Belpre residents unearth old memories

BELPRE – Residents of the National Church Residences at Putnam Howe Village took a step back in time Friday afternoon as they opened a decade-old time capsule.

“I am very excited to see what is in the time capsule because I can’t remember what is in it,” said Charlene Bell, 88.

Having called Putnam Howe Village home for the past 23 years, Bell is the longest-living resident at the assisted-living apartment facility, at 711 Belrock Ave. She was part of the creation of and burial of the blue and white cylinder time capsule 10 years ago.

“I remember we placed a newspaper and crucifix in the time capsule, but other than that, I have no idea what is in there,” said resident Judy Sprouse, 61. “I know a lot of individuals put items in it, but I can’t even remember what I added.”

Sprouse is the resident who spearheaded the time capsule project a decade ago as a way to remember the recent history of the place she calls home.

“Putnam Howe Village is like a revolving door with seniors always coming and going,” Sprouse said. “Having this time capsule helps us remember those who are now gone.

“There were about 45 residents who lived here at the time the capsule was buried who are no longer with us and this is our chance to honor them,” she continued.

After having removed the 10-year-old copy of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and a letter intended to be opened before other items, Sprouse and former facility manager Martha Berrang opened sealed envelopes placed in the time capsule by individuals.

Berrang helped residents in attendance learn about those who had gone before. She had kind words and short stories about each person as Sprouse showed the items to represent those people.

“There is a lot of history in this building and this time capsule is one way we can honor and remember them,” said facility service coordinator Dee Grim.

Sprouse said that while the project was meant to be a one-time thing, she would consider having the current residents of Putnam Howe Village do another time capsule.

“It is fun to go through your history and I don’t know, we may do this again soon,” she said.