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In memory of Richard,

who died much too young.

It was certainly a different time, wasn't it, those years just after the war when life was golden and happy for those who had survived it. We had lost an entire generation of young men who died so we could sit on a beach and splash in the water and have sandwiches on the sand. How was it that everything had worked out so well for both of us? We had money, we had friends, we had three golden children and we had each other. And everyone was so young.

-- Sarah

THE HOUSE SAT LANGUIDLY UPON A HILL overlooking a little sliver of beach next to their own private stretch of ocean. It sat on seven acres of land filled with well-tended fruit trees, shrubbery, flowering plants and a courtyard dominated by a giant lemon tree that provided shade in the afternoons of the hottest summer days.

There had been so many happy times in that house -- so many one could never have accurately recounted them all. Rich, famous, poor, unknown, they were all welcomed there and all held memories that would never diminish -- even with the passage of time.

The house was not new. It had been built some years before by an exiled Spanish count, paid for by a cache of diamonds some say had been given him by a spurned lover. In its day, it was a stunning colonial showplace -- but its day had passed many years ago; its previous inhabitant living out the remainder of his sad life alone, surrounded only by the echoes of happier times and memories of people who died long before he did.

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