When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandmother in Corpus Christi pretty much every summer. I would spend a couple of weeks at her house, and I got to meet all of her church and bridge-playing friends. You know, pretty much every kid’s dream, right? Actually, her friends were always so intently interested in me that it was fun for the most part. One of them, Leon Braskamp, used to take me swimming at the pool at Del Mar College. Even then, he struck me as very serious, but he treated me like a king.
Once, when I took a trip with my grandmother to the bank and to the (then) newly constructed City Hall, I saw something that I haven’t ever forgotten. It was a time capsule embedded in the floor. I don’t recall the year that it was going to be opened, but I do remember thinking that it was a long time (probably 50 years or more).
Since that day, time capsules have always been intriguing to me. One such time capsule exists in my mother’s house. It’s a toy chest that my kids still like to play with, unless they are distracted by video games. It contains toys from my own childhood. Steve Austin, famous as the Six Million Dollar Man, is there, along with his space capsule. Interestingly, the capsule seems more like a cylindrical coffin when I think about it now. How in the heck did he go to the bathroom, anyway? Bionically, that’s how.
Also, there is an “Animal” puppet from the Muppet Show. That was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I wanted to be a ventriloquist for a season, then I realized how lame that was. There’s a baseball glove from when I was six years old, along with my Star Wars action figures (probably worth some money these days, even though C3PO is missing a leg).
So, back to time capsules. I know that if I had created one in high school, it would include at least one pair of parachute pants, along with an R.E.M. or Def Leppard album (or Springsteen), a bottle of Obsession cologne, and a wine cooler. Sadly, those items would define a lot about my teenage years.
If you had an opportunity to create a time capsule today, what would you put in there?
I have an easy answer for this one, because I am creating it right now:
My writing about my family and current experiences will serve as the finest time capsule that I can imagine for future generations.
It’s weird to think that someday, one of my descendants might utter this phrase, “My great-grandfather was an early-era blogger. Here are his archives.”
I am a bibliophile (I love books), and when I was in college, I worked in the library during my freshman year in Special Collections. This is a special library science term meaning “REALLY Old Books that No One Can Check Out”. I used to enjoy spending time alone in that room, with all of those old dusty volumes. In my mind’s eye, I can see my kids delving into my time capsule, reading funny stories about their youth, and understanding my love for them in an even deeper way.
Now you understand why I write about myself and my family. I am documenting our history.