Charter Boat Captain Mike Eller and his wife, Kathy, were not hoping to find any surprises while they renovated their new condominium in Miramar Beach one evening.
However, the couple received a pleasant one when Eller found a note hidden in an empty nook in the wall behind the doorbell chime.
"At first I thought that someone had drawn a picture of where the transformer is," Eller said. "I thought it was nice that they took the time to do that.
"We were tired after a full day of working on the condo, but when we found the time capsule it brought smiles to our faces. It made our day," he added.
Then he saw that the paper was tied with a piece of green Easter basket grass, and he knew it was something else. He opened it up and was surprised to see "time capsule" written in large letters across the top and "April 6, 1988" above that.
"I thought it was so cool, it really made our day, especially after a long day of renovating," Eller said.
The note, which identifies Heidi Dittrich as "the left handed author" of the time capsule, details the activities of the family and how her mother, Gail, was wallpapering the condo while her father, Pat, was "fooling with the doorbell."
"We, the Dittrich family with guest, (special guest) Katie Field, are having a blast in Destin, Florida," Heidi wrote. "We have been here since April 3rd and are leaving on the 10th."
To provide a little more context for future readers, Dittrich included that "Pres. Reagan is in his last term."
"It’s crazy to think that 30 years after she wrote the note while her dad was fixing the doorbell, we were here working on the doorbell," Eller said.
Eller reached out to Heidi Dittrich on Facebook, whose married name is now Heidi Smith. She messaged back a few days later and said she vaguely remembered writing the note, but forgot that she put it behind the doorbell chime where it stayed for three decades.
"I would have been a freshman in high school!" Smith said. "I was just talking to my mom and dad and they got a good chuckle out of it."
She and her family are currently living in South Bend, Indiana, and vacation at their home in Navarre Beach.
"We’re planning on meeting up with them this summer," Eller said.
He looks forward to showing her the time capsule in person.