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East Aurora time capsule contains 'thoughts, not things'

As far as time capsule openings go, Robert Goller has attended some real yawners.

"They usually include things like newspapers, coins," said the East Aurora and Town of Aurora historian. "I wanted an idea that was a little more special for our time capsule."

That idea was for residents to write letters to their counterparts 50 years in the future. Current Aurora second graders wrote to Aurora's second graders of the future. The youngest Town of Aurora trustee wrote to the youngest town trustee 50 years from now. Homeowners wrote to whoever will occupy their home in the future.

"We decided to include thoughts, not things," Goller said.

The letters, about 150 of them, were put into protective packaging and vacuum sealed Saturday where they'll remain for the next five decades. They'll be put into a wooden treasure chest and displayed in the town's municipal center with a plaque reminding residents to reopen them April 15, 2068 — the 250th anniversary of the town's charter. The project commemorates the Town of Aurora's bicentennial.

Paula Klocek, the director of the Aurora Town Public Library, liked that the time capsule isn't setting aside "things without context," but capturing living ideas of our time.

She wrote to the library's future director about how residents considered the library as much a staple as bread and milk ahead of a recent snowstorm, crowding in to stock up on books and movies.

East Aurora and Town of Aurora residents wrote to their counterparts 50 years in the future. (Samantha Christmann/Buffalo News)

"A lot of things can change in 50 years, but some things will stay the same," she said. "I believe the library will evolve, but it will be just as important in the future."

Town of Aurora Supervisor James Bach wrote to the future town supervisor, telling of his wife, children and grandchildren; his responsibilities as supervisor and his family towing business. He enclosed his business card, pictures of the Town Board and a rendering of the new Town Hall being built.

"And then I apologized for my handwriting," he said.

Residents were encouraged to hand-write letters rather than type them, in order to add a more personal touch.

That appealed to Kathy Frost, present curator of the Millard Fillmore Presidential Site, who wrote encouraging the future curator to be a good steward of the organization's artifacts.

"It will be like I'm speaking to them directly," she said.

Goller said he was inspired by some correspondence in his office from a former town historian dated 1950. It outlined some of his day-to-day frustrations with the job, which comforted Goller to know that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

"That's why we advised people to give encouragement to those who may be doing their jobs in the future," he said.

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