PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – At first glance, the green plastic ginger ale bottle on the beach looked just like another of the billions of pieces of debris splayed across Northeast coastlines after Superstorm Sandy.
But this bottle, which would fetch a nickel at the recycling center, is worth everything to a grieving mother who knew instantly from the silly adolescent message inside that it had come from her daughter, who died in 2010: “Be excellent to yourself, dude!”
Sidonie Fery, then 10, wrote a message on a scrap of paper, tucked it in a bottle and launched it into the waters off Long Island a dozen years ago. It was long forgotten until workers cleaning up after Sandy in the village of Patchogue discovered it and called Sidonie’s mom, Mimi.
“I was just sobbing when I heard they had found it,” Mimi Fery said. “These are very, very kind people.”
This weekend, Fery will return to the seaside village about 60 miles east of Manhattan where she will again thank the workers and attend a ceremony where a small plaque will be dedicated as a remembrance to Sidonie, village officials said. The 18-year-old died in a 2010 fall from a cliff in Switzerland while attending boarding school.
Fery described her only child as a creative youngster, who was always writing poetry. She knew instantly when told what the message contained that it had been written by Sidonie because it was a quote from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the girl’s favorite film.
Fery also takes a second meaning from the message, one not to worry about Sidonie.
“Be excellent to yourself, dude,” Fery said, quoting the message. “It makes so much sense.”