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Boy finds East German message in a bottle

The Local · 11 Mar 2010, 16:51

Published: 11 Mar 2010 15:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Mar 2010 16:51 GMT+01:00

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Nine-year-old Youri Marhauer was out for a walk with his mother Silke, sister Yule and her friend when he found the bottle trapped in a pile of flotsam on the banks of the Leine River this Sunday, regional daily Göttinger Tageblatt reported on Thursday.

“I wanted to pull a stick out to knock icicles from the train overpass, and that’s when I saw it,” Youri told the paper. “It was like a treasure hunt.”

The boy took the bottle home, where his father had to break it open with a hammer because it was so tightly shut. The damp and barely decipherable letter inside the old sparkling wine bottle was written on January 3, 1987 by an 11-year-old East German boy called Marko Bode.

According to his letter, Marko was looking for a new pen pal, the paper reported. And while his letter may have taken more than 20 years to reach a friend, it only travelled 42 kilometres from Marko’s village Lutter in Thuringia to the former West German state of Lower Saxony.

Youri and his family tried without success to find Bode using the telephone book and internet, but on Thursday news agency DDP tracked him down.

Now a 34-year-old engineer, Bode still lives in Lutter and has a young son of his own.

“Near my parents’ home in Lutter there is a stream – that can give a child such ideas,” he said, explaining he was inspired by postcards sent across the border from West Germany on balloons.

Story continues below…

“I found it exciting as a child not to know where the letter would land and if someone would answer,” he said.

In all Bode sent five bottles with messages down the stream, but had forgotten about them until a friend told him the news, which he said he initially thought might be an early April Fool's joke.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:02 March 11, 2010 by magdelana
It's good to hear a nice story. good luck and keep looking.
19:44 March 11, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
It's not old news to me. Thelonious Monk is old news. He's dead. Unless you've come back from the dead. In that case, congratulations. Would you mind sharing your secret with the rest of us?
22:58 March 11, 2010 by deadgoon
right away i thought of this:

"I'll send an S.O.S. to the world

I hope that someone gets my

I hope that someone gets my

I hope that someone gets my

Message in a bottle, yeah"

Excellent story!
08:53 March 12, 2010 by biker hotel harz
Sure cheered me up!
14:08 March 12, 2010 by dcgi
1. Prepare 100,000 message in a bottle bottles

2. Charter a ship out to sea

3. Systematically dump cargo over largish area

4. Wait for orders from your sea-based "ch3ap v14gr4 p1lLz" offer to come 'flooding in'

5. Profit!
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