The city of Santa Rosa’s sesquicentennial celebration, muted by last fall’s firestorm, is officially underway.
There was a small gathering in Courthouse Square and a bigger one recently at the Old Post Office museum where the relics of a younger, smaller and far less-challenged Santa Rosa, were exhumed last month, and will be on display until September.
That’s when, apparently, there will be another event, including the reburial of the time capsule with all new memorabilia inside.
The committee in charge has yet to decide whether it will be opened either in 2068 at the city’s official bicentennial or in 100 years, a virtually unimaginable 2118, which will be the 250th year. Unless our progeny have taken up residence on Mars.
(I don’t know what the operative term is for a 250th event, although several are available such as sestercentennial, semiquincentennial, bicenquinquagenary and quarter-millennial. As it is, we’ve had trouble with the term sesquicentennial. It’s good to remember an old joke about how it’s the same as a centennial but has half again as many legs. Don’t think too long on that. It will make you crazy. But I digress.)
I COMPLAINED when the capsule was opened about the governmental flavor of it all — a copy of the general plan, the minutes of the Parks And Recreation Commission, a stack of documents that would be of interest only to the most dedicated of bureaucrats.
There were just a few photos and almost no objects, nothing much — except of course a copy of the daily newspaper — to indicate what life was like here in 1968.
Santa Rosa’s busy “Sesquicommittee” will make the decision about what goes underground in the fall.
It is already accepting suggestions. But I thought I might ask around; see what 2018 Santa Rosans are thinking about that truly represents this day and age in this place.
So I conducted my own poll, asking a symbolic 50 people to give me a couple of suggestions. Some had other fish to fry but most answered pleasantly, which is always nice.
I asked the mayor and some council-folk, some Chamber of Commerce types, the members of my book club, a social worker, a vocal member of the Hispanic community, a couple of teenagers, the women in my renegade Weight Watchers breakfast group, a couple of newspaper colleagues and several people involved in historical organizations.
The first thing mentioned by almost everyone, not surprisingly, was “something from the fires.” Actually, Mayor Coursey was explicit, saying that he has a piece of molten aluminum with bits of glass imbedded that he picked out of the ashes at Fountaingrove. He was eager to “drop it by” but I quickly assured him I am not stockpiling items, just ideas.
I specified that the capsule contents should represent Santa Rosa. But that didn’t stop the majority from starting off with “a smartphone” — which, so far as I know, can be found as far away as Petaluma.
Maybe a landline phone book would be more indicative of changing times.
There were other things that go beyond boundaries mentioned — a Fitbit, an Apple Watch, car keys — which newer models no longer need. On the way out, for certain, but far from “local.”