December 26, 2009

Opening the time capsule

On Christmas Eve, when my extended family was gathered at my parents' house for the usual holiday frenzy of eating and talking, we decided that in addition to all of our usual traditions, we would open a time capsule that we’d put in the basement on New Year’s Eve, 1999. School Teacher Niece said that we’d agreed to open it every ten years.

The shoebox was filled with a variety of odd personal items, including several photographs and a cassette tape of music played by my father and his friends. The kids, who were of course ten years younger, had put in all kinds of strange writings and drawings that caused screams of laughter. Red-haired Niece had included a calendar in which she had written down what she’d done every single day in 1999. “You were ahead of your time,” Urban Sophisticate Sister told her. “This was pre-facebook, but you were writing status updates.”

The shoebox did contain some more serious items that were intended to show some of the significant events of the 20th century — a computer chip encased in plastic, a Susan B. Anthony coin, a pair of contact lenses, the Diary of Anne Frank — but some of the objects seemed like strange choices. The map of Louisiana, for instance. “I think I had to do a project on Louisiana that year in school,” Boy in Black said.

"The bottle cap was mine," Blond Brother-in-law said. "I'd just gotten out of work and opened a beer."

Urban Sophisticate and I spent a long time puzzling over a pair of black shoelaces. “Who in the family would have put these in?” she asked. “And why?”

“Shoelaces were invented before the 20th century,” I said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Finally, Boy in Black pointed to the side of the shoebox that we were using for a time capsule. “It’s the same brand. I bet they were just in the shoebox.”

Urban Sophisticate laughed. “This is how archeologists get things wrong.”


hele said...

haha, to say nothing of anthropologists studying ritualized behavior of ancient north american christmas cults. very cool :)

Kyla said...

That is pretty funny!

Songbird said...


Digger said...

I agree with Hele. The joke is, when an archaeologist doesn't know what something is or why it's there, it must be a ritual object. It's a joke that's made it into publication more than a few times, though!!! Yay ritual shoelaces!

kathy a. said...

the time capsule is such an excellent idea! i think one of my kids made one about that time, but no idea where it might have gone...

Silver Creek Mom said...

NOW the shoe laces are FUNNY. I bet no one would notice something like that! We did that one year and we have the same people over ever NYE. I haven't done it in awhile I should the next time I host it.