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Medway: Instagram came years too late

Cones and dirt marked the fruitless search at Town Hall.

Gretchen Ertl for the Boston Globe

Cones and dirt marked the fruitless search at Town Hall.

When Ben Franklin famously quipped, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” he might as well have been talking about the selectmen of the Town of Medway. In 1963, the leaders of the community decided to bury a time capsule to be opened on the town’s 300th anniversary, 50 years later. However, in a crucial misstep, no one at the ceremony thought to write down or photograph precisely where the capsule was buried.

This oversight has turned into a headache for the town’s current leaders, who have torn up the lawn in front of Town Hall looking for the capsule. The remaining town residents who witnessed the original burying are all now well into their 70s. Searching their memories has failed to turn up any promising leads, and a company hired to search the area with radar equipment couldn’t find the capsule either.

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Hindsight is 20/20, and it is always better to plan for the future than to dwell on the follies of the past. While the display case designed to show off the capsule’s contents at a town celebration on Aug. 10 might be empty this year, Medway’s ordeal might prompt other history-minded communities to keep better records.

If Franklin were alive today, he might say, “If you are burying a time capsule, take a photo of where you buried it on Instagram.”

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