Creative mementoes enhance capsules

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

Friday they opened that time capsule from 1957. Now really, if you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it?

I’d put in some music of the day: Sheryl Crow, 50 Cent, George Strait, All-American Rejects; you know, a cross section.

An aerial photo of Clovis would be good so people could see what the city looked like in 2007.

How about some restaurant menus so they could see what we ate?

Well, those are just some of the ideas I had.

What did the men from 1957 put in their time capsule? Would there be pictures from around town? Letters from school kids of the time? Was the time capsule big enough to hold some Buddy Holly or Elvis records?
We wouldn’t know any of this until the thing was cracked open.

The capsule was pulled from its resting place at Fourth and Mitchell and hauled into the city’s main fire station.

I learned a few things. For instance, the fire station has a machine shop. Who knew? I didn’t think you’d find a machine shop in a fire station.

I wondered why there was a machine shop and no firehouse Dalmatian.

Anyway, our messenger from the past was covered in thick scabs of brown-orange rust. It was a large section of pipe with a screw-on cap.

Now in that firehouse machine shop are two of the most humongous wrenches I have ever seen. These wrenches, along with a sledgehammer, were used to wrestle the top off the time capsule.

Another thing that struck me about the ceremony was the number of people there whose family roots run deep in the Clovis community.

Amidst all the busy-ness of our town with the ups and downs of Cannon Air Force Base, those of us who come and go, those of us who decide to stay, there are folks who have always lived here — folks who remember when the northern edge of the city was 21st Street, who remember when the Norman Petty Recording Studios was hopping and other little things us newcomers have no idea about.

When the capsule was opened I have to admit I was just a little disappointed there wasn’t anything fun in there. No pop culture mementos, no Lone Ranger six-shooter, no restaurant menus, just some straightforward stuff.

There were two Clovis News-Journal editions and some documents.

Then I remembered this was a time capsule from the Eisenhower era or the time I fondly refer to as “When Men Wore Hats,” meaning fedoras not Stetsons.

Now I’m looking at the Sunday edition of the Clovis News Journal and here’s an editorial on what to put in our next time capsule.
The suggestions include photos, a copy of the 100th anniversary history book and DVD along with a laptop computer so the DVD can be played, a cell phone and a bottle of bourbon.

My suggestion would be mp3 files of the 50 most popular songs of the past year and an iPod to play them, a “Hokey-Pokey Elmo,” a “Boo-bah” toy, and audio files of Clovis folks of 2007 saying “Howdy” to the folks who open it.
Time capsule.

The phrase conjures up all kinds of images. And now, for us in Clovis, it means a messenger from our time to another era.
What would you put in it?

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: