Tiny Time Capsule

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

“I tossed this behind the wall so that maybe in the future someone would see it. Obviously if you’re reading it you’ve seen it. I don’t know how old it is but you do.”

Bryan Dibble, it seems, always enjoyed history, even when he didn’t realize it.

An art major at Pacific University back in the late 1980s, Dibble penned this missive on a piece of notebook paper, along with a sketch of then-professor Joe Frazier. He squirreled the note away, somewhere in Clark Hall, where it was discovered this summer during construction, 26 years later.

“That’s hilarious!” wrote Dibble, contacted in Washington, where he is — surprise — a history teacher. “I’m still doing these drawings today and stuffing them in holes. … From messages in a bottle to notes in a wall, it’s all part of the fun we can have with the passage of time.

“You know, look at the PU campus, lots of history there, and I guess the place prompted me to leave the message. Think about the thousands of people who crossed these paths before we did. More than anything else, Pacific just has that feel.”

The original note says, “This is a prof who teaches/taught history. I always got bored during classes.”

Frazier taught history at Pacific for 24 years, retiring in 1992 with professor emeritus status. He died in 2011 at age 85.

Today, Dibble explains that he enjoyed the classes but didn’t imagine then that they would lead to a career.

“I wasn’t bored in history class,” he said, “but that time was tough because I’d sent artwork to every publisher in the country, and was seeing the market for cartoonists dry up before my very eyes. The transition to another career was happening as I drew that quick cartoon and it was only a matter of time.”

He ended up leaving Pacific and ultimately finishing his education in Washington, where he received a bachelor’s degree in, yes, history, and a master’s of education. He has spent the last 20 years teaching middle school, and he’s also an avid collector of military history with a side business making World War II reproductions.

“One regret was not finishing my degree at PU, but I turned out OK all the same, so it was meant to be,” he wrote. “However, Pacific holds a prominent place in my path to where I'm at now, I wouldn’t be the same without it.”