Remember time capsules? You remember those mysterious boxes buried deep in the earth. Locking the secrets of the world inside, so that when opened, all would be revealed. The grade school me can remember how popular they were. A tin selected, filled, sealed and buried for what seemed like a billion years but was probably more like ten. While growing up I remember hearing about Disney locking movies in their vault. Pirates burying treasure. Valuable items locked away in hope chests. Sealed up for posterity and left for Dr. Jones. This fateful day with my grade 4 class huddling around a plaque placed above the time capsule. Watching the caretaker begrudgingly dig a hole in this otherwise pristine lawn. There were so many fantastic fantasies running through my grade school brain. Magical possibilities. Oh, the wonderful things that could be filling this metal box. Finally, all the secrets of the world revealed to me.
The narrow hole yawned as the caretaker pulled a….what was that? Diamonds, rubies, emeralds maybe even a golden chest…No, it was a dirty dingy metal cookie tin. Struck with waves of disappointment. I mean, really? A cookie tin was the most creative option our predecessors came up with? That seemed embarrassingly unprepared. But I was quick to judge this capsule by it’s former contents instead of the healing power still held within. So, as the caretaker handed the time capsule to my teacher, I held my breath once again. Watching her hold it tightly. Dusting the loose dirt off and rapping her fingers on the lid. My hope renewed. Hoping there would be something I could learn from these student of yesteryear. They had become the stuff of legend. As our class walked back towards our classroom. I sauntered, fabricating outcomes in my mind. Day dreaming and whispering with my friends about what could be inside.
When we arrived back a the classroom we sat in silent anticipation. This was the moment we’d been waiting for. Learning about the school as it was in the black and white photos hanging on walls on the way to the Principal’s office. The tape surrounding the seam of the timepiece cookie jar dirty and yellowed. The sound of a tin pop for the final curtain before the big reveal. What had our forefathers deigned important enough to leave behind… Um, okay, it was 5 stick figure drawings that said peace with all the people in the world holding hands. It was looking at the faces of my classmates when I realized we had all always wished the exact same thing. Thankfully, all we needed was to be friends. With everyone. That was all anyone had ever wanted. We all wanted to be hopeful. *Insert sigh and far off gaze. Our assignment that night was to pick an item we thought should go into the time capsule being buried tomorrow; only to be opened 10 years from now… There was a hole needing to be filled by new capsules. Well played teacher, well played. So, I guess the lesson I learned was: If you don’t want to have just stick figure drawings in a cookie tin, then give don’t give the time capsule as homework. Kids can’t be trusted with that stuff. You know what? Just give it to Disney.