VHS, Rubik’s Cube, Johnny Carson: South Portland school parties like it’s 1992

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Small Elementary School went back to the ’90s Wednesday.

The school opened a 25-year-old time capsule that contained a cassette tape featuring singer Michael Bolton; a Rubik’s Cube; a copy of TV Guide with Johnny Carson on the cover; a troll doll, and other memorabilia.

The time capsule – a large steamer trunk – was found in a book closet with the tag “Do not open sooner than May 17, 2017.”

Andrea Powell, who coordinated the 1992 time capsule when she was a fourth-grade teacher at Small, said school staff put the trunk in a back room rather than bury it because people often don’t find buried time capsules.

“I have no idea what we put in there. I have completely forgotten,” Powell, now retired from teaching, told an assembly of students before the time capsule was opened.

Charlotte Alfrey, 8, a third-grade student, said she had never seen a TV Guide magazine or VHS tapes.

“I liked seeing the newspaper and I liked hearing the date because it was a really long time ago,” Alfrey said.

Betsy Follansbee, a K-5 literacy specialist, was the person who recently found the capsule. Follansbee was a fourth-grade student at the school when students gathered the items to be put aside.

“I have a vague memory of the time capsule,”  she said.
Other items included a baseball and baseball cards, newspapers, a book, a homework pass, a sweat band and a Small School baseball cap that featured the school’s previous mascot, which was a tiger. The school is now home to the Eagles.
The children tried to predict what would be in the capsule, but many of the items they guessed were not there, including a typewriter, a record player and Ninja Turtles.

Lucian Lerose, 8, a second-grade student, said he thought the Rubik’s Cube was “the coolest thing.”

Nick Bowie, father of fifth-grade student Jenna Bowie-Haskell, attended Small School in the ’90s, and said he remembered doing a writing assignment to put into the time capsule. At the time, each student enclosed an autobiography and two items of their choosing.

At the ceremony, Bowie said, “My head is pounding, I’m so anxious to see what is inside. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see what is inside.”

Bowie discovered he had also included a Nintendo magazine.

Also during the ceremony, Small students filled the time capsule with new items,   will be opened in 25 years, in 2042.

Included in the 2017 time capsule was a fidget spinner, photos of Willard Square, classroom photos, Pokemon cards, photos of the Earth, a grocery receipt, a different troll doll, a Little League baseball cap and a video recorder with a recording of Tuesday’s unveiling ceremony.

Each student at the school also wrote predictions of what life will be like in 2042.

“The students have been very thoughtful about what they want to put in,” Follansbee said.

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Betsy Follansbee, a K-5 literacy specialist at Small Elementary School in South Portland, tries on a school baseball cap that was in a 25-year-old time capsule opened Wednesday. Follansbee was a fourth-grade student at the school when the capsule was locked in 1992.

Small School students attend the opening Wednesday, June 14, of a “time capsule” that was “buried” 25 years ago. The trunk was opened and emptied, then filled with current items, and will not be opened again for another 25 years.

Items removed from a time capsule at Small Elementary School in South Portland will be displayed at the school library for the remainder of the year.