Floating in from Illinois

Balloon message shows up in town

By Barb McKay


There is a mystery waiting to be solved on Boiler Beach.



Dave and Linda Hodgins hold a message that was found in a balloon on Boiler Beach. The balloon made its way from Lake Forest, Illinois, and was found by Linda's sister Deb Richardson and husband Gerry when they were strolling on the beach. (Barb McKay photo)



Two weekends ago a couple visiting from New Hamburg, Deb and Gerry Richardson, took a stroll down the beach to take in the sunset. On the way back, a flash of bright green caught Deb’s eye. It was a deflated balloon with a plastic bag attached. Inside the bag was a note.


“Please read me,” the note said. “This piece of paper was attached to my balloon that I released at our neighbourhood balloon launch on September 14, 2013 in Lake Forest, Illinois. After you read this, please take a picture of this piece of paper with your phone and email it to me, or mail it to me so I can see how far it went.”


Deb Richardson said it was lucky to find the balloon because it was stuck in a bunch of reeds in an area of the beach that likely doesn’t see much traffic. She emailed a photo of the note to the girl, named Sara Reynolds, but has not received a response yet.


“We sure hope to hear from her,” she said.


The Richardsons were visiting Deb’s sister Linda Hodgins and her husband Dave, who live on Boiler Beach Road. They too are intrigued by the discovery.


“It’s a phenomenal distance,” Dave said. “It’s the other side of Lake Michigan.”


The Independent contacted the Lake Forest School District and was told the note could have come from a Grade 5 student there, but was unable to confirm it by press time.


On an interesting note, a similar discovery was made in Kincardine 30 years ago. In late March 1984, Krista Graham found a helium balloon in her backyard on Penetangore Row. The balloon contained a note stating that it had been released two days earlier from Geo. W. Lieb School in Bridgeview, Illinois as part of an ecology day project.