As time passes and carries us higher into adulthood, the specifics of childhood grow fuzzy. What remains is the feeling of being in our brown home with red doors, with my mother, father, and sister. I remember it as if I am looking into a snow globe, a static moment of my life halted in time, only the warm, vague feeling lasting.
The year 2000 brought Y2K panic, the Sydney summer Olympics, and so on. But, most importantly to me, the year 2000 caused us to create the family time capsule, to be opened in the year 2020.
At 6 years old, this was the most mind-blowing concept to me. Constantly this box would pop into my head. What had we put inside? Where will I be in the year 2020? Will my family still be in Maine? Would I be married, have kids? Travel the world?
Well, the time had come to bring back the long forgotten time capsule (to everyone except me). As my sister walked into my mother’s house carrying it, I had that familiar feeling deep in my gut, as if I were walking into the red front door of my childhood home again.
A wave of memories and a range of feelings returned. My childhood wasn’t a static snow globe scene anymore. It was living within the confines of the box. It showed what was the most important to each of the four of us, and gave us a glimpse into how we lived.
Unpacking the layers of the box, I realized that even at 6 I was writing stories, though I dotted all my i’s with stars. All of them. A storybook created in 1st grade computer class showed my wish to be in the Olympics as a gymnast, a dream held through 4th grade before dropping it and choosing a new passion. I had forgotten about this dream, and it made me think about the other dreams I felt so fervently, then let go of.
Lizz, my sister, had placed assignments from 4th grade inside, grades like 107, and 110 at the top of the tests; a high achiever for as long as I can remember with her focus on academia. This is around the time she decided her name was now Lizz instead of Liz, a rule which I still follow to this day. She had been the editor of the elementary school newspaper, Wildcats’ ROAR, which was also inside. Her tattoo choker necklace worn in the late 1990s, which is now back in style 20 years later.
My Dad threw in RiteAid and Shop’n’Save deal pamphlets, with the prices of items from the year 2000. Now, the Shop’n’Save is a Hannaford, and has been for years. If you know my Dad, you know this is the quintessential item for him to include. He still calls to let us know when avocados are on sale.
And, my Mom. As a child, she was Superwoman in my eyes, and going through this time capsule reminded me of that awe. She made sure to include the family photos, a list of our family holiday traditions, and the long list of all the activities we did as a family in 1999. From a child’s perspective, her engagement with us was normal. But, now as an adult, I see how much effort and love she and my Dad put into every 6 hour trip to Santa’s Village, all the dance lessons, gymnastics practices, drives to day camp. She was the one who put this box together, the one who kept our memories alive.
As my Mom, Lizz, and I unpacked the box, we were able to reminisce in detail about these seemingly insignificant moments. A subtle transformation took place during the process that I can’t yet express. After looking over each piece, we took photos with the items, a silly experience I was surprised Lizz agreed to do.
As we grow up, we forget the details of the years passing by. Time changed a lot for our family; my parents live in two separate homes, Lizz lives in her own place, and my husband and I are moving to a new state. But, glimpsing into our past showed me how much love lived there. Creativity, and patience, and selflessness, and family. Right in time for the holidays, I am renewed with the gratitude that I was unable to fully comprehend as a child.
I wish I could tell my 6 year old self all the wonderful, and scary, and inspiring experiences she will have. How at 26 I believe I’m right where I’m supposed to be. But, that’s for her to find out for herself.
This capsule will be packed tight again, this time in a more durable box, waiting to be opened in 10 years. I wonder what the year 2030 will look like, and how we’ll all change in the meantime.
List of items in the time capsule:
- Masquerade mask craft
- Family photos
- List of family holiday traditions
- List of family memories from 1999
- Collages made by Lizz
- NYE 2000 noise-makers
- Little Kids at Play book
- Tattoo choker necklace
- 4th grade assignments by Lizz
- Millenial Barbie figurine
- Printed storybook by Emma, created in Paint
- Drawings by Emma
- Year 2000 penny
- Fisherman’s Festival newspaper section
- RiteAid and Shop & Save deal pamphlets
- TV Guide with Elvis on the cover
- Holiday 2000 show playbill
- Aida & The Music Man playbills
- Sign held by Lizz outside the Today show in NYC
- Boothbay Register, January 2000
- Rooster Zodiak Beanie Baby
- Magazines: People, Natural Health, Newsweek, Newsweek 2000s, Biography, National Geographic
- Bumper sticker