Tuesday night, Jerusalem Boy Scout Pack 217 opened a time capsule that had been planted at Wynn Elementary School in 1985.
The capsule was almost lost permanently. After Wynn closed last year, the capsule was found and the principal telephoned den leader Darla Bohland, who began her own search.
“It happened, and it was just a fluke, that I was trying to find some of the people who were involved with the time capsule,” Bohland said. “It was in the school, and it was stored away somewhere, and when they were cleaning it — it must have been in one of the display things and they didn’t realize it was back in there. It had scouts names on the outside and was welded shut.”
|Dan Beamer and Jim Ellerbush pull apart the time
capsule as Darla Bohland looks on. (Press photo
by Ken Grosjean)
Ellerbush said retired Wynn principal Don Charlton had kept an eye on it for 25 years, but when the school closed it temporarily became lost. The Wynn Elementary principal last year was Dawn Henry.
“Everybody has been looking for it. Don had been looking for it, too, so they were very grateful that I kind of took care of it. They didn’t know what had happened to it,” said Bohland.
Bohland telephoned former long time scout leader Jim Ellerbush, and she found out he made the capsule and was also looking for it.
“Mr. Ellerbush has been looking for it for a few years now. He didn’t know what happened to it, and I just happened to call him on a fluke. He was so happy to hear from me, because he was trying to track it down,” Bohland said.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, at United Methodist Church on Starr Extension and Stadium Road, the capsule was pried open.
“We were so happy it wasn’t lost,” Ellerbush said. “It was a lot of fun to see what was in it.”
Showing up were 20 Pack 217 scout members, former den and pack leaders, but none of the scouts from 1985. Ellerbush will continue looking for them, although one is his 36-year-old son Jason, who is headed to Germany on business.
Inside the foot-long, steel molded capsule was a Pinewood Derby wooden racing car, upgrade awards, patches, photos, a 1985 scouting magazine, a cub scout scarf, letters written by the scouts on what they expected to be doing in 25 years, and more.
“We used to have a program back then that if a kid did good deeds, and they had a little letter-thing with strings on it that we added beads to it, and after so many deeds they get a different color bead — which was in there,” Ellerbush said.
Bohland added, “They also put letters to be opened in 2016, 2110, and whatever — other dates they need to be opened, so those need to stay in there.”
“But, what was in it was little letters from each of the scouts regarding what they liked. It was pretty fun, plus one of them said, ‘Please open’ — it was all handwritten. It was every scout’s name, what (rank) they were, like Tiger Scout, and each of the den leaders.
“There were two other letters that said not to open until the Blue and Gold Banquet, so we decided we were going to keep those letters and open them in front of the parents and read it at the Blue and Gold in February at Maumee Bay State Park,” Bohland continued.
Prying it open
First, they had to get the canister open. That was a task in itself.
“It came apart, but it took three of us. It was a grip-snug fit. It was not hermetically sealed, but it was a good fit,” Ellerbush said.
Bohland added, “Mr. Ellerbush and the current pack leader worked together, and then a den leader had to pry it open with a key because it was so tightly shut. So they had to really force it open, but it finally did come open.”
Bohland, an Oregon Schools substitute, has been involved in scouting since 1996. Wynn’s Pack 122 has folded and merged into Pack 217 because of the school closing.
Bohland’s son, Stephen, is an Eagle Scout who now attends the University of Toledo. Another son, Matthew, is an eighth grader at Eisenhower Middle School and with Troop 131 now working on his Star Rank. Darla was the Acting Cubmaster for Wynn Pack 122 last year and is currently a committee member for Jerusalem Pack 217.
“I got involved with cub scouts and boy scouts and I just loved it,” Bohland said. “We always were in scouts. I have scouting in my blood, I guess. My dad (Ivan L. McCoy) was a scout leader years and years ago in the Pemberville-Bradner area and I just have the love of scouting. They kind of tease me that these are all my kids.
“I think part of it is, I didn’t work full time, I had cancer, and I just decided this is what I wanted to do for my boys, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
The plan now is to reseal the capsule and in May store it at Jerusalem Elementary, where it can be opened in another 25 years.
“I did explain to the kids that we are going to shut it up again in May, and we are going to put our own things in it. The canister itself was so stuffed, that I talked to a den leader afterwards, and maybe we’ll make our own canister that’s similar to this one, but we can make it a little better,” Bohland said.
“Not only is there stuff in it to be opened for the other years, 25 years, and so forth. I explained to the boys, I’m 50-years-old and in 25 years I’m going to be 75, and they all go (gasp) — so they were a little overwhelmed with the fact that it’s going to be 25 years and all of us (den leaders) are going to be grandparents and what have you.”
“I spoke with the principal at Jerusalem and he said they would find somewhere safe to put it until it was time to open it again. We don’t want it to get lost again,” Bohland said.
Ellerbush added, “When they close this back up, we’ll put a disk (CD with photos) back in there. Maybe all the items should stay in there, but my wife and I were talking last night — we have a lot of pictures from scouting days, and we’re thinking about adding a couple more.
“I just hope it excites the younger kids in the schools, it grabs their attention, and maybe they get involved in the scouts because the kids always have a great time.”