Janesville30.6°

Time capsule gives students a glimpse into the past

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 1, 2010
— Caleb Kostechka doesn’t like lima beans, nerds or chores.

Of course, that was 1989, when Kostechka was an 11-year-old fifth-grader at St. Andrew Parish School, so it’s possible his tastes have changed.


On Friday, students at St. Andrew opened a time capsule sealed since 1989.


If that doesn’t seem like very long ago, consider:


Caleb Kostechka is now a popular high school teacher in Eugene, Ore.


In 1989, the new Kmart in Delavan was a big deal.


We paid money for washed-out clothing, and nobody had any musical taste at all.


Surprisingly, the time capsule was more about people than things: short personal essays, brief glimpses of dreams for the future and prayers for others.


For the Rev. Jim Schuerman, parish and school priest, the reflections, wishes and prayers were the time capsule’s most precious elements.


“It was the personal touch that was important,” he said.


The 1989 kindergarten class contributed a block of wood and a note explaining that the students’ favorite “block of time” was “free play.”


The second-grade entry was a construction paper mitten representing “nearly $70” the class raised for mittens for the Delevan homeless shelter.


“Right now, 14 families live in the homeless shelter,” they wrote. “We pray to the Lord to meet their needs.”


The fourth-grade students wrote of their dreams for the future.


Jessie Seuser, 7, and her sister Maddy, 9, read their father’s entry with interest.


In 1989, little Jamie Seuser—who probably didn’t even like girls yet—wrote, “When I get out of grade school, I want to skate board really good.”


It was the fifth-grade contribution, however, that caused the most embarrassed grins among the adults.


The fifth-graders listed the year’s cultural highlights and local news in a winding scroll around a large piece of green construction paper.


“Michael Jackson was popular for a while, but George Michaels has taken over,” they noted.


The rock group Heart was also popular, as were stonewashed jeans.


“There are plans for a dog racing track in Delavan now that some forms of gambling are legal in Wisconsin,” the fifth-graders wrote.


Helen Bourgeois, 12, a seventh-grade student, said she liked the cultural references best. She plans to include some of her favorites in the time capsule the school was preparing for 2030.


She likes the Jonas Brothers but acknowledged future generations might wonder, “Who were they?”


“It’ll be really cool if people can to see what we liked,” Bourgeois said. “They might be, like, ‘what were they thinking?’”


---


In 1989, Caleb Kostechka and his fellow fourth-graders all wrote descriptions of themselves and what they liked and disliked.
Caleb, now a high school teacher in Eugene, Ore., contributed this entry:

Caleb Kostechka


I am 11 years old.


I live with Patty (Mom) Greg (Dad) Carrie, Claire (Sisters) Casey (Brother) Gretel (Cat) Wicket (Rabbit).


ME


I like --- I don’t like


1. eating pizza --- 1. lima beans


2. reading books & magazines --- 2. math class


3. playing video games --- 3. green beans


4. drawing --- 4. a clean room


5. playing with Anders & Josh Bliss. --- 5. squash


6. sports --- 6. nerds


7. parties --- 7. tomatoes


8. listening to the stereo --- 8. seaweed


9. watching comedy movie --- 9. dust


10. my teacher Mrs. S. & St. A’s --- 10. chores.


At the bottom of the page, written in colored marker and next to a drawing of a cartoon bomb, is this message:

THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT


It hasn’t.

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