Yesterday I received a package in the mail. Enclosed was a note that read “I hope there is something fun inside.”

During my sophomore year of high school (1991), our class was tasked to put together a time capsule to be opened at our 20 year reunion. Each student could fill a manila envelope with whatever reminders we wanted, and we’d leave it at the school until the year (gulp) 2013!. I happily tossed memorabilia into the package, handed it over to my homeroom teacher, and hadn’t thought about it since.

At our reunion, someone mentioned the capsule, but we never got around to opening it. One classmate took it upon to herself to distribute the contents, and said package just arrived at my house. Again, while I remember participating in the time capsule, I have no recollection of what was inside. Without going through an exhaustive list, here are some of the highlights:

Baseball cards
I included two complete sets of the Oakland A’s lineups – Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson. At the time, my hometown had the AAA minor league affiliate to the Oakland A’s and I felt a strong connection to that team. They had gone to the World Series the last few years, and I wondered if they would end up being a similar dynasty to the Yankees of the 1920′s. The Mariners were still working on their first winning season. Canseco went on the write Juiced about the use of steroids in baseball, and McGwire went on to break the single season home run record.

I also included a rookie Ken Griffey Jr card. This is poetic in the sense that Griffey was also a home run champion without ever being linked to steroids. Also, it was perfect timing because the Mariners just inducted Griffey into the team Hall of Fame.

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation CD single
That song was hugely popular in the early 1990s. That tour was also my first major concert (I don’t count seeing the Beach Boys with my parents, and I am still upset that my parents wouldn’t let me see Bon Jovi a few years earlier). Singles at the time seemed like such a better deal. CD prices were skyrocketing and were generally one good song with lots of filler. For about the third of the price, you could get just the good song with a few extended remix versions thrown in. After the napster craze hit a few years later, and the rise of iTunes as the only music store that matters, song sales are primarily singles these days. Digital sales don’t have the cool physical cover art, though.

A couple mix tapes
I love mixed tapes. I recall spending hours, entire weekends, creating perfect mixed tapes. A bit of me died when mixed tapes became part of a bygone era, though I now get to watch shows about bygone eras on my DVR. I would like to be able to tell you how awesome it was to hear the mixed tapes that were in the time capsule. However, I don’t have a tape player anymore, so I can’t listen to them. This is one of the challenges of a time capsule – technological innovation.

Pieces of flair from the Goodwill games in Seattle
While never coming close to achieving the level of importance of the Olympics, the Goodwill games are inspired by the same vein – international competition leading to international camaraderie and peace. In 1990, Seattle hosted the goodwill games. I was working at Cheney stadium, the home of Tacoma’s AAA baseball time (I cooked french fries). Baseball was part of the Goodwill games, so I was able to watch a dozen or so of the games and collected numerous pins and medallions. Two things about those games really stood out. The first was that the USSR (yes, the USSR) fielded a baseball time for the first time in their history, and they were really bad. When they played the US, a soviet player got picked off of second base. Also, rumor had it that soviet players kept defecting and they had a hard time fielding a team. I could confirm that fact, but rumors are always interesting. The second thing I remember is that those Cubans could really play some baseball. I think the rosters of many MLB teams today confirm that fact.

It was fun to look at that capsule, and remember what the world was like 20 some odd years ago. Life was not all peachy for me then, but everything I placed in that capsule made me smile. The things that bothered me that, don’t bother me anymore. The things that I liked then, still make me happy today. I think I may try something like that with my family today.