Merced man opens time capsule he buried 47 years ago
MERCED, Calif. — Friends and family watched Louis Padilla, 96, open a box of memories on a recent day.
The box was buried at Yosemite High School by Padilla 47 years ago. At the time, Padilla worked in maintenance.
But when he buried the box, he labeled it with his name and his own graduation year – 1947 – which led to some confusion and laughter.
“It was Padilla which is why we thought it was a class of ‘47 box,” Nicole Rose, Yosemite High principal, said. “Can you see me asking the class of ‘76 for forgiveness?”
The box contained momentos, including a yearbook from the class of ‘76, a high school newspaper and a photograph of the Board of Trustees – all in perfect condition.
Years ago, a different time capsule – one from 1959 containing items from Merced High – had been destroyed by water due to the improper seal of the box.
School officials weren’t sure what to expect this time.
“Not gonna lie, we shook it a little trying to figure out what could possibly be in there,” Rose said, about the capsule found at Yosemite High. “I was not expecting to have this much and for everything to be in this good condition.”
A trip down memory lane
Although Padilla was surprised to find the materials actually didn’t belong to his own class, he grew emotional opening the box of memories. He shared he felt nostalgia.
“I'm running out of time but I'm just happy,” Padilla said, choking up.
Padilla graduated from Merced High School, and stayed in the community for the remainder of his life.
He now has grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom attended the event.
After opening all of the materials and clearing confusion about which class it belonged to, Padilla joked, “You want me to wrap it up again? I'll bury it again!”
School officials say the time capsule will be shared with students at Yosemite High School to help connect them with some of Merced’s history.