IT HAPPENS TO the best of us. Scientific research shows that the brain’s volume peaks in our early 20s and gradually declines for the rest of our lives. Gee, thanks.

Joan Stylianos' Heart of Nashua column sig

Lately, my memory could use a big neuron reboot. For example, I swear that I and my young classmates made a time capsule with a teacher long ago. We each added written statements and tossed them in as the teacher sealed up the container. The funny thing is, I cannot recall the year, my age, the class, instructor or where the capsule was buried. Sad, huh? Maybe I just dreamed about it.

Look what happened to our neighbors in Londonderry who planned to unseal a 50-year-old time capsule from nearby Derry at the town’s recent 300th Nutfield Anniversary Londonderry Old Home Day celebration. It was a huge event attended by thousands, including Governor Sununu and some presidential hopefuls. There was a spectacular fireworks display and the whole nine yards.

Many were looking forward to the unveiling of the time capsule safe scheduled for 2 p.m. at the bandstand. Bystanders were shocked when it was revealed that the capsule was found empty, nada, zero, zilch. Derry Public Library officials had taken a look inside a few weeks prior to the event. How could that happen?

Well, maybe rather easily, as the safe’s combination was written on the back, says Derry historian Paul Lindemann. Hopefully, Derry will get to the bottom of it. Astronaut Alan B. Shepard artifacts were believed to have been placed in the time capsule among other town items.

I like time capsules because they preserve a piece of the present for the future. To me, they’re like buried treasures just waiting for someone to unearth.

Here in the Gate City, I’m certain that there are multiple time capsules buried or hidden both indoors and outdoors across the community. One historic example I’ve mentioned before happens to be located at a favorite spot of mine.

Abbott Square (top of Main Street) is home to the Civil War’s majestic Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The towering monument is dedicated to the “patriotism and valor of the thirteen hundred and fifty-five men” who served their country during the War of the Rebellion, 1861-65. The monument was created by Stephen J. O’Kelly and created in 1889 by John G. Foster.

Hidden away beneath the cornerstone of this monument lies a time capsule from May 30, 1889. The container is made of thick lead plates and features the deposits of 31 assorted items. A few of these include the autographed signatures of both President Benjamin Harrison and Vice President Levi P. Morton, silver and minor coins (1889), copies of four Nashua newspapers and the Manchester Daily Union.

The laying of the cornerstone by the Grand Master of Masons of NH was a big deal on that beautiful day. There was a large parade up Main Street, and the textile mills were closed for the ceremony.

The Grand Master’s speech so eloquently stated: “ that in the lapse of ages, if the fury of the elements, or the slow but certain ravages of time should lay bare its foundation, an enduring record may be found by succeeding generations, to bear testimony to the energy, industry and culture of our time.....” (from “An Account of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument” published by order of the City Councils, 1889).

I wish we could open up the monument’s time capsule now. I suppose I should be tarred and feathered for that selfish request, but it would be incredible to go back in time to touch our city’s history.

Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at