Digging up history’s most annoying time capsule • Long Beach Post News

You had the premiere of ‘The Godfather’, you had Nixon defeating McGovern, you had the arcade release of the video game Pong, you had Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon, you had the massacre from Munich to the Olympics and The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Not to mention all the outdated gadgets that are long gone, many of which have been rendered obsolete by today’s iPhone as opposed to a 50 year old rotary phone that couldn’t even help you navigate through traffic.

The small crowd that witnessed the Monday afternoon opening of a time capsule buried at 100 Oceangate downtown in 1972 was largely filled with people who were alive 50 years ago when the capsule was buried in honor of the inauguration of the Oceangate tower and plaza by the Redevelopment Agency (RDA, now defunct, as the elders wistfully recall).

As far as time capsules go, this one was horribly disappointing unless you’re a collector – an overly avid collector – of Long Beach Harbor real estate and ephemera, because most of the items in the box (almost unearthed before workers wrestled with the rest of the dig on Monday) were scraps of paper relating to the first of the buildings to be erected at the Oceangate complex and its plaza, along with a handful of photos and brochures that probably weren’t very interesting half a century ago and they haven’t become more compelling as they sat in a box for 50 years.

The box contained a lot of things I have in my garage, keepsakes and miscellaneous trinkets. If I was better organized, I might have thrown them away by now because they don’t really spark joy in me.

Instead of interesting articles that might have been confusing and amusing to people under 30, for example, the mystery box contained an awful lot of documents from the port of Long Beach as well as a press kit from the developer of Oceangate Boise -Cascade, the RDA plan for the area, originally called West Beach Development, a handful of grant deeds, numerous photo books and memorabilia programs from the Long Beach Historical Society and long-gone beauty pageants and a Long Beach Harbor tie to give to current Executive Director Mario Cordero, who happened to be in the audience with City Manager Tom Modica, 9th District Councilman Rex Richardson and Mistress of Ceremonies Amy Bodek, former director of development services and former director of the redevelopment agency.

To say the tie was the most interesting thing in the box doesn’t mean it was an interesting tie.

There was a lot of talking before the box opened, which was almost as exciting as the main event. The highlight for me was a brief chat with Brett Bixby, whose ancestors once owned most of the land in Long Beach. He attended and helped with the box’s burial in 1972 when he was 4, along with his little brother Grant (also present) who was 1 and his older brother, the late Mark Bixby, who was 6.

He said he didn’t remember much about that day, but it looked pretty cool. It’s funny how you sometimes remember things being cooler than they actually were.

Former Director of Development Amy Bodek holds a redevelopment bond taken from a 1972 time capsule in Long Beach on Monday, October 10, 2022. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Julie Bartolotto, executive director of the Long Beach Historical Society, left, and Amy Bodek wave a Long Beach Harbor flag, one of several items extracted from a 1972 time capsule in Long Beach on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022 Photo by Thomas R. Cordoba.

Julie Bartolotto, executive director of the Long Beach Historical Society, holds a Miss Universe Pageant brochure from 1956, one of many items extracted from a 1972 time capsule in Long Beach on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Photo by Thomas R. Cordoba.

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