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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Postcards (08/29/05)

TITLE: Lost and Found
By
08/31/05


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I could not find the picture, the picture of me. I really loved that picture. My suntanned face and big smile that reached from ear to ear was a true reflection of the happy little girl I used to be. I needed the reminder.

I looked through all the photograph albums and in the old shoeboxes filled with pictures of brother, sister, mother, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I came up empty in so many ways. I settled for another picture that showed a younger, happier me, but not the joyous child that I longed to see.

I was convinced that I had seen that picture in a photograph album about a year ago when I had been at my mother’s house for a visit. Somehow, it had vanished from the page. I congratulated myself silently that I was willing to settle for another picture, but, just the same, I asked my mother to keep looking for the missing picture, and, if she found it, to mail it to me. I hoped that maybe it was not lost after all, only misplaced.

Remembering one place that neither of us had looked, my mother went back to her bedroom and returned with a box of photographs. In it, there were pictures of my mother’s brothers, sisters, mother, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles. There was not one picture of the suntanned, smiling me.

Then, I saw it, a picture postcard. The postmark was Rockford, Illinois, dated 1910. This was in the early days of the twentieth century when men wore high-collared shirts and dark suits and sat stiffly in high-backed chairs to have their pictures made. My grandfather looked so handsome sitting there.

I turned over the postcard and found that it was addressed to his future bride, my grandmother, who was living in a small Kentucky town. My grandfather was working for the railroad far away from home. I speculated that he was probably lonely because once when he told me about visiting Chicago during his railroading days, he stated, “Chicago was no place for a country boy.”

I found something completely unexpected when I read what he had written. Instead of a short bit of prose, there was a tender poem. Instantly, I knew something about my grandfather that I had never known before. He was a writer, and not only a writer; he was a poet. This hardworking, no-nonsense farmer wrote words of love on the back of a picture postcard.

In that moment, my admiration and feeling of kinship with my grandfather deepened. I pondered that perhaps we shared a poet’s soul. I found a treasure in that picture postcard, and, oddly enough, I found something else. I found a picture of myself.


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This article has been read 748 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/07/05
This is truly lovely, but I found myself wanting to read the poem on the postcard. Maybe a re-write could include it?
Anita Neuman09/07/05
I really enjoyed this! Good work.
Shari Armstrong 09/07/05
This is great -reminds me of the poem my Grandpa wrote to Grandma for their first Valentine's together before they got married. Grandma found it a few years ago. Like I told my sister, "Never knew he had it in him!" Grandpa was an old farmer too :)
Julianne Jones09/09/05
I was a little confused thinking the postcard was a picture of you at first and wondering how old you were! Duh! Lovely links between past and present (when I finally sorted it out). I too would have loved to have seen the poem. Keep writing.
Brandi Roberts09/09/05
Truly beautiful. Loved the ending. Thanks for sharing!
Debra Brand09/09/05
Very nice story. I would tighten up the 'was' words. Makes you think about your own past.
Lisa Graham09/11/05
Very sweet, precious story - you were in search of one thing, and found an even greater treasure!