Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Time Capsule


I took a peek at the past the other day and caught a glimpse of the future. While going through boxes of Christmas ornaments, I noticed a gold tin can sitting in the corner of one of the boxes with a tag that said, “Do not open until January 1, 2010.”

Then it dawned on me that in the waning moments of the 20th century we had asked our New Years’ Eve guests to participate in putting together a Ten Year Time Capsule to celebrate the new millennium. Each couple was asked to answer questions about their current status – ranging from their interest in music to movies to television shows. We also asked them what they thought was the most modern convenience they owned.

On the next page we asked them to look into the future and asked them questions about what they thought they would be doing and where they would be in ten years.

It was all prefaced with a look back at the year 1990 and an up-to-minute review of 1999. To help give them perspective we listed some of the news events from the year 1990: George H. Bush was President; East and West Germany were united; Nelson Mandela was freed; Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigned; the cost of a first class stamp was 25 cents; the Cincinnati Reds defeated Oakland in the World Series; two new television shows debuted – “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld;” the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and the world mourned the passing of Jim Henson, Greta Garbo and Sammy Davis, Jr.

As we gathered round with our glasses of champagne that December night in 1999, we looked back on the events of the closing year: Bill Clinton was President; George W. Bush had emerged as a front-runner in the next Presidential race; two Columbine students had killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves; Nelson Mandela was succeeded as President of South Africa; President Boris Yeltsin had resigned; the cost of a first class stamp was 33 cents; the New York Yankees defeated Atlanta in the World Series; two new television shows debuted – “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and “Greed;” the Hubble Space Telescope was repaired and the world had mourned the passing of Joe DiMaggio, Payne Stewart, the Lone Ranger and John-John.

It was the year Prince had been singing about since 1982 and now it was time to party as if it truly was 1999. It was the year of Pok√©mon, dot.coms and “Living la Vida Loca.”

It was also the year of a little thing called Y2K. Why indeed?

The world had yet to be fully exposed to anthrax, the Euro, Hurricane Katrina, Barack Obama, iTunes, and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

And 9/11 was still just another September day.

Included in our time capsule was a Polaroid picture of just the two of us. Oddly enough there was no mention of who else was in attendance. But memory tells me there were several neighbors from the house we moved away from several years later. There were also friends both new and old.

We closed our time capsules with best wishes for the coming year and the hope that “when the New Year dawns in 2010, we’ll once again toast our friendship as we look back and cherish the past ten years.”

As it turns out, we probably won’t be sharing New Year’s Eve with any of the people that we welcomed in the new century. Distance, time and other commitments will preclude us from sharing our answers, laughing at our predictions or looking back at dreams either realized or vanished.

My wife, Becky, had scribbled down one word in answer to the question: “What wish do you have for yourself?” Her response was “Peace.”

To all our friends, both past and present, we share that sentiment and trust you find happiness in your own little time capsule we call life.

Happy New Year!