A week ago, while running errands, I drove passed Vintage Treasures and Antiques in Arcadia, California and did a double-take. A wooden bureau painted half blue and half yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, was front and center on the sidewalk for drivers and passersby to see this showing of solidarity for the unthinkable war taking place in Ukraine. The image tugged at my heart, and I wanted to stop to take a photo. But there was no parking and traffic was moving too fast. On the way back from my errand I drove by the shop again, but it had just closed. I lost my chance.
Two days ago, while running errands, I drove passed the vintage shop again. I didn’t see the painted bureau, but instead was moved by a bright yellow and blue sign, “Prayers for Ukraine” hanging on a tree. Below it, a flowing yellow scarf was tied to an empty blue birdcage symbolizing freedom.
I immediately parked and went inside to ask the shop owner if it would be all right for me to take photos. From the rear of the store, Raquel McLaughlin, the owner, excitedly motioned for me to come to her desk where she was looking at her computer. “Look, that’s us!” she said pointing at the screen. At that moment, ABC7.com was reporting on how the “San Gabriel Valley hopes to help people of Ukraine heal with unique art and power of prayer.”
This unexpected encounter was beyond a coincidence I felt. I softly touched Raquel on the shoulder acknowledging her heartfelt message to the community.
As I was taking photos outside, Raquel came out of the shop to walk her dog. Before moving on, she said, “Oh, let me get the chest…”
Hidden by a clothes rack, she pulled out the blue and yellow wooden chest I thought I would never see again.
See the emotional yet uplifting news piece by clicking the link below.