Two days later we took my note to the college, along with the biggest shard of glass from the bottle. One of the professors said that he could translate the note in a jiffy.
I asked if he recognized the language. He laughed when he teasingly said “there is this marvelous invention called Google Translate. It’s available through the internet. You may have heard of it.”
Of course, we’d heard of it. I had the internet at work and Noah had it at school. We just didn’t have it at home yet and neither one of us liked to spend hours on the computer so it had not been a priority.
I was old school anyway. If I didn’t know what a word meant, I looked it up in the dictionary that my dad had given me when I was 12 years old. Unfortunately, it didn’t have translations of other languages and certainly not the plethora of “new” words that have been recently coined. Still, it was my go-to source for definitions.
The professor looked at the note and asked where I got it. I told him that it was in a bottle that I found on the beach, when I was eight years old. I showed him the broken piece of my bottle and he said “this is pretty old glass and I can tell by the little bubbles inside that it was hand-blown. Hmm. Let’s have a look at the note.”
He went on to say “okay. This is in Swedish and it says ‘my name is Scarlet Rose. I live in Sweden. I am lonely. Will you be my friend’?” He said “that note traveled a long way.”
I asked if there was any way to possibly find out who wrote it. He said “there’s no town and there’s no date so I would think it would be difficult, but there are websites for this kind of thing. Who knows? You might get lucky and find something. I would guess, considering the bottle glass, that this note was written quite some time ago.”
We thanked him and as we headed home, I said “see? I was right. I don’t know how but I knew that my bottle held sadness. Some young girl or maybe even an older woman, was so lonely that she sent a message in a bottle, hoping to find a friend.”
Noah said “you know, you may never find anything out about that note.” I knew that he was right. I would keep the note and I would always treasure it but I would admit defeat. Several times I had been called “the girl with the bottle.” Now it was time for a different moniker. I would be “the girl with a purpose.”
My priority was to find out about our heritage, particularly his. I put the note away, covered with the shard of glass from its broken home and said “goodbye” to Scarlet Rose.
To start the journey of tracking our ancestors, Noah and I decided that we needed to get the internet right away. I wanted to know more about my family and as I said, I really wanted to know more about his. Although he wasn’t resistant, he seemed rather nonchalant. He had never even asked about his birth parents, even though his mom and dad had told him that if and when he was ever ready, they would tell him what they knew.
The first order of business to me, was to get as much information as we could from them. “Now is the time to ask questions.” I told Noah. “Now is the time to try to find answers.”
Noahs’ mom and dad had never shielded him from the fact that he was adopted and they had always told him that he had been selected, not rejected.
We drove to their house and told them that we wanted to talk to them about his birth parents. I was asking most of the questions but as I said, Noah wasn’t resistant. I told his mom that we had done the DNA thing and he was almost entirely Scandinavian.
She said “I guess that could be possible. He came to us through St. Mary of the Angels Convent in Ithaca, New York.”
She couldn’t offer much in the way of information, other than Noah had been born to a young girl who had been surrendered to the convent after having disgraced her family. The circumstances surrounding her surrender were never made clear and Mrs. King had made no assumptions or judgments. Whatever they were, she was forever grateful to the young girl who had given them such a wonderful gift.
They weren’t the only ones who had been given a gift. Noah had been raised by these two extraordinary people who had provided him a life filled with happiness and love.
Mr. and Mrs. King gave their blessings and offered hope that Noah and I could find what we were looking for. “Heritage is important,” his mom said. “And if we don’t know from where we came, there’s always a yearning to fill the emptiness inside.”
Noah and I arranged a few days off and were on our way to Ithaca, New York. We were cautiously optimistic but we were also prepared to accept defeat, just as I had done with finding the author of the note in my bottle.
To be continued______________