WAUSEON - For 50 years, eight Wauseon natives kept a secret pact about where they had buried a time capsule.
Yesterday, with spouses, mothers, students, and other onlookers at a city park, they went to unearth it.
Carefully measuring 54 inches south of a Civil War monument, they dug into the ground and they found - well, nothing of any consequence.
Apparently, too much time has passed for all to agree on where the capsule was buried. And unless someone else has found it, the time capsule - a gift intended for Wauseon's graduating seniors - will have to wait for a future discovery.
"We've laughed. And we've gotten upset at ourselves, because I didn't write the location down," said Roger Beaverson, Wauseon High School 1954 class president, who orchestrated the event. "But I didn't want it written. I didn't want anyone to find a note."
Mr. Beaverson told the seniors how their would-be buried time capsule came to be.
Just before he was to graduate, Mr. Beaverson had a visit from a geologist from the school's 1904 class. He gave Mr.
Beaverson stones, and asked that Mr. Beaverson and his classmates pass them on to seniors 50 years later.
The students took their mission to heart, and a committee - all dressed in black - gathered at 2 a.m. at North Park to bury their treasure.
They placed the stones, as well as some of their own, into a small container. They agreed not to share the location with anyone - not spouses, parents, or even the police when they sought a parade permit for yesterday's celebration.
Nina Markley said she and other committee members realized over the years that their memories of the capsule's location differed or had faded.
But she said they had hope just days ago - after poking around - that the treasure was still in place.
Ms. Markley and others were elated at first when Mr. Beaverson pulled something from the ground yesterday, in the spot where the majority of eight seniors recall leaving the treasure.
But the object was an old plastic butter tub, a find the city's parks and recreation director finds all too ironic.
"I'm 90 percent sure it's a prank," said Neal Graf, who used a backhoe to dig out the site after the ceremony. "A [plastic container] doesn't just settle into the ground. Someone found the time capsule and left the container in its place."
So instead of handing over the 50-year-old stones, Mr. Beaverson gave the 2004 class new stones and the butter tub to represent what he termed "fools' gold."
"You know, that's life. Life hits us with rocks and stones sometimes, but you just have to go on," he said.
Current class president Steven Conn took the disappointing news in stride.
"A jar of stones doesn't mean as much as the memories we made today," he said.
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