YO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF HOPE
On a cruise from Mexico to Hawaii in 1979, Los Angeles lawyer John Peckham and his wife, Dottie, put a note in a bottle and tossed it into the Pacific. Three years and 9000 miles later, Vietnamese refugee Nguyen Van Hoa leaned down from a tiny, crowded boat and plucked the bottle from the South China Sea — amazed to find a name and address, a dollar for postage and the promise of a reward. “It gave me hope,” said Hoa, who had escaped from a prison camp in Vietnam. Safe in a UN refugee camp in Thailand, Hoa wrote the surprised Peckhams. For two years they corresponded; Hoa married and had a son. Last year, the Peckhams agreed to sponsor the emigration of Hoa, now 31, and his family. In April, they arrived for an emotional meeting with the Peckhams — and a new life from an old bottle. As reported in McCalls, Jan, 1986,…
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