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November 29, 2012

ENCAPSULATING THE PAST: Corden Porter time capsule from 1979 opened

JEFFERSONVILLE — The whining of the saw stopped with the clang of metal hitting the pavement. Milt Clayton — Greater Clark County Schools’ retiring transportation director and former Corden Porter School principal — peered inside the time capsule to see what his students buried in it more than 30 years ago.

Students from the class of 1979 buried a time capsule on the property of the school before they graduated. On Wednesday, the capsule was sawed open. Clayton said on the eve of his retirement, he wanted to crack it open and see what was inside.

After he pulled open the series of plastic bags, he found several items that brought back memories for him, including two ticket stubs for a Doobie Brothers concert, an empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and a Fleetwood Mac album.

“Those were enjoyable years,” Clayton said. “I have some of those kids who are driving buses for me now. Those were good times. All of them were into the styles at the time.

“Whatever was going on, they were into it. They all had their own identity, but they were into having fun.”

Clayton, who was principal from 1976 to 1983, said taking a look at what his students included, he could take a guess at who left what. For example, he knew the cutoff denim shorts belonged to one of his former students and current bus drivers, Shawna Allen.

“I had the best time there,” Allen said. “Mr. Clayton was the best principal, we had the best school. It just brings back lots of good memories of good friends.”

She said while she wasn’t sure she could still fit in the shorts, she remembered having fun with the kids she was in school with.

Andrew Melin, Greater Clark superintendent, said while he wasn’t living in the area at the time, he graduated from high school in 1978, the same time a lot of the items in the time capsule were from. He said one thing in particular sent him back in time.

“The Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumors’ album because I remember listening to that one,” Melin said. “I remember throughout my whole high school experience listening to that album.”

Clayton said though the school was mainly for children who were disconnected from their classes, he enjoyed the students he had and was proud of the school he headed up.

“Those were special years, I would say it was a joy,” Clayton said. "All of those kids seemed like my own kids. We sort of worked with them. There’s no bad child, some of them just have their issues and you look at what’s going on with them at home.”

Allen said she thought the KISS poster in the time capsule was really cool, but doesn’t think kids would put anything all that different into a time capsule today, even though there’s 34 years of difference.

“They’re still into music and they’d still have a poster in there,” Allen said. “It might not be KISS, but there are some kids who still experiment with drinking.

“... Ahh, to be young again and know what I know now.”

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