By Hannah Warner, age 17, Colorado
Manhattan, New York: 1965
“Miss, Miss Harper?” said the clerk, Mr. Honeylucks, who was dressed in a pressed white dress shirt and pressed black slacks. Clare looked over at his polished shoes and then up at his bright aqua bow tie.
“Yes? I beg your pardon, but I haven’t a faintest clue what you just spoke to me. Could you say it again?” She said in the most polite and well-mannered tone she could muster.
“Miss, do you plan on buying this?” Mr. Honeylucks said, motioning to the little black number in her hands. “Or is there something else that I can get you? Perhaps this lovely frock instead.” The clerk held out a wine-colored dress that had a full-bottom skirt. The top was a simple sweetheart neckline with cap sleeves.
Astonished at the sight of such a wonderful find, Clare exclaimed, “Yes, Mr. Honeylucks, I do believe you found the one.” After purchasing the dress, Clare went to her apartment and quickly rushed into her bedroom overlooking Washington Square in Manhattan. She peered out the window to see artists, photographers, and performers for the venue “I’m Here to See” in the park beginning in a little while. Dressing in her new frock, she fashioned her hair into an Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s style, slipped on her black leather patent shoes, grabbed her leather clutch, and left her apartment.
Once in the park, Clare looked around at the people attending the venue. Parents were watching their little ones enjoying themselves splashing around in the fountain. Couples were sitting sweetly together getting their picture taken under the George Washington Arch. There were the performers around the tree beds by the fountain. Singers singing with a guitar or small band. There were dancers and entertainers for the children, such as puppeteers who were scattered about. Clare went from singer to artist to singer/entertainer to painters. Then, thinking that she had worn out the newness of her frock, she started making her way back to the arch to find her way to her apartment building when a man tapped her shoulder. Abruptly, she turned around to see the man of her dreams. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and dressed in a formal tuxedo.
“Miss, would you mind if I took your picture?” He grabbed a camera out of his pocket and held it in his hand.
“No, I don’t mind at all. Where would you like me to stand?” When he told her where, she stood as he asked her, and he took several pictures of her. The flash of the camera was bright, and she was surprised by it with each click! When Clare made it home, she drowsily sashayed her way into her room and plopped herself on her bed. She went to sleep thinking about that man and how she wished to see him again.
Early next morning, Clare was at a newspaper stand to see a picture of herself on the cover. The header read, “Princess of Venue: I’m Here to See, Famous Oil Millionaire’s Daughter,” and the article was written by James Williams. Clare knew that somehow she would have to find the photographer before her whole life was turned around by the public’s recognition of her picture. Later in the afternoon, Clare walked downtown wrapped up in her black peacoat, red scarf, and cloche hat. She stopped at the intersection of Kennarith Drive and Orchid Road. There, she looked in at the nearest storefront and saw a photographer’s reflection—the camera was right behind her! The bright flash reflected in the glass made Clare jump.
Manhattan, New York: 2015
“Miss, are you all right?” he said as he looked at Clare as if she was of a high stature. All she could do was look up at him and blink. “Miss, if you are all right, can you speak?”
“Gladly,” she whispered.
“Great! I thought that we were going to have to make you go to the doctor. Are you able to stand?” She lifted herself up and off of the concrete sidewalk that she had been lying on. Her bones ached, and she had a stabbing pain in her side. Her head hurt as well but only a little.
“Excuse me, but I seem to have forgotten what has happened. Could you fill me in?”
“Of course. Well, you fainted and fell clean on the ground. It was quite graceful, you know. Anyway, no one was here to help, and I watched you do it from across the street, right over there.” He pointed, and Clare’s eyes traveled to see that it was a quaint coffee shop. It looked as if it had been transplanted there from the woods. There was a wooden door with a chalkboard sign hanging on it that read, “Come in! Cozy up by the fire and drink coffee…” It was an inviting picture. Yet here she was talking to a stranger, not remembering where.
“Where am I?” she asked the man.
“You are on Hyacinth Drive and Keefe Street.”
“Where exactly is that?”
“Next to an ocean, beside Manhattan.”
“Wait, is this Manhattan? In New York state?” Clare looked around, seeing the skyscrapers. “Is this…no, what year is it?”
