You know how it goes: you're at work, just doing your duties, when you stumble across an unlikely artifact that puts the entire world into perspective and also it turns out to be something your grandfather made. Just your average day!
For one German roofer, that's pretty much exactly how a recent workday shook out.
Peter Brandt, a 52-year-old roofer in Goslar, Germany, was recently doing some maintenance work on the town cathedral's roof, when he happened upon a literal message in an actual bottle that had been hidden there years before.
No, this is not the plot to a movie, even though it's going to sound like one, especially after this next sentence.
Brandt unrolled the message inside and instantly recognized the letterhead it was written on in 1930, and one of the signatures: that of his grandfather, Willi Brandt, who was an 18-year-old apprentice at the time.
Written on March 26, 1930, four roofers working on the cathedral wrote that "Difficult times of war lie behind us," describing the problems with inflation and unemployment that came in the aftermath of World War I. They closed with, "We hope for better times soon to come," before placing the scroll in a bottle and hiding it away in a hole in the roof that they patched over.
"It was an exciting find," Peter Brandt said, in perhaps the biggest understatement in German history. One line of the note in particular stood out to him: "We worked an entire week for 1 pound of butter and 1 bread."
"It's shocking when you think about the country we live in today and all the things we can afford now," Brandt said.
On social media, people were fascinated and moved by Brandt's story:
Heart. https://t.co/jK4J4iBsBr— Henrik Wilson (@Henrik Wilson) 1537438179.0
No. Way. 😲 https://t.co/Pl3xA98oPK— ★Dory★ (@★Dory★) 1537432385.0
This is **totally** like M.R. James's "An Episode of Cathedral History"! Only, you know, without the demon. https://t.co/7qy27htAgY— 🇺🇸Sarah🇮🇱Rachel🇬🇧Jacobs🈁️ (@🇺🇸Sarah🇮🇱Rachel🇬🇧Jacobs🈁️) 1537430009.0
wtf https://t.co/jZXEI5OnWP— Lily Katarina (@Lily Katarina) 1537429753.0
This is a pretty cool story. https://t.co/KS6ui8PRoD— Jon Niola (@Jon Niola) 1537386271.0
Wow https://t.co/d7VTbczpXT— Les (@Les) 1537434800.0
While others found valuable perspective for the way we perceive our current "troubled times":
'But with this letter from 1930, we can see that the many problems that we perceive aren’t really problems' https://t.co/PQikg5Vx1y— Liam Hogan (@Liam Hogan) 1537429725.0
Sometimes it takes a message from the past to remind us that today is truly a gift. https://t.co/JOLWIJBW3V— ArianneT (@ArianneT) 1537434241.0
Goslar's mayor, Oliver Junk, turned the letter over to the town's archives, and replaced it with a new one that the men hope a future generation will find, as Brandt did. Junk won't reveal what exactly he wrote, but said he doesn't hope for better times, as Brandt's grandfather did. Rather, "If there's still peace then and the people are doing just as well as they are today, that's enough."
Can't ask for better than that!