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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.)

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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.”

It’s not the country’s time capsule.

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SO WHAT did the Fanciful Fifty come up with to be placed in this mythical Suggestion Box? Let’s see if we can break this exercise into reasonable categories.

How We Live:

A library card, a ticket to park in the Plaza garage, a real estate brochure with housing prices, a cloth bag from Oliver’s Market, a vial of Russian River water (this entry included the observation that it “could be very valuable in 50 years”), graduation programs from all the high schools, public and private; an SRJC centennial pin.

And, lest we paint too pretty a picture, a well-used sock picked up under a freeway overpass, and an entry form to get a bed at Sam Jones Hall.

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Sustenance:

A nest of coffee cups from Peet’s, The Flying Goat, Starbucks, Acre and Aroma Roasters; menus from Mary’s Pizza, Sam’s For Play Café, Sazon, Ca’ Bianca, Mac’s, Papusas and one of the cards that show all the Stark restaurants.

Or to bring us back to reality, an empty tuna can found under a bridge.

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How We Get Around:

A gas card, a FasTrak for the Golden Gate Bridge, a bus ticket for Golden Gate Transit, A SMART ticket (by 2068, one smart-ass added, “it should reach Cloverdale”), a round-trip ticket from the Schulz Airport, a bicycle license and an application for Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo, a pocket tool for a skateboard.

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What We Do For Fun:

A Sonoma County Fair schedule plus some other month’s list of events at the Fairgrounds, a Rose Parade program, season programs from the Green Music Center and the Luther Burbank Center, something (maybe a list of vendors?) from the Wednesday Night Market.

Is this the category for the brewpubs and cocktail lounges? For Russian River Brewing Co. and Pliny the Younger (a label, at least)? The last guy in line should have made it to the barstool by then.

Or a menu all by itself from Jorge Alcazar’s Frozen Art shop in Roseland listing all its ice cream flavors, including South American passion fruit maracuyá, Mexican Chocolate Chip and, heaven help us, one that tastes like beer. On purpose.

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Who Was Here?

A dust jacket from Donald Green’s “Defining Moments,” a photo of the sign at the entrance to Trione-Annadel State Park and a T-shirt or apron or something that says “Peanuts” from the latest exhibit at the Schulz museum, a Fountaingrove Round Barn Christmas ornament.

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What Comes from Here (besides Pliny):

Wine labels are a natural; just make sure the address is Santa Rosa. So is cannabis — a bud, a joint, a roach clip, a salve — so many choices. But how about a stent from Medtronic or a piece of something made at Keysight?

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So we come to the tough one. What do we include that says something about “The World Outside Santa Rosa”:

A DACA application? A “Black Lives Matter” badge? A Pussy Hat? A #MeToo button? A presidential tweet?

A Montgomery High School student, asked for his suggestions, stopped us in our tracks with: “a bullet.”

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We know there will be papers wrapped around the objects. We still can’t avoid papers. Things like the obligatory lists of City Council members, people on the committee and a copy of The Press Democrat, at least pages 1, 3, the obits, sports and classified sections from a September Sunday. But, unless the internet implodes, photos and documents should be available online.

This is obviously just a start. There will be vast opportunities for more suggestions. We may need a bigger capsule.

I am delighted to say that I am NOT a member of the committee to choose.

We await September’s ceremony.

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