Today I was driving around town wondering about where I would end up–when suddenly I had an urge to visit one of my favorite local thrift stores–Books, Bikes & Beyond. (Which is a great non-profit thrift store offering many unique items, such as–clothing, home goods, bikes, knick knacks, small furniture, and electronics, but best of all, the books are always free! I highly recommend stopping by to support this movement when you find yourself in the Richmond area.) Since recently moving from South Florida, where you do not ever have to worry about street parking–which I am still trying to get the hang of. I drove around for about 15 minutes in search of parking. There were a few spots in front of the store, but I am not yet comfortable enough with parallel parking, to try to squeeze my way into a spot. After circling around a few times, I was about to give up on making it into the shop, but I decided I couldn't. I thought: "Maybe there is something in there I am meant to find!" I wound up parking down an alleyway 2 blocks away, and ended up really enjoying my time taking the more scenic route.
One of the reasons I love visiting Books, Bikes, & Beyond, which I failed to mention earlier, is for their Art Gallery display. They showcase a new artist each month, and the art is always fresh, unique, and eye-catching. Upon walking into the store, you will notice art all along the left side wall. Today I was drawn to a small plastic bin, with a picture of a beautiful smiling woman, which was taped to the front. The picture read:
Gigi Andresen Brothers 1956-2014
Within the bin, were many beautifully drawn pieces depicting the surrounding areas of Richmond. I immediately noticed many of my favorite neighborhoods, storefronts, and old vintage ghost signs. One ghost sign that is very special to me is the Uneeda Biscuit sign, located in Church Hill. While looking for neighborhoods to call home, in the Richmond area, we found Uneeda Biscuit for the very first time. After visiting almost every neighborhood twice, I finally said to my boyfriend, Brad: "I want to live near the Uneeda Biscuit sign!" Not only did this particular sign lead me to my love for Church Hill, but it was also the beginning of my love for photography.
So there I was, going through Gigi's art, quietly wishing for a drawing of the Uneeda Biscuit sign, when sudenly I got down to the second to last piece. I was standing there crossing my fingers, while closing my eyes real tight and softly whispering to myself:
I opened my eyes, looked down, and there it was! I was grinning from ear to ear, jumping for joy from the inside out, and completely feeling like I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
I could not help but feel that this piece of art was specifically left just for me. I am a very sensitive–sentimental—follow the signs—type of person. Some people may not understand how this could possibly be such a happy coincidence, but for me, it means everything. It makes me feel like I am heading the right direction in life. That everything will continue to add up and make sense, especially, if I keep my eyes open and look for the little signs. For it is the little signs and happy coincidences, that make life rich and full of meaning.
Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Gigi, but it is clear that she is very loved, and that she absolutely loved Richmond. I feel truly fortunate to hold a piece of her artwork in my possession.
Thank you Gigi!
Thank you for spreading your joy to the world through your beautiful artwork.
A tumbleweed soul, with the heart of an oak. Growing roots in Richmond, Virginia.