The bottle that the historian Isidre Clopas threw into the sea 73 years ago returns home

This is the story of a small jar with a message inside that has squared the circle, a round trip. The origin and the end are located in Martorell, but in between there has been a journey of half a century that makes the story extraordinary, because this small container that contained documents, cards and photographs of a person, a village and d for a time, it floated in the Mediterranean Sea for half a century.

A boat that, on the salt water, resisted all the attacks: the comings and goings of the waves; sea ​​currents; the rocks; the cold; the heat; the sun; the storms; the salt; the fish… and so day after day, a week, a season, a year, until he is over fifty, when he is rescued by a swimmer on the Costa Brava, in Tossa.

A chance find that could have ended in nothing. The swimmer might have decided to ignore it, or perhaps treat it as waste and throw it in the first trash, or leave it bogged down on some shelf or drawer in the house until the passage of time had turned it into a andromina. But that was not the case: luckily, he fell into good hands

The sea of ​​Tossa, where the bottle appeared (Photo: Tossa de Mar City Council)

of a person with an interest in history, who took the piece home, who carefully stored it for more than a decade, and who left it as an inheritance to his descendants when he died. And here is the last casual filter that allows for a happy ending to the story: the pot’s heiress daughter thought there was a family owner to whom the old document needed to be returned.

This is an absolutely real story. The promoter is Isidre Clopas i Batlle, from Martorell born in 1913. Historian, chronicler, museum curator and passionate about local heritage. On January 12, 1948, he planned to put personal and Martorell documents in a jar and release them at some indefinite point on the coast. Now, 73 years later, these contents have returned, almost intact, to the hands of their descendants. One of his daughters, Assumpta Clopas, explains how it was:

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

The daughter of the swimmer -a native of Terrassa, and who has wished to remain anonymous-, informed Assumpta that she had a jar with some well-screwed papers inside, referring to Isidre, the Museum and Martorell. He told her that the boat had been found by his father while he was swimming, on an undisclosed date, around 2000. He rescued him to the shore and took him home, stored him among his belongings and , when he died in 2011, he bequeathed it to his daughter, who has returned it from where it had sprung.

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

Isidre Clopas threw the boat into the sea and stayed there until the turn of the century, more than fifty years later. A sample of the extraordinary resistance of the small container that, originally, contained a well-known medicine of the time. Surely the oldest in the house will remember him: the Cerebrino Mandri. “A kind of paracetamol from then on, which my grandmother used to take,” explains Assumpta.

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

Inside the jar, well screwed, were photographs, cards, and fascicles. For example, a photo of Isidre Clopas himself that included several stamps.

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas
Isidre Clopas (Photo Archive of the Frederic Marès Museum)

There was also a business card, with the coat of arms of Martorell, the name and surname of Isidre and the position of curator of the Municipal Museum. And added by hand and in black ink, a text reminder he wrote on the day the story begins, on January 12, 1948.

Another document found is a booklet with the history of Martorell, which talks about the place name, its Roman and medieval past and two heritage elements such as the church of Santa Margarida and the Devil’s Bridge. And finally, a program of Festa Major in the mid-40s with two illustrations: a drawing by Jaume Amat and an engraving of the Devil’s Bridge. All well bound with a string and with a message.

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

The unexpected return of this pot has brought to the Assumpta and the rest of the family the memory of Isidre’s work in local heritage and history. A man who spent many hours in his hobby, apart from working at Vicenç Ros’s flour mill and as a high school teacher. Thus, he was curator of the Museu de Martorell since 1945, councilor for culture in the late 1950s, curator of the Museu de l’Enrajolada from 1966 or even an academic of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi.

And not only that, but a chronicler and writer of numerous essays on history and heritage, referring to places such as the Devil’s Bridge, the parish church or the Capuchins; to characters such as Francesc Pujols, Josep Palet and Lluís de Requesens, and to local themes on toponymy, the history of photography, cinema or ceramics.

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

Things of fate, Isidre Clopas died in 2001. If not long ago, almost at the same time as the swimmer found his boat in Tossa and a secret was revealed that Isidre had kept. At no point had he spoken to the family, who speculated on three hypotheses as to why he did it: “Perhaps because he was happy to publish Martorell’s Historical Notes and it was a way of saying that he had succeeded; perhaps because he was very happy with the recent inauguration of the Municipal Museum; or because we were told that some historians of the time had the custom of throwing ephemeris or significant facts into the sea. Maybe he’s not the only one who’s done it. “

Assumpta Clopas, filla d'Isidre Clopas

Who knows how many bottles are floating in the seas around the world, waiting for one day to find them like a needle in a barn. Isidre Clopas’s has been lucky and has returned almost intact after 50 years living at sea and 22 in drawers and shelves. Now, the Clopas will keep it as a small treasure, so that it lasts for many years, and so that it is perpetuated as a beautiful real story, which will be told to future generations. The message in a bottle that survived half a century, small and insignificant, in the immensity of the blue giant.


Source: Web de notícies de l'Ajuntament de Martorell by martorelldigital.cat.

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