LOS LUNAS — What better way to remember a year like 2020 than with a time capsule?

That’s what Jubilee Los Lunas, a retirement community near Huning Ranch, did to commemorate a year they say many will remember for a long time to come.

“Many people and myself think that having a time capsule — at least you can reflect on the whole year,” Nick Blea, owner of Jubilee, said. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time just thinking about all the different things that happened this year.”

Blea said they chose to bury the time capsule, and open it in 20 years because “there’s going to still be a few people around then here from Jubilee.”

Matthew Narvaiz | News-Bulletin photos
Residents of Jubilee gather around the time capsule that was buried in the middle of their park on Thursday, Dec. 31. They included letters and mementos in the capsule, which will be dug up and opened in 20 years.

The idea of burying a time capsule didn’t come to be over a series of meetings or anything special. In fact, Blea and residents, Tom and Nelda Lobb, got to talking one day about politics, the pandemic and what the year brought forth to so many people.

Then, the couple said jokingly, a time capsule would be a good way to remember this period in time. Blea agreed, and he went to an auction in Albuquerque and purchased the capsule, which is made out of stainless steel and can be buried underground without deteriorating for up to 300 years.

Blea and his team at Jubilee got a great response from residents who wanted to participate, and many included items that meant something to them — and many others wrote letters, too.

Anita de Vargas Nevius, who’s been a resident since September after moving back to her home state from Phoenix, buried mementos, such as coins, an item from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta that she attended, a list of important dates from her life, and even wrote a short synopsis of what her life has meant to her. She’s curious as to how life will be in the future, and what those will think of her life story.

“I wonder what this world will look like in 25, 50, 100 years when you’re reading the story [of my life],” she said.

De Vargas Nevius has breast cancer, and knows the importance of enjoying the little moments in life. That’s part of the reason she joined Jubilee’s community — it gave her a sense of peace and hope, and this latest project that brought the community together showed why she enjoys this place so much.

“When I came here, I found peace — you know, peace and tranquility,” she said. “And one of the things that they tell you when you’re diagnosed with something is to surround yourself with positive people in an environment that gives you that tranquility. It’s almost like meditation … walking around here and looking at the sunsets and looking at the mountains just gives you a sense of it’s OK.”

Sue Bulmer, whose birthday was on Dec. 31 — the day the time capsule was buried — wrote a letter, and added pictures of her two children and five grandchildren who live in other states.

She has a great-grandchild — her first — who was recently born whom she hasn’t met in person yet, and just over video chat. In her letter, she wrote about that, and ended the letter with a powerful statement.

“We haven’t been able to hold him or snuggle with him yet, but we do get to see him through Zoom. And so we got to see him learn to crawl and so I wrote all that,” Bulmer said. “ And then I ended the letter with the sentiment that we feel for everybody that has lost their jobs … The only thing that we blocked is time, and we can’t get that back, but we can pray for the future.”

Patti Tanis, another resident, put in magazines that included prices of different items so that in 20 years people can talk about “how cheap things are.” She also included a screwdriver with interchangeable bits because she said in the future she’s sure tools will look very different. She also included a pen because she wonders if people will be writing in the future?

“In 20 years, they’ll say, ‘Gee, things are only this much?’ I put a pen from a company that I worked for because I don’t even know if they’ll be writing with pencils or pens [in the future].”

Residents of Jubilee light a sky lantern on Dec. 31, shortly before the time capsule was buried at Jubilee Los Lunas.

Mayors from Los Lunas, Belen, Rio Communities and Bosque Farms put items in the capsule, too. Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova included a letter and items that described the happenings in the city in the year of the pandemic, he said.

The burying of the time capsule was also met with an opportunity to be part of a documentary being filmed by Eric Metzger, an award-winning documentarian, who thought it’d be a good idea to sum up his film, which is about what the country was like the last four years under President Donald Trump.

The film is a conglomerate of more than 25 cinematographers who’ve gone out to different portions of the country to film the everyday life of people under this presidency.

“There are a lot of letters, which I think is … it’s interesting because you hear in their voice, like in their own voice, what is happening in their life,” said one cinematographer, Linnea Langkammer.

Before the time capsule was buried, residents gathered around to hear Tom Lobb read a speech he wrote. He said goodbye to 2020, a year he deemed tumultuous in ways, but with the idea of moving forward and looking towards the future.

“We will each have different ways to remember or not remember 2020,” Lobb said. “Now looking forward to 2021, we hope for fewer illnesses and death; we hope for more civility especially in our relationships with each other; we hope more people will begin to care about others who are different — yes, even very different than themselves.

“We hope that red and blue can see each other as Americans who genuinely care about the future of this country; we hope for a time when things when return to normal — or at least a new normal.”

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