Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The 20 Year Time Capsule

Several weeks ago, Shawn came in from my parents' barn with a huge smile on his face, carrying a large plastic bin. "You'll never believe what I just found!", he says, wiping at the dust covering the top of the bin.

Would you believe, it's a real, live "Time Capsule" that I sealed up about 20-plus years ago?

Funny thing is, I remember very well the day I put that box together. I remember wondering who would find it waaaay out in the year 2010? My kids? Grandkids? Okay, so obviously I wasn't an A+ math student - most people don't normally have grandkids at 34 years old...but anyways, that's what I was daydreaming about that day.
One of the first things I said when I saw it was, "Wow! That's good blog material right there." After actually going through it, though, and winding up in tears, I debated whether or not to actually write about it. But, here it is - consider it cheap therapy for me. I'm putting it out there. So, read if you want, but if you're looking for all laughs and good times, skip this post.
Here I am, going in:

First thing I went for, of course, was the "Private Notebook - KEEP OUT!"
That scary tiger on the cover couldn't keep me away.
I mean, come on, with this much security, you KNOW there's gonna be some juicy stuff inside!

A very serious warning, along with some "names for my kid" (guess I thought I'd just have girls...?):

Okay, in my defense, I didn't make that cheeseball statement up. I'm pretty sure I copied it from somewhere. Now, I realize that just the fact that I thought it awesome enough to copy makes me pretty dorky, too. But whatever.
I turned a few pages and saw this, and the tears started flowing:

Oh, man. Do I remember THAT feeling? Seems like that's the feeling that followed me through most of my childhood years. That "left out" feeling. So when I turned to this page and read these words in my own goofy-looking, 13-year-old handwriting, I couldn't stop the tears. I sat there on the living room floor, hovering over the "time capsule" box, clutching this little journal, and crying. Each time I looked at those 4 sentences, the pain washed over me again. And I could see myself, curled up inside my musky sleeping bag - feeling lonely, homesick, ugly, and just plain "left out". Ugh.

All I could think was how badly I wished I could go back in time and give myself a hug and tell "me" that everything's going to be okay. Why does teenage-hood have to be so darn hard?
At the end of the book was this quirky little paragraph:

Here's the next little treasure I uncovered in the box:
(I'm sure I thought it would be worth MILLIONS by 2010...but ebay thinks it's worth about $3.32 these days.)

Garbage Pail Kids. Anyone remember those?

The "Beaumont Middle School Parent/Student Handbook", because that would be of maximum importance to my 34 year old self, I was just sure of it!
An ice-scraper I made in shop class. Because, you know, we might have a real ice-scraper shortage come 2010.

The "Garfield Mini Note Book", AKA: the keeper of all my most dorkiest secrets.

Just the facts:

Let the nerdy, 9 year old girl-ness begin:

Ryan Roberts, if you are reading this, number one: sorry I spelled your name wrong, and number two: yeah, so apparently I "loved" you when I was 9 years old. The secret's out, I guess!
Also, I love that someone found this and wrote "HA HA YOU LIAR", classic!

Oooh, sorry Chris E. and Scott R., you were just "O.K."!
And to those I "hated", sorry, I know hate is a really strong word.

"Great" and "O.K." singers (wow, makes me feel OLD):

Proof I wasn't allowed to watch MTV - I didn't know what any of the singers actually looked like, so how could I have listed any "cute" ones?

Swimsuit from a Tropical Barbie.
Because, you know, I was pretty sure there would be a shortage of those in 2010, also...

Wouldn't want to leave Tropical Ken and his coordinating swim shorts out:
Another diary.
I didn't realize this was actually the diary I was writing in the day I came home from school to find that our neighbor had committed suicide in our living room.

