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

TITLE: Clover Court
By Lisa Graham


Enormous cars with out-of-state plates and radios blaring Doris Day and Sinatra cruised the two-lane blacktop. Expectations were up and windows were down. Chilly northern winters were but a distant memory, in the balmy Florida summer during the early fifties.

My husband’s older brothers often speak fondly of that era when their parents owned the Clover Court cottages, in Ormond Beach, and the many childhood memories tied with a family business catering to weary travelers making their way South down State Road A1A to Miami. The rambunctious boys were fascinated by their guests, who came from all over the country to enjoy sun, sand and surf.

Stories of their boyhood escapades intrigued me as did a black-and white photograph of a beautiful young mother playing with two children in the shadows of a cottage, while a stylishly dressed man shook hands with another leaning against a Chevrolet, amid a backdrop of sky and ocean. With each story, Clover Court became more of a real place to me. Torn down years ago in the name of progress, it was still a destination I wanted to see for myself, where I hoped to secure a tangible reminder of my visit.

My journey began on a cold, damp January morning. I typed eleven letters, “C-L-O-V-E-R-C-O-U-R-T,” in the eBay search box, pressed ENTER, and anxiously waited, hoping to discover five pieces of memorabilia – one for each brother – as a surprise gift for Father’s Day.

Search engines remind me of huge flashlights, spanning the globe, scouring nooks and crannies of attics, basements, and old barns on seven continents. Day after day, week after week, I typed the letters, held my breath, hoping against hope, only to be disappointed. I tried different variations of words, phrases, letters, even misspellings, searching for the right combination. Surely, someone somewhere had “Clover Court” proudly emblazoned on a brochure, postcard, or remnant of a special place from long ago. Weeks turned into months. Father’s Day was approaching. I was looking for a needle in a haystack.

Patience has never been my forte, and I believe God is often trying to teach me about waiting for things to happen on His timetable, not mine. Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope,” (NIV) and these words are such an encouragement for me. For many years, I prayed that God would bring the “right man” into my life, and He did . . . when I was thirty-five years old! So, if the elusive treasure was meant to be found, it would have to be on God’s terms.

One day in March, I queued up the website and waited . . . JACKPOT! A 3x5 chrome postcard, described as: “Unused, Very Good to Very Good+ with tiny corner/facial wear.”

I seized the keyboard, typing madly, entering my bid quick as flash. Then the waiting began once more . . . six days, twenty-one hours before auction’s end. Like a hawk, I zeroed in on the prey, constantly on alert, fully prepared to duel if a bidding war ensued. Satan loves to plant doubt, but God always prevails. The auction ended with success! I was the only bidder. Waiting began anew while the postcard was shipped from New Mexico to our home in Florida. Only heaven knows the many miles it has traveled over the five decades . . . now, it was embarked upon a journey back to us.

The postcard is pristine, as though a traveler had saved it for pasting into a scrapbook or dashing off a “Wish You Were Here” to envious family and friends. Comprised of two photos, it has an ocean view framed by a picture window, but the second picture is amazingly the same photo, in living color, as our black-and-white copy! The handsome couple featured in the photos was my in-laws.

Sadly, we lost the elegant lady just a few years ago, and him before her, but this special little postcard seemed to bring them back to life again, when they were young, and the days were as endless as the blue skies above the Atlantic.

My journey back to Clover Court has only just begun. The search continues . . .

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany09/05/05
Good descriptive detail! I can imagine how exciting it would be to find that connection with the past!
Jan Ackerson 09/07/05
Good job building up suspense, and leading to the climax of your story.
Anita Neuman09/07/05
Excellent entry!
Julianne Jones09/09/05
Very enjoyable! Well done. Thanks for sharing.
Shari Armstrong 09/09/05
What a great story! I love it!!! I could see all the cars cruising up and down the streets -love classic cars :) The first paragraph was well done.
Shirley Thomas09/11/05
Thanks for sharing a beautiful story. I enjoyed it! Well done!