WESTERLY — What item best captures life in Westerly in 2019?
If you think you know the answer, Town Councilor Caswell Cooke Jr. wants to hear from you. Cooke is looking for suggestions from residents on what types of things to put in a time capsule that will be buried in Wilcox Park in September as part of the town's 350th birthday celebration. Cooke is co-chairman of the subcommittee assigned to work on the time capsule by the larger committee that is organizing the 350th celebration.
A capsule buried 50 years ago in Wilcox Park when the town celebrated its 300th anniversary will be dug up and opened during a public event on June 29 at 10 a.m. Those in the know, who were around 50 years ago, have been asked to keep the capsule's contents a secret to enhance the mystery, excitement and surprise factors.
"It's going to be really cool to see what was buried 50 years ago," Cooke said.
The location of the old capsule containing "relics and records" is marked by a carved granite sign in the park. A sourwood tree planted to mark the occasion of the 300th anniversary celebration stands next to the sign.
The new capsule was built by Westerly Education Center students in collaboration with Electric Boat personnel, who serve as instructors at the center. A model of the new capsule is on display in the media room at the Westerly Library, and people who have suggestions for 2019 mementos should check it out, Cooke said. He offered one bit of guidance: in this digital era, a disc or other storage device is likely to be put in the capsule, which he said opens up the possibility that videos that could be copied to the disc.
"Unlike the other capsule, where you could only put in physical items, we could put in a lot of digital stuff," Cooke said.
The Town Council will also select an item to put in the new capsule, which will be exhumed and opened in 2069.
"The council has to decide what they will put in so that people are in awe 50 years from now," Cooke said.
Cooke said he is inclined to think that a cellphone and memorabilia commemorating the 350th birthday of the town are sure to be put in the new capsule. He guessed that the capsule that will soon be unearthed could contain musical recordings from 1969 or items that reflect the news of the day such as the first moon landing.
Councilor Karen Cioffi said she is eager to learn the contents of buried capsule. "The suspense is killing all of us to know what's in that time capsule," she said.
Here's a look at some of the ideas that have been received so far as potential items to put in the new capsule: A Westerly High School 2019 yearbook; a rubber duck from the annual Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce duck race; beach sand; an empty Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island Flying Horse Blonde Ale can; an item from the previous capsule, and both a digital and hard copy of The Sun. More than 35 suggestions had been made as of Wednesday.
Suggestions on items to put in the new time capsule can be made on paper forms available in the media room at Westerly Library or by contacting Caswell Cooke Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org