“I think you hit your head pretty hard. It is 2015, the age of coffee kicks, drama flicks, and selfie sticks.”
“Oh. And rhyming tricks?” Clare was unsure about this man, and she was in shock with what had happened to her beautiful Manhattan. “When were all these buildings built? Last time I was here, they weren’t here.” She couldn’t believe that it was 2015. She thought to herself, I must have stepped on a movie set. What are selfie sticks?
The man looked at her, and his eyed traveled over her clothing. “Well, are you an actress for the movie A 1965 French Disaster?”
“No.” Clare had no idea what he was talking about. “Thank you for coming to see if I was all right, and I am. Now if you’ll excuse me…” She started walking off. Clare remembered that there were streets named Keefe Street and Hyacinth Drive next to her apartment complex, so she went searching. After an hour, Clare came upon her old building. It was in better shape than when she left this morning.
She walked to the main door, and it was in that afternoon she left. The beautiful oak doors, now painted white instead of stained a dark shade. Clare was astonished at the sight before her as she pushed the doors open. Barely passing between the two, she walked along the clean wooden halls and stairway floors. The walls were painted a creamy yellow trimmed with white molding. Her heels clicked along the floor as she made it to her door. On the white door, it read “Museum Entry.” Clare grabbed the door handle and slowly turned it. The door opened without sticking like it used to. As she went into the room, she pushed the door shut behind her. Since it was Sunday, the town and building were quiet. Once inside, she ran her hand along the wall to find the light switch. The lights turned on to reveal that her apartment had been renovated. There were no longer pictures of her family hanging on the walls but pictures of her as a baby, then a young child, a teen, and an adult. As she walked around and saw the pictures of her childhood, one picture stood out to her. It was of her when the Great Depression had ended. She remembered it clearly, her hand-me-down dress from her mother when she was a little girl. Then she moved onto when she was an older teenager. It was 1957; at age 17, she moved from the plains of Colorado to Manhattan to live with her aunt and her family. There, she aspired in the newspaper as a writer in common news issues, like superstores and elections. As Clare walked on to another set of pictures, she turned around to the wall that once was her bedroom door.
She looked at one picture to see herself that night she attended the venue “I’m Here to See.” It read under the picture, Manhattan, New York 1965 and underneath that, Clare Harper. She looked at the next picture, whose plaque read, Clare Harper actually found to be Clare Lawrence, daughter to the oil tycoon Jacob Lawrence and Bonnie Ozel Harper. Astonished at this, Clare bent over with a nauseous feeling and a headache. Clare moved to the next picture and stood back up to see it showing her in a wedding dress and a man in a suit outside a church. She read under the picture, Clare Harper Lawrence married in January 1967 to Liam Quentin in Manhattan, New York. Clare bent back over with the pains worsening. Then the door opened, and she heard footsteps. She stood away from the pictures to the figure who walked in. It was an older man with wrinkles and thinning hair. He wore clothes that were like hers and walked with a limp. When he saw her, he nearly tripped. Clare rushed over to him and helped steady him.
“Sir, are you okay?” she asked him. All he could do was stare at her.
“Dear, you’re back! How are you here, and so young?” He reached in his front pocket and grabbed out the picture of her staring into the glass storefront window with her enveloped in the bright flash from the camera that was used to take her picture in the park venue. When Clare was reminded of that moment, she slowly blinked her eyes, then fell to the floor.
Clare opened her eyes and shifted into a sitting position. As her eyes traveled across the room, she realized that she was in her living area. She stood up and walked to the window that overlooked Washington Square. There weren’t any people or artists down at the square. However, the closer she looked, she saw a silhouette of a man. She opened the window and leaned out.
“Hello!” she yelled to the man. “Are you looking for someone?”
He yelled back, and Clare could barely hear him. “Yeah, the girl who was here last night!”
“For what reason?” Clare asked, yelling louder.
“Because she is Clare Lawrence, the lost daughter of the oil tycoon millionaire Jacob Lawrence! Have you seen her?” he yelled to Clare Harper Lawrence, who knew that he was the photographer that took that infamous picture of her and lived in the year of 2015 without her.