Snapshot of a Millennium


Published in IN Community Magazines – Moon Fall 2016

PITTSBURGH – Sixteen years ago, a Moon Township family buried a time capsule in the backyard of their home on Wynview Drive. Although they hoped it would remain hidden for at least 50 years, they are glad someone found it.

“I buried it as a reminder of what the turn of the century was all about and also to pass along a little slice in time of Moon Township,” says Tony Bruno, who buried the capsule. “I had really hoped it would be found 50 years later, but I knew there was a good chance it would never be found.”

Tony and his wife Sheri Bruno bought the house at 107 Wynview in 1984, and when they moved to Spring City in 2000, they buried a large plastic box that contained a short message from each of the couple’s three young sons. The current owner, a retired librarian from Duquesne University, discovered the time capsule last year. Tony says he has always had an interest in history and time capsules.

“I was quite intrigued by the lead-up to the turn of the century,” he says. “I have thought about the time capsule occasionally over the years, wondering if it would ever be dug up. I am a little disappointed that it was found so soon, but certainly glad that it was found at all.”

At the time, A.J. Bruno was 14 years old and was a freshman at Moon High School. He enjoyed acting and had recently played Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He left a note in the time capsule that says he wanted to study drama at Carnegie Mellon University and become an actor on Broadway. By the year 2025 he predicted that computers will be fully interactive and that there will be a cure for AIDS and cancer. A.J. also predicted that the country would have elected a woman as president by then.

Instead of becoming an actor, AJ studied finance, economics and Italian at Penn State University. Today, he is working at a technology startup in Austin, Texas, that he helped create. He says, although he doesn’t perform any more, his acting skills have helped him succeed as a salesman. A.J. has also become a pilot, like his father. He doesn’t remember making any predictions about the first woman president.

When the time capsule was buried, Eric Bruno was in the eighth grade and listed “Harry Potter” as his favorite book and Limp Bizkit as his favorite band. He predicted he would become a sailor by the year 2025. By that date, he believed poverty and crime would have been eradicated and there would be colonies on the Moon and Mars.

Today, Eric works in the mortgage industry and enjoys kayaking. He is engaged and just bought a house in Philadelphia.

Mark Bruno was nine years old in the year 2000 and wrote that Pokémon was his favorite television show. He believed that by the year 2025 he would have graduated from Villanova University and would be playing for the Riverhounds soccer team.

Like his brothers, reality caught up with Mark who works at a healthcare startup. He is also engaged and lives in Brooklyn.

The time capsule also includes several newspapers and magazines from the turn of the millennium. One copy of “Entertainment Weekly” declares that 1999 was the “Year That Changed Movies” and praises films such as “The Matrix” and “The Blair Witch Project.” The Bruno family also included a copy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that featured the final “Peanuts” cartoon by Charles Schulz in February 2000. They also selected several special editions of newspapers that celebrated the new millennium and allayed fears over the Y2K Bug. A headline in the Washington Times declared “Bangs Are Many Bugs Are Few.”

Tony says he Y2K Bug was a big concern that ended up being anti-climactic. He flew to Washington D.C. on Dec. 31, 1999, and captained another flight the next day.

“I remember all the hype,” he says. “There was some concern in the airlines about issues that could occur, but of course, nothing did.”

In 2007, Tony retired as a pilot for US Airways and now trains corporate pilots. Sheri is still a flight attendant for American Airlines. They recently moved into an apartment in Philadelphia and plan to relocate to Kitty Hawk, NC, next year.

Laverna Saunders bought the house at 107 Wynview in 2003 and discovered the time capsule last year when she was repairing some stone pavers. She retired from Duquesne University in 2014 and plans to give the capsule to the Moon Township Historical Society.

“The librarian inside me said this is a piece of history,” Saunders says. “It is a snapshot of Moon history. I understand the value of historical artifacts. If you don’t take care of your history it disappears and future generations won’t understand their heritage or legacy.”

The capsule also included a number of photographs of local schools and businesses, such as the West Hills Shopping Center, although moisture damaged some of them. The shopping center was demolished in order to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter which is still under construction. Saunders says the shopping center was a thriving commercial hub where she used to buy paint and shoes. There was also a bar that sold great fried zucchini planks.

“The time capsule documents the time before Wal-Mart,” Saunders says.

Other big changes have also occurred in Moon, and the closure of the US Airways flight operations control center in Moon last year created an economic crisis.

“That was a big cataclysm for Moon,” Saunders says.  “But Moon is always in some state of change and is still vibrant enough. There is a sense of community here.”

Saunders plans to sell the house at 107 Wynview next year and move closer to her son.

“My chapter here is nearing an end,” she says.

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