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Hommocks Time Capsule Reveals Artifacts, Predictions From 1988

Seth Weitzman, principal of Hommocks Middle School, removes items from the 1988 time capsule.
Seth Weitzman, principal of Hommocks Middle School, removes items from the 1988 time capsule. Video Credit: Brian Donnelly
Seth Weitzman, principal of Hommocks Middle School, breaks the brick wall that held a time capsule for 25 years.
Seth Weitzman, principal of Hommocks Middle School, breaks the brick wall that held a time capsule for 25 years. Video Credit: Brian Donnelly
A Hommocks Student Government leader, Peter Simpson, talks about the time capsule from 1988.
A Hommocks Student Government leader, Peter Simpson, talks about the time capsule from 1988. Video Credit: Brian Donnelly

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – BETA video, cassette tapes and floppy discs were a few of the hot new technologies from 1988 that Hommocks faculty uncovered from a 25-year time capsule Thursday.

Hommocks students from 1988 tucked away artifacts they felt represented the time in a seven-foot book shelf that has sat in the middle school’s corridor until Thursday. Principal Seth Weitzman took a sledge hammer to the brick wall that encased the rather large time capsule and displayed the items enclosed to the student body from today, and some from 1988.

“It seems like yesterday,” said Dennis O’Rourke, retired social studies teacher who initiated the class project through his class. “It went so quickly.”

Some of the artifacts included:

  • New York Times from June , 1988
  • Times Magazine from April 11, 1988
  • An A.I.D.S. Poster (a new disease at the time that was something Weitzman said was on the minds of students at the time)
  • Rubik's Cube
  • A video rental store receipt
  • Playbill from “Phantom of the Opera”
  • T.V. Guide with Michael J. Fox on the cover
  • Michael Jackson’s “Bad” Album cover
  • Ssips Cup
  • Swatch
  • Donkey Kong video game for Nintendo
  • Floppy Disk
  • Ticket to the Hommocks musical “A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That”
  • The $42 million school budget from 1988 (the 2013-2014 school budget is more than three times that amount at $128.2 million)

Some artifacts had accompanying inscriptions describing why the student chose it. The student who chose the Michael Jackson album cover wrote, "Stupid music of the 80s." The student who chose a floppy disk wrote, "Computers were used a lot. They were a new technology."

In addition to artifacts, students wrote letters to their future selves. Some of those students were present Thursday to read their letters for the first time since 1988. They included Billy Byron, who is now a physical education teacher in the school district; and Anthony Vitti, who is now the high school football coach and seventh-grade science teacher.

Teachers who have taught at the school since 1988 also spoke. They included Dr. Norah Mazzone, special education teacher, Bob Morrissey Jr., English teacher and track and swim coach and Betsy Nunez, special education teacher.

“It’s a real history alive day because you’re going to get a glimpse into Hommocks in 1988 and what students were like then and what the world was like back then,” Weitzman said.

Students also answered questionnaires about what they thought the world would be like in 2013. Some predicted that women would begin to dominate higher offices such as the presidency, while others said we would discover other life forms on distant planets. Some other predictions include:

  • Florida would sink
  • Hommocks will have a flat escalator that will move from North and South halls through the overpass
  • A vaccine for A.I.D.S. would be developed
  • Computers would become a necessity and more popular than television
  • Robots would do our household chores
  • There would be an African-American president

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