Look what I found|[7/10/05]
Published 12:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005
The Vicksburg Post asked readers to submit entries for a special piece called, “Look What I Found.” Readers across Warren County submitted their stories about objects they found, collected or they felt simply needed recognition.
From letters and pictures to an old flag and fine china, items found and picked out by Warren County residents have stories that tie them to a past worth remembering.
One item was a recent find, no family heirloom, but just as precious.
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Three weeks ago, Phillip Couch and his father, also Phillip Couch, were moving dirt when they unearthed, of all things, a time capsule.
The capsule, a piece of PVC pipe sealed at both ends, was a collection of items buried Sept. 29, 1989, by 10 fifth-graders at Warrenton Elementary School.
A newspaper, brochures about Vicksburg, a cloth calendar, a Warrenton bumper sticker, handwritten notes and a Polaroid picture of the class were among the items the students hoped would be found.
Couch, 23, and just a few years younger than the students who left their past behind in the capsule, discovered the treasure when his father’s company, Backhoe and Dozer Services, was repairing washes behind the school.
“I thought it was a link to a murder or something,” Couch said, still beaming with excitement. “I thought it was bad when I saw the newspaper – then I saw the map of Vicksburg. I thought, ‘Ah, treasure – I’m going on a wild goose chase.'”
It wasn’t the first odd thing the men have found, Couch said, but it certainly is the most interesting.
“We find stuff all the time – this is something people care about,” he said. “I thought, ‘If I had done something like that in fifth grade, I would want to know about it.'”
The Porters Chapel graduate said the time capsule is something he knows those 10 children would want to know about. But he expects some disappointment.
“Those kids thought somebody was gonna’ find it in the year 2090 or something,” he said.
Toy cars covered with yellow sticky notes, explaining the transportation of the late 1980s, were in the capsule. A Bible with a note reading, “This is a Bible. God is a spirit. God is the Creator of the Earth. He is worshipped by men,” gave Couch every indication the students expected the capsule to be found by unearthly beings in the future.
Ron Ott, a fifth-grader in Rebecca Underwood’s GATES class at Warrenton in 1989, barely remembers collecting the items or even why his class did the project. But he does recall being in charge of sealing both ends of the PVC pipe.
“I had to sit on it in order to get it to close,” he said. “There was too much air pressure in it for it to close – it kept popping off. So, here I was, a little fifth-grader, sitting on this PVC pipe. It took 5 or 6 or 7 minutes.”
Ott, now 26 and living in Chattanooga, Tenn., remembers placing in the capsule a black and purple pencil that read, “Monster Trucks.”
“I just remember thinking that was the strangest thing I could think of to put in there,” he said.