I remember reading an article in 1999 about a local family planning a big New Year’s Eve party where they were going to open a time capsule that had been filled and sealed by their ancestors in 1900. I never saw a follow up on what was in the time capsule (a wooden fruit box coated with wax) but I imagine there were family pictures, descriptions of life in 1900 and predictions of what the future would bring along with some items common to turn of the twentieth century America.
What a great thing to do. I’d really like to do that and even though I might not be around to see the opening of any time capsule I would send one hundred years into the future maybe the family will be thrilled to open a box from our time. I can just see the oldest family member solemnly breaking the seal and opening the capsule to find a letter from our family in 2013 addressed to our family in 2100.
Hello from 2013…and then I came to the end of what I was going to say.
What am I going to say anyway? “What’s up? Hey, how’s it going? Did they ever make those flying cars like the ones displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair that were never built?” Anything I would write is going to sound a lot like what would have been in the 1900 time capsule where they would have talked about the wireless (radio) and talking machines (Victrolas) and aeroplanes. It seems so strange to think about trying to speak to them and they’re my relatives but then what would the family have in common other than having family in common?
I received an invitation a couple of years ago to attend a 50th year eighth grade class reunion. The letter said, we should get together and catch up. Catch up? “Well let’s see, after eighth grade I entered puberty and went to high school and then I got a job and then I retired. So how about you, what in the world have you been up to?” And that was with people I had actually known fifty years ago. What do I say to people who won’t be born for another fifty or sixty years?
I did some research on family time capsules and found that some families build time capsules which they open in five years. Five years? In five years I’ll still be wearing the same shirt I’ll have on in the family picture. I want the hundred year box— I want the “look at that car, can you believe those shoes, what a hairdo, that old house was demolished in 2057 for a vegan restaurant, and, wow, I’m about as fat as my great-great-grandfather”, box.
I guess I’ll just do the same thing they did in 1900, put in some family pictures (with a guide to who’s who), some commentary on what the family is doing in 2013, some pictures to give our descendents a view of life in our world and add some common items from 2013 (baseball schedules, menus, football tickets, coins, stamps, lottery tickets, etc.). I was thinking I might throw in a couple of Subway gift cards but who knows how much a $5 Footlong will be in 2100?
What I really hope is that is that love and pride of family will be the things that we have in common. I’m very proud of my family and believe that the love will shine through and if it does they will see it and will toast our memories. Then maybe they’ll take some of our pictures and mementos and information and greetings and love from 2013 and pass them on in their own time capsule to our family of 2200.
It’s too bad that I’ll probably be gone, I really would like to know how those flying cars are working out.