I thinking of creating a personal time capsule to be opened when my first great-grandchild is born or one hundred years from now, whichever is first. I don’t really know why. I never met my great grandparents—heck I barely met my grandparents. They lived in Hungary while I lived in California. I met one grandmother when I was four and then I never saw her again. I have three fleeting memories of her, the most vivid one being my first sighting of her. A scarf covered her head, and I was afraid of her because I thought she was a witch. Hey, I was four. Too bad because everyone says she was a wonderful, loving woman. The other grandparents I only saw one time after that when I was eleven.
I don’t really have many memories of extended family, and I don’t set store in the importance of genealogy. In the first place, I’m not a royal and stand in no line for any throne. Second, I read an article once that anyone alive today with a European background can claim to be a direct descendent from Charlemagne. Same holds true for Julius Caesar. At some point we all have shared ancestors. Name a famous person of the far past, and I’m descended from him/her. Go back to ancient times, and I can claim Nefertiti. So really, who you are descended from makes no difference.
So why the time capsule? Well, Mark Twain has no direct descendents (although he and I are cousins very far removed through Charlemagne), but he is and will be remembered. While I would prefer to enjoy my celebrity while I live, a part of me thinks it wouldn’t be bad to be remembered after (even if I’m not around to enjoy the fruits of my accomplishments). But at least I would like my family to remember me. I can’t even tell my children stories about my grandparents (except the witch one), and my father died before they were born, so they have no memories about him either. Thus the time capsule.
Here are the items I would include in my time capsule:
- A copy of every one of my books—I’d put them on a flash drive, but who knows if they’d be able to access them. It would be worse than trying to find something today to play a Beta videotape (and if you’re young enough, you’re asking what’s a videotape.).
- Pictures of me throughout my life—this would be hard because I have a real problem with pictures of me. I don’t like to take pictures.
- My engagement ring—it’s not worth much monetarily, and I don’t wear it. Suffice it to say that graduate students don’t have a lot of money and neither Robot Guy or I think/thought going into debt for a hunk of metal and a rock was worth it. We went to Europe instead. Much better. Whatever. The ring seems to have worked.
Wait? That’s all? Hmm, having thought about a time capsule, I think I’m depressed. I don’t have many things I would want to pass down to my descendents. I have tons of books I would include, but that would no longer be a time capsule but a time storage unit. I would love to share my thoughts with them, but I don’t keep a journal (Gasp! A writer who doesn’t journal? For shame. Yeah, yeah, yeah.), so I don’t have my philosophies to pass along. I have a gazillion knickknacks around my house that all hold meaning and value to me, but really they’re kind of silly. Things have no real value to me. If I lost everything tomorrow (not people or pets), it would be inconvenient, and I’d be angry and sad, but, eh, I can collect more. Home is people not a place. (One of the many reoccurring themes in my novels.) Experiences are more important than possessions.
So I guess I’m stuck chasing after celebrity in this life again. Gotta go write some more books. What would you put in a time capsule?
Books I’m reading now.
A Dance with Dragons (I know, I know you’re sick of reading this one)
A Merchant of Venice (Ditto)