"Dear Diary,
I found out that my neighbor died about a half hour ago (right when I got home). Her daughter (Sara) just got home and I don't know how her dad Ron is going to tell her. I am so sad. When I came home Ron was sitting with my mom talking. When he left, my mom and dad told me. POOR SARA!"
Ugh. Reading that was like a punch in the stomach. Knocked the air out of my lungs. I must not have known the whole story yet, not realized just how personal this was - that Karen had shot herself, in our living room, just hours before.
The next entry was after I knew the whole story. I describe Karen's funeral and memorial party as "beautiful" and "lovely".
What's funny, though, was the next entry. Starts serious - "Sara and Ron came over for dinner". Okay. Then I go on about how excited I am that I've got 26 bucks and I'm going to get another cabbage patch kid!!! Oh, then back to serious, I guess I felt the need to clarify that I don't usually say words like "lovely" or "beautiful" but I had to in the previous journal entry because that was the only way to express my feelings. Oh, then back to the cabbage patch kids! Yay cabbage patch kids!!!
What the heck?! Sigh. I was an oddball, that's all I can make of it.
The tears came again when I read those 3 pages. Took me right back in time, and once again I just wanted to go back and hug that heartbroken girl.
Random book - I remember I really liked this book. But I'm not sure what made it so "time-capsule worthy"?

A picture of my 2 turtles - Sunny and Herman.

Five dollars, shredded.

A handful of old max tickets.

My sister used to make me these "awards" for staying upstairs alone (I was afraid of being upstairs alone).
"Congragulations Marlene. You stayed upstairs alone almost 2 min."
Almost 2 minutes! Woo hoo!

A cast of my buck teeth before braces - ew.
(Insert creepy horror film music here)

"Your Psychic Calendar for the year 1988"
I think I got this from that Church of Elvis thing in downtown Portland.

Brass Plum pin - to pin on your shirt if you are so cool.

A class assignment where I had to describe myself in a negative way - then take those same things and turn them into positives.
Yup, cried some more.

"The Portland Paper"

We're talking high-quality material here:

Some well-written articles, top notch reporting and legendary artwork found inside:
Dear PETA: I'm pretty sure the dog in the following story was never actually "beaten up".

And that was the bottom of the box, folks. It was quite the journey - and if you're still there, thanks for sticking it out with me.
Posted by Picasa


Melissa said...

Funny and sad.
I can't believe how many memories that brought back.
Sissy and Nannette!
I can still smell that scratch and sniff sticker that was on your award. :)
The award winning Portland Paper.
Ryan Roberts (I'm pretty sure that Peter Roberts was on my *Love* List)
I still want to see it all in person.
thanks for sharing.

Elisha said...

Marlene I just love your blog. I love how transparent you are. My parents have moved now twice since the house we grew up in and I found things like this...old diary (looks almost just like yours!)and an autobiography at the age of 12. It is so awesome to see ourselves with a bit more age and wisdom isn't it? I too wish I could go back and talk to the insecure me and give some perspective. But I guess that is where our children come in. We remember how it was to be little and we get to help them. Thanks for sharing I always love to read what you have to say!

lori lls said...

What a tremendous post, Marlene. Seriously. It is riotously funny and then heart-wrenchingly familiar. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. You are a strong woman to face the hard parts of your time capsule. A lot of people wouldn't dare, but then maybe they would miss out on some of the healing that comes from honest reflection.


Eric 'n Leah said...

Mars, I'm a little slow in reading blogs right now....
But I love this blog! I was obsessed with time capsules too, but there was no way I could ever leave mine alone. I'd rip them open two weeks after "sealing" it for ten years. Obviously I needed to work on patience a bit...
Thanks for posting this, it's great on so many levels.

lori lls said...

I have to say that I have thought numerous times over the weeks about this post.

It is seriously one of the best ones I've read in forever.

Napkin's Family said...

I'm sure Danny Caffal and Ryan Roberts were on my list too. But Chris Erickson was at the top of my list from 1983 to 1987. Ryan Zagalow was alright and Scott Ries was probably the nicest but was unfortunately seen as a nerd. I remember playing with those Barbies and their swimsuits in Turtle Paridise in the back yard. It makes one wonder what the barbies have been wearing all this time, what with their swimsuits in the time capsule?