“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce was the theme song of my elementary school graduation. I remember feeling that all I wanted to do was look to the future and what wonder it would bring.
Now, several years removed from that day, I find myself pondering what the past held for the Princetonians who lived in the Palmer Square area many, many years ago and hoping that by burying a present day time capsule in our new patio area I will be able to answer that question for the inquisitive person that unearths it in the very distant future.
When the construction of the Yankee Doodle Tap Room patio began we were pleasantly surprised to find that we uncovered numerous old bottles that had been buried in the dirt outside of the Nassau Inn. The MOD construction crew was careful when extracting them so that we could keep some of these treasures to showcase with our other historical artifacts at the Inn.
Curious to know what had been in some of these old bottles I have begun to research them on the internet. Much to my surprise there are numerous sites dedicated to bottle typing and diagnosing shapes. Apparently, I am not the only person to work on a project like this! I have been able to identify plenty of spirits and ale bottles as well as a 32 oz. Master Ink bottle, circa 1862, a Saxlehner’s Bitterquelle bottle, circa 1880’s and a Dr. King’s New Discovery bottle from the early 1900’s.
While I imagine that plenty of folks from yesteryear enjoyed the spirits, I am most intrigued by the Master Ink bottles original owner – what famous author could have penned a classic novel using the ink from inside this beautiful old bottle? Did a student use it to write his senior thesis? Did the person dipping into it write letters to a sweetheart? The possibilities are as endless as the imagination will allow. Whatever the reason for its use, I am happy that I can question the possibilities and travel back in time even if it is just for a moment.
As I spent time dreaming up the many ways my favorite bottle could have been used I decided to bury a piece of present day Nassau Inn so that some fortunate soul in the future will be able to delve into what our lives, businesses and area was like in the year 2010. A collection of memorabilia from the Nassau Inn, Palmer Square, the Residences at Palmer Square and our favorite construction guys from MOD was gathered and assembled in a briefcase and buried under the new Yankee Doodle Tap Room patio.
“Time in a briefcase” doesn’t flow in a song quite like “Time in a bottle” but my sentiment is the same. Life is a gift of moments that we need to treasure before they become history left for someone else to interpret.