IBERVILLE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - It’s an idea that started in 2018 involving some paper, colored pencils, and a grandmother.
"It was my mom's idea originally. She wanted to do something with the girls that they would remember from their childhood," said Kaitlin Daigle, who lives in Iberville Parish in Louisiana.
Those girls are two sisters: Kinslee, 11, and Aniston, 7.
“She asked, ‘Do you guys want to do a message in a bottle?’ and I said, ‘Yeah,’” said Kinslee.
So in October of 2018, the duo put pencil to paper.
"We put our names and our age and told them if you find it, they had my grandma's number and where she lived," said Kinslee.
Then, a family member who works on a tugboat dropped the bottle in the Mississippi River.
“We asked her to drop it off in one of the highest points that they go to in the Mississippi, so they dropped it off in Illinois,” said Daigle.
It was a great idea, but no one expected much with the Mississippi River being so high, assuming it would just get caught in a tree or some mud. The fall turned into winter, to spring, and even to summer. Then, on July 27, nearly 400 miles from where the bottle was dropped, in a very secluded spot along the river in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, it happened.
“We were just playing around climbing on trees and stuff and he called me over and he found that,” said Carson French, 9.
"I was just climbing trees and I looked back and it was laying down," said Warren French, 7.
Two brothers, Carson and Warren French, found the message in a bottle.
“Hi, my name is Kinslee. I am 10-years-old. Aniston is my sister. She is 6-years-old. We live in south Louisiana,” Carson read the letter out loud.
"We were really excited," said Warren.
The young girls from Iberville Parish, specifically Bayou Sorrel, asked in the letter that anyone who find it write them back. So the brothers did.
"When the little boys found it, me and my sister were so happy because we thought nobody would find it," said Kinslee.
A year after it all started, the four pen pals are still drawing pictures, writing letters, and even sending gifts to each other. In fact, they even sent the brothers “Swamp Life” t-shirts. But now, everyone wants more than just letters and gifts.
“I want to see them, like, I want to meet them,” said Kinslee.
The French family is scheduled to make a trip down to the Daigles in summer of 2020.
"When we go there, I want to see a crocodile," said Warren.
"I want to go fishing with them," said Kinslee.
"I'm looking forward to going fishing on their boat, catching fish and crawfish," said Warren. "They call it crawfish. We call it crawdads."
It started as a grandmother wanting to make a special memory, and now, the sisters say it’s one they will cherish forever.
"If I do have kids, I want to share this and see if I can do the exact same thing with my children," said Kinslee.
It’s proof that no distance, even more than 600 miles between the four children, can separate a true friendship.