Messages from the Past – Opening our Family Time Capsule

Seven years ago, this December, at a small family gathering, we buried a time capsule. Yesterday, with a suitable sense of occasion, we dug it up and opened it.

OK, it had been dug up and reburied once already when we moved here from Toowoomba 5 years ago; but the seal on the container was not disturbed until I took to it with a crosscut saw yesterday.

The capsule was meant to lie hidden for 5 years, but circumstances stretched that to 7. It contained photos, letters, written thoughts and reflections, etc. and we were naturally keen to be reminded of the way thngs were for us at that time in history.

It was a little disturbing to find about a tablespoon of water dripping out while I was cutting the lid off, not to mention a very evil smell emanating from within the tube. Christopher suggested that Opa may have slipped something nasty into the capsule without anyone noticing just before we sealed it up. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Anyway, we prized off the lid with much ceremony and pounced eagerly upon the contents…which turned out to be a stinking, sodden mess – papers, letters, a newspaper from Dec 31, 2004, a few bits and bobs – all stuck together and slowly decomposing. At some point in those 7 years – perhaps within the very first week, moisture had gathered in the dark interior of the tube and nature had begun to take its course.

Everyone pitched in and we patiently peeled apart the pages that we could and laid them out to dry all along the balcony rail. Envelopes were coaxed open; blurred, faded writing was deciphered; old fashioned money (pre-plastic) was recovered.

Putting aside the stink, and the potential for health hazard, we all had a jolly good read of the things we had written to each other and to ourselves on the last day of 2004. I gathered up all the artifacts and laid them out to continue drying in the workshop while we set about to eat dinner without the bad smell. Some antiseptic handwash came in handy as well.

Will we attempt this folly again? Everyone said yes, let’s try again. This time with moisture absorbing pellets included and plastic wrapping on each page and maybe someone else who knows what they are doing can be in charge of the burial detail this time!

Letters to ourselves

The Australian Dec 2004

The Australian Dec 31, 2004

2002 Shiraz

2002 Shiraz


~ by Garry on November 28, 2011.

One Response to “Messages from the Past – Opening our Family Time Capsule”

  1. Seems to be lots of info on time capsules on google. Maybe worth researching for the next one. It must have been fun opening this one.

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