Buried on June 15, 1957, as a publicity stunt to honor 50 years of statehood, the gold-and-white car and its contents — artifacts like a pack of cigarettes and an unpaid parking ticket — were to be dug up in another five decades.
The car was interred with 10 gallons of gasoline, in case fuel would be obsolete in 2007, and a time capsule containing civic records, a prayer and a history of Tulsa churches.
I have to wonder about that previous generation of Sooners, who thought we’d have moved beyond fossil fuels by now. Did they know, even then, that gasoline was not a sustainable way to propel the global economy? I want to apologize: we let you down. We stopped looking for the new juice and now we’re stuck between Iraq and a hard place.
And what’s this history of Tulsa churches thing? Did they think that Americans would no longer worship in churches in 50 years? That some brand-new religion would have taken over? That we’d forgotten our basic religious beliefs? This sounds like a fear we hear from right wing theocrats today. I want to tell them: “Relax, people. Y’all have been yammering about Americans turning away from God for decades. Hasn’t happened.”
And then there’s this::
The 1957 two-door hardtop — buried to celebrate Oklahoma's 50 years of statehood — was encased in a 12-by-20-foot concrete vault, supposedly tough enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
Event officials already had to pump out several feet of water from the crypt that held the Belvedere for a half-century.
Fifty years ago nuclear destruction was on people’s minds in Oklahoma. Sadly, it still is. But their “bomb-proof” vault couldn't even keep the groundwater out. And here we are today, talking about building “missile shields” in Europe and stirring the pot with Russia over a system that has continually failed, at a cost of $85 million a pop. Even a Canada goose can foil the missile defense system. Not good.
When will we learn? Looking at time capsules from the past, we learn a lot about what we thought the future would hold. How have we measured up? How have we failed?