Forgotten time capsule brings back memories for former Queen Anne students

It was a blast from the past as local retired teacher Jim Young opened a square yellow box in front of a curious crowd on June 7.

A time capsule created by a third grade class at Queen Anne School was opened by some of the same people who placed items in the box 25 years ago.

In November of 1993, Young asked his students to write letters and attach their photo to be included in a wooden time capsule box, which was to be opened on November 23, 2018.

When the school closed in 2002, Young transferred to Green Acres and took the box with him. Not much later, he retired and the box was stored in the archive room and forgotten.

By chance, it was discovered last year, but school officials didn’t have time to arrange the opening until now, said Amanda Plummer, principal.

“It’s a good thing it wasn’t buried, because no one would’ve found it,” she said.

Nobody knew anything about the time capsule, so second grade teacher Teresa Craig took on the task of trying to track down the 1993/4 class for the opening. Craig also worked at Queen Anne during that period, so the event was of particular interest to her.

Four students from the class were able to attend, including Young. They were Stephanie Russitano, Kelsey Ufford, Andrew Herz-berg, and Melissa “Missy” (Buchheit) Damkroger.

“I vaguely remember doing this, but I can’t remember what’s in there,” Russitano said. “I know I put something in there, but I don’t remember what.”

Young pried the box open with a hammer and crow bar, and pulled out the first item. It was a purple Queen Anne T-shirt. He pulled out a piece of paper and read what was on it.

“Big cloud, and the sky thundering, and I am wondering why. A poem by Alex Rauch.”

The former students took turns pulling out items and reading letters they found. Ufford found the letter she wrote 25 years ago, and read it to the spectators.

“I like art, spelling, reading, recess. I like to play basketball and pool. I like pizza and Top Ramen. My favorite sport is basketball and I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

Ufford laughed while reading her letter. She said she doesn’t like basketball, but she still likes pizza and Top Ramen, and she’s a nurse now.

Other items in the box included pencils and a coffee mug, both intended by the class to be a gift for Young; an issue of Lebanon Express newspaper; a map of Lebanon that included dots indicating where the students lived; letters and photos from each student; a math book; a troll doll, stickers, button and miniature felted koala figurine; photos taken in the classroom; a list of class rules and the school song; and a parent-student handbook.

Russitano found her letter, which listed her friends Melissa and Tommy (“My friend is Tommy. Tommy is funny.”), and a koala figurine she put in the box. She doesn’t remember writing the letter or funny Tommy, but she remembers that she loved Queen Anne.

Ufford remembered that she liked Mr. Young as a teacher.

“He was nice, patient. I don’t remember him ever getting mad at us,” she said.

Herzberg agreed. “He was very, very kind. He’s very nice. We built a catapult and a bird house.”

Or maybe it wasn’t a catapult. Ufford’s mom remembers her daughter bringing home things they made in class. She thought the “catapult” thing, made with a clothes pin, was some sort of note keeper.

Regardless, it’s clear wood work has been an important part of Young’s life. In retirement, he builds and sells furniture.

“Memories I have of Queen Anne are that it was a great place to work,” he recalled. “Total support by your administration and with all the teachers.”

The class of 93/94 was invited to keep their personal items found in the box. The other students are still being tracked down.