I am finally released from the time capsule | RecordCourier.com
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I am finally released from the time capsule

by Sheila Gardner

Imagine my surprise when I turned up in a time capsule that was opened this week at C.C. Meneley Elementary School. The occasion was the 20th anniversary of the Ranchos school. Among the items tucked away were a pair of used shoes, circa 1980, and a copy of The Record-Courier with my picture in it.

At first, I thought it was a bad example of new math. Or, perhaps, my long-term memory loss was more advanced than I believed. I haven’t lived here for 20 years, have I? Wasn’t I still a member of the elite, effete eastern media in 1980?

Then, the fog lifted. The newspaper was from December 1981 and was included in a time capsule (more like a time cardboard box, I’m told) to be opened in January 2000.

The R-C reporter and photographer who covered the event approached me somewhat cautiously on their return to the office Monday. I could tell by the looks on their faces and the tone of their voices that they were holding back.

“We saw your picture in the time capsule,” they said. “You were so so “

They couldn’t finish the phrase, so I will. In December 1981, I was 33 -18 years younger than I am today. So, mates, how about “so much younger”?

When I was 33, guys like County Commission Chair Jacques Etchegoyhen and County Manager Dan Holler were fresh-faced college underclassmen. In 1981, baseball bigot John Rocker was in kindergarten, and Bill Gates was 25. My own 19-year-old college sophomore was an 18-month-old toddler.

I think this distinction (me in a time capsule) qualifies me as a semi-icon and grants me the privilege of spouting off. I’m limiting myself to a paragraph to rhapsodize about the good old days.

The Carson Valley of 1981 (for those of you who didn’t live here or weren’t born), was pre-McDonald’s. Our idea of fast food was lunch in a Basque restaurant. Highway 395 was two lanes and extremely dangerous. The only casino in town was Sharkey’s, also the location of the Valley’s only traffic light.

The county population was approximately 20,000, and the top news stories of the day were – guess what? – growth and development.

I’ve taken the liberty of rerunning the picture that appeared in the 1981 issue. It was taken first day I showed up for work in April 1981.

We couldn’t find the negative. I think I probably hired somebody to destroy it, so we scanned in the photo from the original newspaper. You see, we have our own time capsules here. You can find out what was up with the R-C and Douglas County as far back as 1900, or even earlier if library microfilm doesn’t make your head swim.

How have I changed? Well, the hair for one thing. Also, I wear my glasses almost all the time now. I’ve increased a dress size (OK, maybe two dress sizes – tops).

Had anyone predicted that I would still be here almost 20 years later, I would have told them they were delusional. But something happened to me over the last two decades. I found out that Carson Valley fits me well and I am lucky enough to have a job I love.

The secret to my success? I have managed to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am, and better looking. That makes me appear confident and I always have the opportunity to learn something.

If I am fortunate enough to be around when CCMES opens the next time capsule (in reality, a plastic Rubbermaid container), please, somebody, snap the lid back on and stash it in the attic. I think one time capsule per lifetime is plenty.