My science nerd experience from last weekend…

Last Saturday was a work day for me. As I was running around Laurelville, I noticed a green balloon caught in the shrubs outside one of our buildings. At first, I thought that it simply had escaped from the birthday party that we were hosting nearby. But as I got closer I saw a tag attached to the ribbon…

Could it be a “message-in-a-bottle” balloon? Yes!

When I was in elementary school, my class launched balloons with messages attached. My memory is that my balloon was rather wimpy and hardly cleared the school roof. I never heard back from anyone who found it. Scarred for life.

But here was a balloon with a message for me to answer. Based on the contact email on the tag, it was launched by a second-grade class in the Nordonia School District. But where in the world is that? I hadn’t a clue. Back to the office for internet research! Science nerd in overdrive!

It didn’t take much effort to find Ledgeview Elementary in the Nordonia Hills City School District. Ledgeview is in Macedonia, a suburb of Cleveland. Google Earth helped me determine that the balloon had traveled 133 miles – more or less along the turnpike, but without the tolls and phantom road construction. Based on distance and typical wind speed, I’m guessing that they launched the balloons on Friday.

The balloon path
This is the direct path from Ledgeview Elementary in Macedonia, OH, to Laurelville. 133 miles.

Well – how cool is that! So I wrote a letter to the class to share my end of the story. Ordinary Spouse snapped a picture of Middle and Youngest Daughters and me with the balloon, and I wrote about some things I liked: hikes, reading, tapioca pudding (echoing the ‘likes’ that one student had written on the back of the balloon tag: sports, games, steak).

The balloon at Laurelville
The balloon at Laurelville

Saturday afternoon, I emailed my letter to the teachers, and on Sunday I heard back from one of them. She told me about what the classes were studying and sent me pictures of the second graders launching their balloons earlier in the week.

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I’m still hoping to hear back from another teacher (whose student who launched the balloon I found). And try to follow this: Tonight I received a message on Facebook from an old acquaintance whose good friend from Goshen College (my alma mater) has a son in the class that launched the balloons.

(And that, dear friends, is how we play the Mennonite game.)

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