Message in a bottle returned after 55 years and 1,400 miles

It's been more than 50 years since Paula Pierce's parents bought the Beachcomber Motel on Hampton Beach, N.H.

But thanks to one man, stories from the 1960s are back in Pierce's life.

"We were really close and I spent a lot of years working that motel," she said.

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Shortly after Pierce's parents, Paul and Tina Tsiatsios, bought the motel, Pierce's father launched a message in a bottle into the ocean, and only told Paula's husband, Mark, about it.

"I kept it close to my heart, and I kept my mouth shut," Mark said.

The bottle was forgotten after so many years, but in 2011 it washed ashore on the Caribbean Island of Turks and Caicos, where it was found by Clint Buffington, a man from Utah who was on vacation.

Buffington decoded the message. Five years later he was able to connect with Pierce and return the message.

"I kind of didn't know what to say, I just held it very gently and looked at it," Pierce said. "How did it end up back in my hands?"

Buffington traveled by plane, train, and bus to return it in person.

"He didn't want to mail it, he didn't want to FedEx it, didn't want to UPS it; he felt this was too special," Pierce said. "He said, 'I just can't mail it, I have to put this in your hands, I have to put this in your hands.' And that's what he did."

ExploreRead more on Buffington's blog: Message in a Bottle Hunter

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