by Garth Meyer
There are less than two weeks left until the grand opening of the Friendship Foundation campus on the site of the recently demolished former Franklin Elementary School.
But first, you might have to find a time capsule.
“I remember asking my students to do something for a time capsule,” said Geraldine Baluch, from Palos Verdes, who taught at the school in the early 1970s.
Today, her husband recalls her saying that the students put notes about the future in a yellow ‘Chock Full o’ Nuts’ coffee can.
On July 17, after seeing a post on a Franklin alumni Facebook page that the teardown had begun, Baluch asked about the time capsule.
A 1970-71 freshman, Eric Andrews of Redondo Beach, said he remembered making a piece of art for such a purpose.
Maybe the time capsule was a buried barrel, another elder suggested.
He was put on the grass between first and second class, another former student wrote. Next to the tree, the day of the tree, recalled another.
Baluch – known then as Miss Dramis – began working on the case. She called the school district, then the Friendship Foundation.
“I racked my brains,” she says. “Is this something I dreamed of?” I don’t know what tree it would have been under.
Monday, Kelly Stroman, chief executive of the Friendship Foundation, sent Andrews a map of the site taken by a drone.
He put two Xs to indicate where he thinks the time capsule might be.
Now a veteran Boeing engineer in Long Beach, Andrews is fairly certain there is a time capsule buried at the site.
“I remember asking (adults) where it was, and they didn’t tell me where it was,” he said.
Nothing at this stage is final.
“They kind of remember, but they could be wrong. All that type of verb,” Stroman said.
Baluch is hoping for an opportunity for someone, or a crew, with metal detectors to inspect the property.
“It’s an active project. A very active site,” Stroman said. “Once the site is completely cleared, we will talk to our contractors to see what is possible.”
Demolition is in progress. Then comes the grubbing (removal of cement, etc.) and the leveling of the land.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Campus de l’Amitié will take place on August 10.
No date has yet been announced for the actual construction.
Before that, the Baluchs and former students would like to see what might be underground.
“It really could be a treasure,” she said.
“Our goal is to build this campus,” Strohan said. “We’d like to find him, but I’m not making any promises. This is not a wild goose chase. We are happy to help, but cannot commit to what it is now.
Baluch appreciates the attention the Foundation has given to the issue, as do the scattered Franklin Elementary alumni who heard about it.
“I remember the task and the teacher (Miss Whiley) saying the time capsule was going to happen,” Andrews said. “That’s what I remember when I was a 6-year-old kid, but if they don’t find something, I don’t want to feel like Geraldo.”
Perhaps an answer will appear in the next few days or weeks.
“Finding it isn’t for me, it’s for the kids,” Baluch said. “All these wonderful kids who are now parents and grandparents. I don’t know what they put in there. Emergency room