CSUDH Jackson and the Raiders of the Lost Capsulecsudhbulletin September 12, 2020 0 COMMENTS
1974 time capsule used to commemorate 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet. Photo by Stephen Chamberlain
By Destiny Jackson, Perspectives Editor
Who knew our school had a team of explorers hidden within the confines of the fifth floor of the university library? I had almost forgotten, due to COVID-19 keeping us off of campus.
Nonetheless, over the summer while we’ve all been panicking over the pandemic, finishing up our summer courses, and getting laid-off from our jobs, our college was busy on the brink of discovery. And what exactly did they find? Different colored scantrons? A new Title IX video? Or maybe even perhaps the deed relegating a much shorter, more permanent name to the Dignity Health Sports Park.
Dear reader, I’m afraid it was none of those things, but instead an object a little closer to home and old-timey.
A plaque located near the North Lawn by the currently-in-progress Innovation and Instruction building was removed in order to make space for the project and underneath the dirt and rubble, the construction team found an object sticking out from underneath the dilapidated marker in PVC piping. Lo and behold, a time capsule.
The unveiling of the mysterious 1974 time capsule can be viewed on Tuesday, Sept.15, via Zoom from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m during Fall Convocation.
But it’s not just any time capsule. According to the director of the Gerth Archives & Special Collection (which is located on the library’s fifth floor), Gregory Williams, there is more than meets the eye. In fact, it seems to be a lost relic of the 1974 dedication ceremony hosted by the Native Daughters of the Golden West (NDGW) that happened on campus in order to honor the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet. Did you catch that? I’ll try to explain that again.
In 1910, an area known as Dominguez Field, adjacent to our university, was home to the first United States airshow. An American aviator by the name of Glenn Curtiss (sound familiar? It’s the same name as a street on the south end of campus that runs east off Central Avenue ) was primed to pick a location for the historic aviation meet and decided that he liked the hills and unobstructed view of the sky at Rancho Dominguez Hills.
Info on three black and white images can be found here.
So, in 1974, our school, known as California State College at Dominguez Hills at the time, created a plaque commemorating the record-breaking flight-span and speeds, and the staggering attendance of over 200,000 people in the span of 11 days. Can you imagine that many people on campus grounds over 100 years ago? (You can read more about the spectacular event here.)
And beneath that plaque, someone decided to include a time capsule. But over the years, while the rumor of such a capsule persisted, no one knew if there actually was one.
“I was present at the 100th anniversary in 2010,” Williams said. “We talked a little about this rumor, but [at the time] we had no way to figure out if the time capsule was there. Or when we [were] supposed to open the time capsule. But essentially, the time capsule was forgotten, you know, a lot like homework.”
But now, 10 years after that 100th celebration, and 46 after the capsule was placed, the rumored capsule has been unearthed, leaving curious minds to wonder one question:
What in the hell is in that thing?
Williams thought aloud what is in that time capsule.
“I think there might be another pipe inside (laughs),” Williams said. “Maybe [even] some small objects, rolled paper. Who knows?”
You can watch the unveiling of the capsule Sept. 15 via Zoom, but, I’ve long thought and hard about what might be in that capsule and, since I am not afraid to air my armchair opinion publicly, here are four things I think could be in that capsule…
THE CURE FOR CORONAVIRUS
Wouldn’t it be cool if someone from the 1974 dedication had a great-great-grandmother who was not only at the 1910 air meet but also a survivor of the 1918 Influenza pandemic? Maybe this person could have slipped the pandemic chicken soup recipe into that PVC pipe and that homemade remedy, distilled over 30 years in the warm earth of the Earth, might yield a cure for COVID-19.Why not? Stranger things have happened. Check out who our president is…
THE ANCESTRY DNA RESULTS
OF TEDDY THE TORO
Where did Teddy come from? Why is Teddy here? I mean, other than the fact that our school mascot is a Toro. To be fair, Teddy is probably the most handsome of the CSU campus mascots, a close second is California State University, Monterey’s Monte Rey (a sea otter) whose literal slogan is tought to argue with: “There’s nothing hotter than an otter.”
Though our Teddy’s origin story is shrouded in mystery (nor does he have a cool slogan: someone get on that!) he is culturally relevant in a way that most other mascots aren’t: Teddy goes by they/them pronouns, and Teddy dressed up as Lizzo for Halloween last year!
RICHARD NIXON’S DIGNITY FROM
THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
There was a lot going on in 1974, but none more important than the fallout of the Watergate scandal. Nixon was up to his neck in impeachment inquiries, and Bob Woodard and the team at The Washington Post wouldn’t let him live his corrupt presidency down. I would like to think that when Richard Nixon resigned and flew back to his home in San Clemente, maybe a piece of his remaining dignity landed in that time capsule.
THE LAST KNOWN WILL AND TESTAMENT
OF THE LAST WHITE STUDENT ON CAMPUS
The 1910 Los Angeles Aviation Meet, which you can find beautifully cataloged here on the archival website, as well as on this short documentary, was 100% severely lacking in melanin. And a lot has changed between then and the 1974 dedication. As of 2019, our student body is made up of only 7% white people. Throughout my previous schooling, I was usually the only Black person in class, so I’m used to white majority. But 7% white people? That means I’m bound to at least run into at least three in any given week while standing in line at the library’s Starbucks, once it re-opens.
Because I believe in time-travel capability, and Hollywood films only depict white people as owners and manipulators of time machines, perhaps in the future there will be someone who placed an SOS in this mystery capsule from 2030, at a time the population of white students has dwindled to a measly 0.3 %. The message might read: “You finally got a Starbucks on campus, but your mistake was not adding a Whole Foods.”