Those Were the Good Old Days

Remember the Fonz? Planet of the Apes comic books? The Bicentennial?

How would you like to stand around listening to fifth graders refer to 1977 as “a long, long time ago,” as they sat waiting for a time capsule from that faraway time to be unearthed?

In a move calculated to make anyone over the age of 25 feel ancient, Seaside Elementary school in Torrance last week reunited some of the fourth and fifth graders of 1977 to help dig up the capsule they buried eight years ago.

“This does make you feel your years,” fifth-grade teacher Barbara Braun said ruefully. “You always think of a time capsule as something that will be dug up in a hundred years or so. But the kids back then decided they would dig up theirs when they graduated from high school, so here we are.”


Indeed, about 20 high school seniors stood on the school’s baseball field, near home plate, anxiously waiting to view the treasures they buried as children.

Speculation was rampant among the current fifth graders as to what those treasures would be.

“I think there’s gonna be a bra in there,” 11-year-old Garland Lym said with typical fifth-grade aplomb.

“It’s going to be all rusty, full of worms and junk, all messed up ‘cause it was buried such a long time ago,” Christine Welker, 11, said.


Alas, the capsule, when finally unearthed, looked rather ordinary. No bras. No worms.

Instead, dented and rusting, the red, white and blue canister spewed forth crayoned self-portraits of the 1977 fifth graders, ink prints of tiny hands, signed class rosters, letters, pictures of teachers and other memorabilia.

Memories flooded back to the teen-agers as they reclaimed their long-buried possessions.

Paul Vollucci, 18, recalled the class heart throb after seeing her signature on his old room roster.


Jack Freeman, 17, studied his prize--a genuine Fonzie “Sit on It,” button.

Danielle Warren, 17, retrieved a genuine glow-in-the-dark McDonald’s Hamburglar wrist band with a pop-up cover where milk money could be stored.

“God, I loved these things as a little kid,” Warren said.

Laura McPherson, 18, stared at the now-empty capsule.


“You know, I remember it as being so huge,” she said of the two-foot-long canister. “It just seemed enormous. In fact, the whole school seemed bigger. Now it all seems so tiny.”