Friday, December 10, 2010

10 DEC 10: If I Could Turn Back Time

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Today's post was delayed due to problems with our AT&T phone/Internet connection. We had to move to another undisclosed location. Our apologies for difficulties beyond our control.)

While Barbara Walters reflected Thursday on the "most fascinating people" of 2010 (sigh, I missed again), a group in Columbus looked back even farther. They opened memories from around 1960 - back when "high definition" referred to one of those giant-sized dictionaries at the library.

When St. Francis Hospital built a nursing school around 50 years ago, students hid a time capsule behind the building's cornerstone. The current hospital managers say they only heard rumors about it -- so apparently it was forgotten, and even two Columbus newspapers sometimes missed stories back then.

That time capsule was on display Thursday, because St. Francis Hospital is starting to tear down the nursing school as part of its expansion. President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Granger said staff members borrowed a "scope" from the operating room to check behind the cornerstone for that capsule. Hmmm - do Columbus police officers borrow it for undercover work?

So when the "big reveal" came, what was inside the time capsule? From what I saw on the evening news, there didn't seem to be a lot. There were photos of nursing students and nuns from circa 1960, along with several prayer cards they wrote. Of course, this was from a time when no one thought of bottling holy water....

Some old Columbus newspaper pages also were inside the time capsule. I saw one with "Cardinals" in the headline - but I couldn't tell if that referred to Pope John XXIII or a St. Louis baseball team.

But other 1960-era mementos seemed to be missing from the time capsule. It probably was stashed before the "Singing Nun" had the worldwide hit record "Dominique" - so WRLD-FM "Boomer 95.3" will have to find that song somewhere else.

Several other time capsules are buried around Columbus - and I hope they aren't as forgotten as the one at St. Francis Hospital was. Maybe part of my job should include regular reminders of where they are. After all, TV newscasts have to remind you every December how to prepare your car for cold weather....

One time capsule is buried at 10th Street and Front Avenue downtown -- placed there at the end of 1999, beneath the Millennium Clock Tower. Considering that clock hardly ever works, I fear the capsule wasn't weatherproofed properly.

There's talk of stashing away a new time capsule inside the walls of St. Francis Hospital, once its current expansion is finished. What sort of 2010 items should be placed inside? I've come up with a few suggestions....

+ An electronic thermometer. A patient is going to be shocked by that sooner of later, and they'll be banned for safety reasons.

+ Recordings of campaign commercials from the Columbus mayoral race. Really make things challenging for future generations, by making the recording a videocassette.

+ A typical hospital lunch. If it has enough preservatives, it might still be good to eat in 2060.

+ A copy of the current Ledger-Enquirer. Fifty years from now, people might consider the site of a printed newspaper crude and primitive.

While we're in the present and not the past, let's see what else made news Thursday....

+ The morning low in Columbus was 23 degrees F. Richards Middle School delayed the start of class one hour, because most of the building had no working heat Wednesday. A key part for the boiler arrived Thursday, after being shipped by mistake to Clearwater, Florida. Wouldn't schools south of Tampa use mirror to direct the sun for heat, anyway?

+ Savannah high school softball player Taylor Turner signed a letter of intent with Columbus State University. Turner told a reporter Columbus is only 40 miles from "the promised land" - Auburn. Talk about a slap! What does Auburn have that Columbus lacks? Well, other than an extra-large football stadium which actually is filled all season long....

(If I was the Columbus State softball coach, I wouldn't like the sound of Turner's statement. Maybe she can be traded to Chattahoochee Valley Community College for two players to be named later.)

+ The father of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton announced he'll skip the Heisman Trophy ceremony this weekend, so he doesn't spoil a "sacred moment." Huh?! What does this say about pastor Cecil Newton's church services in Newnan?

(Newton won two big awards Thursday night at a ceremony in Orlando - and Auburn head coach Gene Chizik received the prize as national coach of the year. If Chizik beats Oregon one month from today, he might go on the list of contenders to replace Urban Meyer at Florida.)

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