Retired L.I. Teacher Searches For Students Involved In 1963 Time Capsule

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A retired Long Island teacher is on a mission, as the keeper of a time capsule buried by elementary school children more than 50 years ago.

As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, retired Nassau County teacher Richard Siegelman, 73, is trying to find the students who prepared the time capsule. He also gave CBS2 a look at their remarkable predictions.

The time capsule was filled with drawings and writings from students in 1963, at John F. Bermingham Elementary School in Oyster Bay. Siegelman was once a teacher at the school.

“I thought it was fascinating, some of the predictions I read,” he said.

The insightful students imagined rockets traveling to the moon – six years before they actually did. They also predicted that one day it would be acceptable to dye one’s hair any color.

Another student predicted Facetime on cellphones, writing that a wife could call her husband and “he will appear on a screen.”

And 26 years before the Berlin Wall fell, one student identified only as Billy S. wrote, “I think you will be friends with the Russians by the year 2000.”

John F. Bermingham Elementary School no longer stands.

“The school was demolished in 1990 for a housing development,” Siegelman said.

But 15 years ago, the time capsule was recovered. Siegelman convicted school officials to release it to him, in hopes of contacting the long since grown-up students.

“Only about 10 percent of the students have contacted me and gotten back some of these pieces of their childhood,” Siegelman said.

He said most of the students have moved away, but those he did return items to were delighted.

“The feedback I got has been very positive,” Siegelman said. “Some of them are touched and very appreciative.”

Siegelman said some of the precocious kids’ visions have yet to come true, such as flying cars and flying people, or TVs that can be switched on just with your breath. But he believes those ideas may be just around the corner.

The entire time capsule’s collection was itemized and loaded onto the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Schools website, in hopes of connecting with more students who were involved.

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