It is amazing what a couch can reveal after years. The many coins that got lost, maybe an earring or two, a TV remote and, who knows, maybe a letter predicting the future.
Peter Beckerton, 67, discovered a letter written in 1969, containing a schoolgirl's uncannily accurate predictions for the future. While he was refurbishing a piece of old furniture for a client, he discovered the letter down the back of the sofa.
The letter dated back to February 23, 1969. It was written by an 11-year-old girl imagining the state of the world in 1980.
The 11-year-old correctly predicts a huge shift in technology, including the forecast of the Zoom revolution.
The girl went on describing her husband's return home from work. She wrote; "'Hello dear,' he said to me. 'I've just got to ring up my friend on the telephone'. 'Well, you'd better tidy yourself up a bit,' I said. In 1969 the telephone was a square box thing with a resiver [sic] on top of it. But now it is still a resiver [sic], but you can see the people you are talking to, for there is a screen where you can see the people. It is a bit like a television."
Peter's wife Rosa, 66, decided to make the it public in case the author is still alive. The author who would now be aged around 62.
"When my husband showed it to me I couldn't believe it," said Rosa. "I thought, oh my god, look at this. It was just so interesting, because looking at it today she's got a lot of her predictions kind of right – but in her childish innocent way she thought it would all happen in ten years. I just wanted to share it in the hopes that maybe the author might see it and recognise it. My husband has found all sorts of rubbish down the side of sofas and furniture before – but never anything as interesting as this."
The letter does, however, not have a name of the girl, but comes with a teacher's corrections and comments in red pen.
The letter started with; "The year is 1980, the time is half-past moon dust. Here I am twenty-one years of age, sitting in a cushion of air. I remember when I was 11-years-old and I was at school, things have changed since then. For instance, the television has changed. In 1969 it was a square box with knobs in front of it. Now it is a big screen with knobs on your chair arm to switch it on and off."
The schoolgirl imagines in her letter that, by 1980, she would be married and a bank worker.
The girl imagined a whole new way of preparing dinner in the future. She wrote; "All we have is a piece of chewing gum to eat. You may think that we have not enough to eat but you are wrong, because this piece of chewing gum is food. You chew this gum and you can feel the food going down. You can also taste it. There is no messy washing-up to do afterwards."
With technology evolving, the girl imagined that the doors of their home are "electric" and operated by press buttons.
After a while, the girl finishes her letter by writing; "Really, when I think back over those ten years, things have changed tremendously."