do at their age and asked them what they like to do,” Kayeum said. “I told them how fun it is to have sisters and how we used to play all the time. I hope they write back.”

In Cohasset, Bolster said the DeGroat girls sent the original message back to the Kayuems. Susan Kayeum said when she receives it she may frame it and the articles for the girls.

“This story is about a time of such nice, pure innocence,” Kayuem said. “It’s uplifting.”

Bolster said a few days ago she helped the DeGroat girls write a new letter to put in the bottle. They wrote a story, and included the time, date, address and names of all the children on it, she said.

“We put the note into the same bottle and threw it off the Cunningham Bridge,” Bolster said. “There is such a strong current, we watched it float out into the ocean.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at781-3661 ext. 110 or

Sidebar Elements

After finding a message in a bottle that was sent from Yarmouth, 5-year-old Brigit DeGroat and her friend Taylor Lunt prepare to send a new message out to sea in Cohasset, Mass.