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Working On A Cathedral, Roofer Finds His Grandfather's Message In A Bottle

Sep 22, 2018
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A note written in March of 1930 said, difficult times of war lie behind us. We hope for better times soon to come. Poor roofers who worked on a cathedral in Goslar, Germany, left that note in a glass bottle, stashed it in the roof and patched it over. Eighty-eight years later, a roofer named Peter Brandt was working on that same roof and found the bottle. He knew one of the names on that note, Willi Brandt - his grandfather, not the former leader of Germany. Peter Brandt used to work with his grandfather and eventually took over the family business.

The Washington Post reports Peter Brandt has memorized a line from his grandfather's 1930 note. (Reading) We worked an entire week for one pound of butter and one bread.

Every day, we're discussing the many problems we have as a city, says Peter Brandt, but with this letter from 1930, we can see that the many problems that we perceive aren't really problems. The note is now in the town archives, and a copy in the bottle has been returned to the cathedral roof. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.