Collecting 1950’s: The Case of the Missing Pennant

Retro Dee is a regular contributor to The Grooveyard’s website, writing about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s.  Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.

Hi folks! Welcome to a Special Edition of Collecting 1950’s!

I thought we’d start the New Year off with a little mystery… that’s always fun.

If you’ve ever read my Collecting 1950’s segment, (and you should have! 🙂 ) you know that one of my vintage collections is pennants. I’m not a serious, die hard, pennant collector by any means. But now and then I like to pick up a vintage pennant from a place that has some kind of meaning to me. Why pennants? Well, simple. Pennants are undoubtedly one of the more iconic items from that era and they’re fun to collect!

In December of 2019, I saw a beautiful vintage Clovis, New Mexico pennant for sale online. If you don’t know, Clovis, NM is where American Musician Norman Petty had his studio, Petty Studios. Norman Petty was the manager for Buddy Holly and The Crickets. Many of their most famous recordings were made there such as “That’ll Be The Day” (recorded on February 25, 1957) and “Peggy Sue” (recorded on July 2, 1957).

So when I saw a vintage pennant from Clovis, New Mexico was up for grabs online at a decent price, I knew I had to have it.

A lot has gone on in the past year, and not just in the world; in my house! I’ve been cleaning, sorting, rearranging etc… etc… and one day it dawned on me that I never got my Clovis New Mexico pennant. I didn’t contact the seller because I wasn’t sure if A) The pennant never arrived or more likely B) It arrived, but somehow got lost in the shuffle. I for sure did not want to trouble the seller if it wasn’t their fault. In fact, I didn’t want to dwell on it at all. So much has happened, and getting upset over a little thing like a pennant seemed trivial. So I all but forgot about it.

Fast forward to December 28, 2020. My family and I were cleaning up a few things after Christmas. My Dad was going to run to the post office with a couple of return packages. There was a white envelope on the chair in the foyer and he asked, “What’s that? Is that going out?”

The envelope was flat, so I just assumed it was empty. “No,” I said. “It’s an empty envelope.” But when I picked it up, I realized it was sealed. Thinking it was the Christmas stocking I ordered for my cat (which was due to arrive late), I said “Oh… It’s Holly’s stocking,” and opened the envelope. But when I looked inside, I was shocked to not see a stocking, but the Clovis New Mexico pennant I’d ordered over a year ago!

“What?!” I gasped. “It’s my Clovis New Mexico pennant! The one that never arrived!”

I thought I was seeing things. I took it out of the envelope and it’s in great condition, just like it appeared online. I wondered how it ended up on the chair in the foyer. So I did some investigating.

“Mom,” I said. “Did you put a white envelope on the chair in the foyer?”

“Yeah,” she answered. “It’s empty.”

“No,” I said. “It wasn’t. I just opened it. It was the pennant I ordered a year ago!”

Mom was just as perplexed as I was. She said, “How can that be?”

“Well, where did you get the envelope?” I asked.

“I got two envelopes out of the stack of empty ones in the garage,” she replied. “I used the smaller one for the ring I’m returning, but I didn’t need the other one.”

“So you put it on the chair?”

“Yes,” she said. “I thought it was empty.”

“It wasn’t empty. It was sealed,” I said, smiling. “I thought it was Holly’s stocking, but when I opened it, it was this,” I held up the pennant. “The pennant of Clovis New Mexico that never arrived!”

“But how did it get into the garage?” Mom asked.

Good question. And I have an answer. I must have stacked the envelope that had the unopened pennant in it with the opened envelopes that we recycle to use again to mail things. Since it was flat, it easily fit, and the fact that something was in it went undetected.

The postmark on the envelope was December 30, 2019. It must have arrived sometime a few days after, right around the New Year. When it arrived, I stashed it in my room, planning to open it, but I never got around to it. It subsequently got shuffled into a pile of used envelopes that were brought down to the garage for later re-use.

It sat there for almost a year.

When Mom went into the garage to get an envelope to return her ring, she brought up two envelopes, not knowing which would fit the box better. One envelope was the small one, which she used. The other, contained the pennant, still sealed inside.

Not needing the extra envelope, she stuck it on the chair in the foyer, meaning to bring it back down to the garage later. That’s when I discovered it and realized it was sealed.

Thinking it was Holly’s stocking, I opened it, and voila! The missing pennant. I ended up opening it at last on December 28, 2020, nearly a year later.

So there you have it! The case of the missing pennant is SOLV-ED!

Except, I still don’t know what era it’s from. 40’s, 50’s, 60’s? Probably not much past the 60’s. It’s my second favorite in my collection after the Lubbock High School one.


The vintage Clovis New Mexico pennant that I finally found & opened!

So I’ve learned two things. One, open something immediately when you get it. And two, don’t give up if something goes missing. You never know when it might show up!

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