South Shore Breaker

If I could save time in a bottle

- VERNON OICKLE vernonoick­ @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

I recently saw an interestin­g exhibit about a 137-year-old time capsule that was discovered several years ago at the Old Normal College in Truro. The municipal and provincial heritage building is the home for the town's library.

Sealed up in 1877, much of the capsule's contents had been destroyed by the passage of time and water seepage. However, some old newspaper clippings from that era were still legible, as were a few old coins.

I wondered what it would be like 100 years from now if future generation­s opened a time capsule from our modern world. Wouldn't it be fun to hear the comments from those who would be opening the capsule?

So, now I'm planning my own time capsule that I hope won't be opened for at least 100 years. These are the things I'm going to put in it.

As I'm sure our descendant­s will be able to access historical material from large data banks stored on super computers that will likely fit in the palm of their hands, my time capsule must contain more personal things. So, this is what I would include.

An actual newspaper, preferably one that includes something I've written, but a real newspaper nonetheles­s because chances are that in 100 years, real newspapers won't exist. Instead, the news will be dispensed through some sort of electronic gadget, one that will probably be no bigger than a fingernail.

Additional­ly, I'd include a real book because those may not exist 100 years from now, except in museums. It will have to be an important book, however, and I haven't yet decided what it will be, but I'll only have room for one and must choose carefully.

I think I'd also throw in some currency and coins as there's a pretty good chance that a century from now, all our financial transactio­ns will be done electronic­ally and there will be no need for real money. Heck, that's happening right now.

I think stamps are also likely to go the way of the dodo bird as we rely more and more on digital communicat­ions, so I'll include a sample of those as well. Certainly, I'll put in several different ones from Canada, but maybe also a few from other countries just for good measure.

I also think it would be fun to include a toy — but not some electronic gadget. They should be simple toys such as a truck and doll because, if current trends are any indication, it's very likely that such hands-on toys that require a child to have an imaginatio­n may no longer exist in the future.

In that same vein, I'd also include a Monopoly board game because that never grows old, even with the popularity of video games.

I think I'll put in a rock, a seashell and some sand from the coast of Nova Scotia as it exists today because, if global warming continues, chances are good that the coastline will be someplace else farther inland a century from where it exists now.

It might also be a good idea to include a map of

Nova Scotia, as a century from now, there's a good chance most of the province could be under water.

And as a good Nova Scotian, I'll also include a bottle of Alexander Keith's beer because of its historical relevance to the province as well as a bottle of the Captain, which is the choice drink of many Bluenosers.

I think I'll ask someone prominent to write a message from the past to the future. I'm still deciding on whom I should ask to make such a contributi­on, but I am sure it will be someone who can write something inspiratio­nal and convey our hopes for the future and express our regrets for the mistakes we've made.

I think I'd also include a cellphone so that future generation­s can have a hands-on experience with the device that literally destroyed the art of face-to-face communicat­ion.

And finally, because I'm sure whoever opens my time capsule will wonder just who the heck I was, I will also include a personal journal with details about myself and some thoughts about our lives in this era.

But honestly, despite all the material things one could place in a time capsule, I think the most important thing we could pass on to future generation­s is the message that they must learn lessons from us. They must study our mistakes and successes and understand where we went wrong so they don't go down the same road — or at least that's the view from here.

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