Kerrisdale Elementary School recently opened a time capsule from 1969. Several former students, including Anne Walmsley (nee Hunt), who was featured in a story in The Province on June 14, 1969, were in attendance during an assembly on June 26, 2019.
Jason Payne / PNG
On June 26, 1969, Grade 7 students at Kerrisdale Elementary School placed a time capsule in the schoolyard for students of 2019.Wednesday, they came back to their old school to reveal what was inside to a new generation.There were period pieces like a Woodward’s See-Tab notebook and a Wa-Di-Co “Canada Set of “students mathematical instruments,” a tiny green water pistol and a softball.There were 1969 coins and stamps, 1969 newspapers and magazines, and 1969 letters from Vancouver Mayor Tom Campbell, B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett and Canada’s prime minister, Pierre Trudeau.But the coolest items by far were letters that the 13-year-old students wrote to their future selves.
Kerrisdale Elementary school recently opened a time capsule (pictured) from 1969.
Jason Payne /
“I think by 2019 there will be space cars and man will have reached Uranus,” said a letter with no name. “Unless something changes life as we know it will not exist. Most of us will die from … ”The letter ends there, so we can only speculate what was to have caused our mass extermination. But a guess would be nuclear war — even Trudeau refers to the threat of “nuclear catastrophe” in his letter.That said, the unveiling was a fun event. Kerrisdale’s current Grade 7s were assembled up front into a choir that sang 1960s standards like Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game and The Guess Who’s Share the Land, and students read some of the 50-year-old letters, which was quite poignant.
One of the artifacts in the 1969 time capsule at Kerrisdale Elemetary School was a Canada Set of Students Mathematical Instruments.
Anne Walmsley was amazed.“It went way beyond my expectations,” said Walmsley, who helped to put together the original time capsule. “I thought we might be huddled under umbrellas, digging (the time capsule) out in the rain. I just thought we would have a little reunion with people and off we’d go.”In fact, the capsule had been encased in cement, so it was dug up before the event.“I watched it being revealed,” said Clay Zhou-Raides, 11. “There were cranes and diggers. It’s interesting to see all the letters from children who used to come here.”Rebecca Silver had never heard of some of the songs that she was singing before Wednesday, but got into it: “Why not songs from the 1960s? That’s what today was all about.”
Several former students, including Valerie Wymark (left) were in attendance during an assembly Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
Jason Payne /
The 11-year-old thought the time capsule was “cool,” but was a bit put off by some of the stuff.“In some of the magazines there were ads that were very sexist,” she said. “And there were letters (that said), ‘I’m going to grow up and I’m going to be a housewife’ and things like that. Things have changed.”Walmsley’s letter wasn’t read out. But it was optimistic.“I was going to make sure that I helped my fellow man,” she recounted with a smile. “I was going to be a nurse or a social worker, and I had names for I believe five children picked out. I’m not sure whether I thought I was having that many or I just wanted a big choice.”As it turned out she became a realtor with a “great husband and wonderful son” in North Delta. And she’s retained her optimism.
A letter from Lori in the 1969 time capsule at Kerrisdale Elementary School.
But back to those letters. A girl named Lori saw herself as a retired vet “living in a small white farmhouse in the countryside with my husband and numerous pets,” including two alligators, George and Alisa.Ricky Cleland also saw himself living “far away from civilization” on a farm with some friends. He was “depending” on making a living as a “band performer.”The country theme continued with Stephen Brown, whose letter sounds like an Ian Tyson song.“Some day I will be living on the outskirts of Alberta or somewhere where there is freedom,” he wrote. “Where I can have a little farm with crops and livestock. Where you can wake up in the morning (and) look out the window (and) you can see for miles, no smog or telephone wires or poles.”Bobby Armstrong had more of a sci-fi view of the future.“In 50 years I think there will be a man civilization on Mars and on the moon,” he wrote. “I think powerful robots and machines will be taking over man’s work.”Bobby hoped his parents and friends would be alive in 50 years. But he was mature enough to know some wouldn’t.“There is one sad thing,” he noted. “Some will have to die early and some have to have poor and tragic lifes (sic).”firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from Ricky Cleland in the 1969 time capsule at Kerrisdale Elementary School.
Both The Vancouver Sun and The Province did stories about the time capsule in June 1969. This Province story features Anne Walmsley when she was Anne Hunt.
Kerrisdale Elementary School’s Grade 7 class in 1968-69 put together a time capsule that was unveiled Wednesday at the school.
One of the artifacts in the 1969 time capsule at Kerrisdale Elemetary School was a Woodward’s See-Tab notebook.
Letter from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to Kerrisdale Elementary School class in the 1969 time capsule.