Nightly News   |  April 05, 2014

From the Grave, Wife Captures Time, Love in a Bottle

A husband receives a time capsule his wife left for their family decades ago without his knowledge.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, inside the walls of a phoenix home, a look at the past almost a half century later. a time capsule details a different world and it's the remarkable discovery of who left it behind that's unearthing even more memories tonight. joe dana from our phoenix affiliate kpnx has the story.

>> reporter: sometimes in life we draw up blueprints but fate has other plans.

>> wow. i just think i'm going to value things differently.

>> reporter: that lesson hit home recently for john murray . while knocking down walls of this 1950s four bedroom john discovered the contents of a partially opened time capsule .

>> i've never seen anything like this.

>> reporter: there was a photo and an open letter written for a future generation.

>> the time capsule is being buried on september 27th , 1966 .

>> the message pinned by a 33-year-old betty.

>> the vietnam war is still going on. racial situation very serious. boys have long hair resulting from the beatle craze.

>> reporter: it turns out betty's husband bruce , now 79 years old lives in scottsdale. as john presented the contents to the time capsule to bruce , it was all new to him.

>> this is what we found and there's a picture there.

>> reporter: bruce was unaware his wife left this behind in their own home. betty followed politics closely.

>> republican candidate for president.

>> reporter: and then bruce realizes the date the letter was written.

>> on september 27th , that's my birthday.

>> reporter: the letter would become a delayed birthday gift to bruce . ten years after she deposited the time capsule in the walls of her home, betty died in a car crash .

>> i don't know how i did it. went back to work within a week.

>> reporter: for a few moments on this afternoon, this letter would unearth old memories.

>> that's where we met, in oak park .

>> reporter: each sentence prompting a precious recollection.

>> and she was so smart.

>> reporter: time capsules provide observations about politics and culture but bruce says if there's a message here, it's to value who you love because as bruce will tell you, things don't always go as planned.

>> we had the best marriage. not once did we argue about anything.

>> reporter: for nbc news, joe dana, scottsdale, arizona.