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The Treasure Of The Lost Time Capsule

Carolina Quirk  - December 17th, 2007 

Introduction By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk

This is a special page about a fellow member of IndyGear's Club Obi-Wan recovering a genuine treasure left by one of his relatives and it captures a special moment for a family, and it's a privilege to host a version of this story here on The Fedora Chronicles.

A short while ago I posted a thread on several forums including Club Obi-Wan asking folks to contribute pictures and stories about their relatives who lived during The Golden Era, (a sometimes not so golden - but the period of time during The Jazz Age of the 1920's, Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II and through out the truly great years after the end of that war, from 1945 to the early 1950 's.) I received a great response from more then 20 different people on 5 different forums. Since then I've been creating place-holders for many of the pages we'll be building over time. The Tribute Pages Project (as it's known to be called) took a back seat to the holidays and people are slowly coming back now that we're into our second or third week of the new year.

Last week I got an message from one of the other members of COW asking me if the next tribute page could be made from a thread in The Scrap Book section of Club Obi-Wan, as a special favor to him. He said that it was almost exactly what I was looking for, and he was moved by the story "Carolina Quirk" tells.

The Anonymous messenger was right, it was what I was looking for.... and I sent a special request to "Carolina Quirk" asking him if we could create a page as a tribute to his Grandfather and the story about how he recovered a time capsule that had been placed in a section of a fire place 70 years ago.

There's something very magical (albeit sentential) about this story. "Carolina Quirk" gets it right, though, Those who lived during The Golden Era and would later be called The Greatest Generation were very special people, and those who are still with us are.

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Recently my grandmother (on my mother’s side), a wonderful woman passed away peacefully at the age of 97. Our family had been planning to visit her at her home in St. Louis over Christmas since this summer, and we decided that we would go to her home as planned and help with finalizing matters and to have a memorial service.

Among all this, my mother told me and my brother that in the late 1950s or early 1960s her father and next door neighbor had buried a time capsule in their backyard under their brick barbeque. It was my grandmother’s wish that after she passed that the capsule be dug up. The barbeque has long since fallen into disuse and is very overgrown, so it should be a bit of a challenge. Adding to this is the fact that no one is quite sure if it was buried directly under, or to the side of the structure.

So with a spirit of suburban adventure I will don my gear and head out to the backyard in a week with my brother to find and unearth the time capsule. I will fully document it and what (if anything) we recover. Our family had been planning to visit her at her home in St. Louis over Christmas since this summer, and we decided that we would go to her home as planned and help with finalizing matters and to have a memorial service.

Wednesday December 26, 2007

Upon arriving at the house, Joel (my brother) and I surveyed our project. Over 60 years of growth, dirt and debris surrounded the brick structure.

But with a lot of hard work, a combination of entrenching tools, saws and hatchets removed most of the offending growth.

The Hard Part...

Now onto the hard part – finding the time capsule.

More investigation revealed that two stories existed about where the capsule had been buried. One theory was that it was in the right wing, the other on the left. After almost leveling the right wing we realized that yes, we'd been digging in the wrong place! Not three layers of brick into the left wing we heard a *clink* and we stopped dead in our tracks. Could this be it? After gently removing the last covering stone, we saw a faint glimmer

And there it is! Then Fully revealed and awaiting removal!

The Faint Glimmer


My mom holding the bottle that is older then she is!

Mom with bottle.

As soon as we got the bottle inside we set it upright and debated on what we should do.

During that time it seems that the small amount of condensation that had snuck through the cork and had frozen to the side of the bottle had now thawed and was seeping into the paper! With no other course of action available, we covered the bottle in a towel and smashed it with a ball peen hammer.

When we unrolled the sheet, this is what we saw:

This fireplace foundation was laid May 21st, nineteen forty-eight, through the combined efforts of Mr. A.A. Hoffstetter (my grandfather), C.W. O'Gorman, Pat Thias, Larry Valli, 17 bottles of beer & the contents of this container. We hope this fireplace lasts til we're dead 'n gone, so we are leaving this note for posterity.

At this date, the Cardinals are first, the Browns 4th, steak costs $1.00 a pound, Russia, Labor and Women are hard to get along with, skirts are 6 inches below the knee; and we're proud that 3 families on Greentree Lane already have television sets.

To say the least this was overwhelming. To have this piece of family history in our hands was tremendous. Our whole family felt that we had come full circle, and done something that would have made our late grandparents proud.

Since we had done a bit of "smash and grab" archaeology to get to it, we thought it would be fitting to get the fireplace back to its original form one more time:

The Fire Place One More Time

In St. Louis, you can't have an outdoor fire without the King of Beers!

My Aldens drying out - I thought this was a neat shot:

Aldens Drying Out!

In all this has been a memorable trip. Both for the memory of family members no longer with us, and the fun that our present family did have. And now I share this story with my extended family - all you Gearheads!


After the December 26th post, many members of The Indy Gear community posted their response. "Carolina Quirk" added on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008.

Guys, thank you so much for all the kind comments - I and my family appreciate it greatly, and I'm glad I was able to share it all with you. One last picture - this is my grandfather at Yellowstone National Park in 1938!

I have always loved the era my grandparents lived in - they saw so much and so many eras - from the 1910's until just recently. They had so many photo books of them in the late 30's and early 40's, it was a learning experience to see the clothes they wore, the places they went, and the adventures they had.

My grandmother joked that she felt sorry for my brother and I because we had, "a lot more history to have to learn then when I was growing up."

I look back at my grandparents, the pictures of them when they were my age, and what part they played in the Great American Experience, and I have to say that I feel privileged to carry on their legacy, and in a small way, my Gear honors their tradition, and the time they grew up in.

I know before the house is sold our family will once again return to Greentree Lane in St. Louis, and I will bring a bottle with a photocopy of the original piece of paper, and a new one with our family's story. That may be some time from now, but when it happens, I'll chronicle that.

Many thanks to you all, and God Bless,

Carolina Quirk