Winter Coat Pocket Time Capsule

Spring is a fickle lover here in Chicago.  Suddenly, she comes bursting into your dry, pale arms – sometimes as early as February.  Giddy with excitement, you excavate your sandals and what’s left of last year’s tube of sunscreen.  But then…

Spring runs out to get cigarettes.  She doesn’t show up again for weeks.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” Spring says.  Mumbles something about a cold front, a low pressure system, blizzards in North Dakota.

Time to take a long nap, winter coats.

These unsuspecting coats have no idea what’s about to happen to them.

You know it’s bullshit, but you take her back.  Again.  The desire for picnics and short shorts is just too strong.

Now it’s late May.  The leaves are green, the asparagus and rhubarb are chilling in the fridge.  Spring, I think you’ve finally decided to commit.  Let’s make it official by gathering up the hats, gloves and coats for their summer hibernation.

As I pack up the winter gear, I think ahead to that bittersweet moment when I’ll pull them all out again in six months.   As the darkness of winter closes in, I’ll reach my hands into the pockets of my winter coat and find…

A five dollar bill? A stick of still-chewable gum? A dirty Kleenex? A ticket stub from a mid-winter date night? An address for a Craigslist transaction?

The actual contents of my winter coat pockets

The actual contents of my winter coat pockets: Used handkerchief, button, rubber band, “Aldi quarter,” dollar bill, and for some reason, an empty plastic sandwich bag.

Why leave it to chance?

Just like the weather, there’s so much in life that we can’t control. But this year, I will guarantee that my family and I have a pleasant surprise waiting in our coat pockets come November.  Something sweet or nostalgic, something to remind us of this moment in time.  Maybe a little treat.

Actual contents of a 4-year-old-girl's winter coat pockets.

Actual contents of a 4-year-old-girl’s winter coat pockets:  Crayon, rocks, cupcake sticker and sliver of chalk.  Not shown: Fistfuls of sand and dirt.


Gather your winter coats. Remove and examine the undoubtedly boring contents of your pockets. Now would be a good time to wash your coats, especially if you are disgusting like my children.

Select the contents of your Winter Coat Pocket Time Capsule. Be creative in curating your items, but follow these simple guidelines. The items should:
1)   Comfortably fit in your pocket.
2)   Be non-perishable and able to survive without melting, rotting or suffocating for about six months, depending on your climate.
3)   Not be something that you will actually need for a while. I don’t recommend using Social Security cards, bank statements or accident reports.  You never know.

For the 4-year-old girl: beads from the dentist, page from a Lego catalog that she’s been sleeping with for weeks, rocks, magic beans, helicopters, and Corn Syrup snacks I found in the pantry.

For the kids, I chose a mix of treats, toys and for the 4-year-old, things that she’s been collecting from the park and back yard this spring.  The 2-year-old won’t remember any of this anyway, so I just found some stuff under the couch for him.

Toy car, doll, Thomas stickers from the doctor, cardboard turtle with birthday hat and Corn Syrup snacks.

For the 2-year-old: Toy car, doll, Thomas stickers from the doctor, cardboard turtle with birthday hat, and Corn Syrup snacks.

Scott and I agreed to make each others’ Time Capsules as a surprise.  Since he occasionally reads this blog, I can’t tell you exactly what’s in there.  But here’s a sneak preview:

Picture 022

Time capsule for a 37-year-old man who is very well-loved.

Carefully insert the Time Capsule into the coat pockets. If you have multiple winter coats, choose the coat that you will likely wear FIRST, as to not prolong the excitement any more than necessary. You want all family members to find their Time Capsules at approximately the same time.

Picture 024

Where do you even get little baggies like this?

Hide the coats deep into the closet. And please, cut those toenails. Nobody wants to see that.


6 thoughts on “Winter Coat Pocket Time Capsule

    • Yes, I’m definitely going to leave the Aldi quarter intact. You need one for every pocket! Though a couple of weeks ago I walked out of Aldi with my cart, and an elderly man signaled that he wanted to trade me a quarter for it (a common interaction at Aldi), but instead, he handed me two dimes and a nickel! What am I supposed to do with that? I let him have the cart, of course, but made a mental note to replenish my Aldi quarter when I got home.


  1. I have a teenage and was always surprised when she would grow out of things from one year to the next – so I say this only half believing it’ll be true BUT . . . save the treasures for the new coat because they don’t stay that size. BTW my daughter insisted on being called Thomas from about 3 – 4 1/2 – but I’m saving that story for her wedding.


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