50-year-old message-in-a-bottle found next to wear it was thrown

Nadine Kalinauskas

In the summer of 1963, then-12-year-old Dennis Komsa vacationed with his family on the Jersey Shore. With the help of his father, Komsa wrote a note, put it in a glass jar, and tossed it into the Atlantic Ocean.

Superstorm Sandy washed up the Ball mason jar 50 years later, just two-tenths of a mile from where Komsa first threw it.

Last October, Norman Stanton, 53, was combing through storm debris at his sister's home in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, when he found the jar.

"It looked like it was meant to be found," Stanton told the Asbury Park Press.

Stanton told CBS 2 he believes the bottle may have been stuck underneath the boardwalk for decades.

"The jar was very emotionally uplifting to me. I was very sore and tired from working all the time," Sharon Roher, Stanton's sister, told NBC News.

[ Related: Irish boy visits Quebec after finding message in a bottle ]

Inside was a note, a 1958 nickel and an envelope with a return address. The note, written in all capital letters, read:

"To whom it may concern, Please fill out the following questions and mail. This is a scientific experiment by Dennis Komsa, age 12."

The note asked a series of questions: Where was the jar found? When was it found? How was it found? Anything else which might help me?

The nickel was intended to pay for a stamp.

[ Related: Nova Scotia man’s message in a bottle washes ashore 28 years later ]

On Saturday, Stanton, Roher and Komsa met at a luncheon to celebrate the 100th birthday of Seaside Heights.

"It's great that somebody from that period is coming back to visit us to recover something he did with his father on vacation," said Arthur Fierro, president of the Property Owners Association in Seaside Heights.

Stanton and Roher gave Komsa his jar back.

Komsa, now 61 and living in Hillsborough, New Jersey, is choosing to see the 50-year-old mason jar as a symbol of hope for the storm-ravaged area.

"If I can throw this bottle and believe it will come back, or I’d get it back, then Seaside can come back and will be as good or better," Komsa said.

"Things happen for a reason," he told the Asbury Park Press. "I guess it's good it came to shore. It shows anything is possible."

Komsa's message in a bottle wasn't the first to be uncovered by Sandy. The storm also washed up a 12-year-old message in a ginger-ale bottle. The young girl who wrote the note died in 2010. The message was returned to her grieving — and very thankful — mother.