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Tomorrow's memories buried in time capsule

One at a time the items were precisely placed, like carefully fitted pieces of a puzzle. A can of refrigerant, Barney the dinosaur, and even some sealed envelopes, items representing the present but soon to become mementos of the past.

When all the elements were in place the Brewer Time Capsule was sealed, buried and topped with a monument that read "To Be Opened 2044."

The burial of the time capsule, which took place on the grounds of the Brooksville Heritage Museum, capped off the opening ceremony of the Heritage Days Festival commemorating the 151st birthday of Hernando County. The festival continues today starting at 10 a.m.

Nancy Kaplan, a member of the Committee of 150, said the idea was to get items "reflecting present-day Hernando County." Kaplan said even she made a donation.

"I donated my gloves and a business card," said Kaplan, "so that people will know I was in charge of the museum at this time."

Other items placed in the time capsule ranged from sentimental to controversial, including newspapers from around the world; memorabilia of the late Jerome Brown, a Brooksville resident and former Philadelphia Eagles football player; current AmSouth Bank loan rates; family photographs; an inauguration pin; scrapbooks; albums; a Jurassic Park toy dinosaur; a Gasparilla baseball cap; and a can of Slimfast diet drink.

Pat Brewer of Brewer Funeral Home, sponsor of the time capsule, said he buried a family photograph hoping that his grandchildren will be present at the opening of the vault 50 years from now.

But Hernando County Commissioner Tony Mosca's donation drew the most attention.

Mosca donated the handgun that stirred controversy late last year after it was discovered he occasionally carried the concealed weapon to County Commission meetings at the Hernando County government center. Accompanying the handgun, were several newspaper articles profiling the situation and a cartoon that labeled him "Tombstone Tony."

On the side of the handgun Mosca carved the inscriptions, "Only time will tell" and "Best of luck for the future." When asked why he donated the gun Mosca said only, "I was asked to."

The important thing here is that it's disarmed, Mosca said.

However, Brewer joked that Mosca's donation was his way of "burying the hatchet."

Six-year-old Derrick Smith of Brooksville also became a part of history by donating a McDonald's Happy Meal toy. "I want to come back and get it myself," Derrick said.

However, perhaps most representative of "present day" were compositions written by winners of the Time Capsule Essay Contest, which were buried in the capsule. The kids were asked to share their daily routines, as well as express their hopes and concerns for the future.

First-place essay winner Marisa Mia Grande, 10, of Moton Elementary School described in-line skating as her favorite hobby and expressed environmental concerns in her essay, which read "I hope you get to see things like manatees, killer whales and buffaloes."

Other essay winners, including second-place winner Christie Jenny, 9, of Spring Hill Elementary School, and third-place winner Douglas Harvey, 8, of Moton Elementary School, expressed concerns about AIDS, crime and the poor.