... What will our descendants think?
For the first time in some fifty years, I did not celebrate the Thanksgiving day meal and family gathering in my home. I was invited to - and gladly accepted - a chance to travel to Maine and spend the long weekend with my oldest daughter Sheila and son-in-law Cliff. For the Thanksgiving meal, we were joined by their dear friends and neighbors, Dr. Keith and Katherine Shoaps of Wilton, ME and their son, Eric. As the following story conveys, Dr. Shoaps played a part in the "making of a time capsule".
Cliff and Sheila (Driscoll) Brown are natives of Melrose, MA. They are both 1971 graduates of Melrose High School and were married on May 9, 1992. Some 20 years ago, Cliff bought 40 acres of land in Madrid, Maine, which is in the Rangeley Lakes area. Over this period of time, Cliff has made significant improvements to the property, aided greatly in the early years by his father, Aubrey Brown, . As of now, this includes a spacious three-story cabin with a large open deck and an extended breakfast nook, an over-sized garage and a well-stocked vegetable garden.
The Maine home and surrounding territory has become a gathering place for many of Cliff and Sheila's extended family and has opened up a whole new world for both adults and children. In these rural surroundings, they have been exposed to nature walks, berry and flower picking, seeing deer, moose and smaller animals, sleeping outdoors overnight in tents (in good weather), archery and target shooting, skiing, canoeing - the variety is endless.
In further reference to animals, this is also a great hunting country and Cliff has been active in this area both as a hunter and as a guide. Because of the increasing traffic to his cabin, Cliff has begun building a guest house which will accommodate both family and hunters as needed. This should be a great draw for hunters who often live in primitive conditions, eating and sleeping in poorly heated cabins or cramped trailers.
In planning for the guest house, Cliff talked of planting a time capsule in the foundation. He was intrigued with the idea that 200 or more years from now, future inhabitants would discover the buried "treasure" after the structure finally will have deteriorated.
At family gatherings, the big topic was - what should be placed in the capsule? In general, it was agreed that the items should reflect life in today's world with some reference to our own family and friends. The list of the final documents and material is shown below.
Another key element to burying a time capsule is to make sure each item or document is properly packaged and that the capsule itself will stand the test of time for perhaps hundreds of years.
As Cliff explains it, any time concrete is poured there is an opportunity to insert a time capsule in a non-load bearing area. The capsule in this case is a 6 foot piece of PVC piping, 6 inches in diameter, capped off at both ends. It was encased beneath a 24 inch deep reinforced concrete pad upon which the chimney will be built. Each item in the capsule was then sealed in its own plastic zip-lock bag. Finally, the time capsule itself was wrapped in a heavy gauge plastic sheeting and secured with duct tape.
At some future date, some of our readers may have an opportunity to create a time capsule. In the event this happens, what treasures would you bury for the world of the future to discover?
LIST OF ITEMS PLACED IN BROWN/DRISCOLL TIME CAPSULE
Summer of Year 2005
1. Maps of the world - state of Maine - Madrid - property deed
2. Irish weave quilt made by Sheila (18 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches)
3. "Who's your daddy?" Star Wars episode III poster
4. Reny's brochure (local Maine department store)
5. Manual of Nursing Diagnosis
6. American Flag - folded tri-corner
7. Maine Registered Guide master patch
8. Playboy 20th anniversary issue - January 1974
9. Photo albums of two families
10. Literature covering September 11, 2001 tragedy, including Boston
Globe, People and New Yorker magazines
11. Cliff's auto and guide licenses; his wisdom teeth; Sheila's licenses
12. Postcards of Scotland and Hawaii from Patrick and Agnes Rafferty of NYC.
13. Yankee Magazine of June 2005
14. Forget-me-not flower seeds
15. Gillette Good News razor blade
16. Melrose Mirror on-line publication articles
17. Sharpie pens (red, blue and black)
18. Lipitor medication with chemical diagram
19. Letter of greetings to the future
20. 13 oz. can of Martinson's Coffee
21. Ashley Driscoll's story about her grandmother, Barbara Driscoll
(This appeared in the June 3, 2005 edition of the Mirror)
22. June 1968 special "Our Vietnam Dead" edition of Life Magazine, in which Dr. Keith Shoaps eulogizes his brother Sgt. Kenneth Shoaps, who died in Vietnam. Ken was the recipient of the Silver and Bronze Stars for valor and the Purple Heart.
January 6, 2006