A year or so ago I found four vintage Star Wars character Christmas lawn decorations at a yard sale off of Allen Ave. for $20. I surprised my sci-fi fan husband with them and they’ve since graced our lawn on California and Los Robles for two holiday seasons.
By Talia Dinwiddie
This year in particular we have seen smiling families walking by with curious kids and dogs, and even passersby in cars taking photos and enjoying their whimsical presence.
No strangers to using our busy corner to offer the neighborhood info and joy, we hung large, positively messaged signs in our window during quarantine. We were proud to spread such holiday cheer. This past Saturday morning we were saddened to find three of the four characters missing.
As I posted for help on the local Buy Nothing group, Ring, and Nextdoor, I noticed two trends. Most of the respondents were as sad as we were to hear of their theft, but a small faction took a different stance. “I knew those would be stolen.” “I am not surprised; California is such a high crime area.” “You can’t leave decor out; this world is getting too bad.” I couldn’t believe it. Was our own naivete to blame for our misfortune? We refused to adopt this belief system, that if you try to do ‘good’, someone ‘bad’ will repay you for it.
We continued to hope for their return and to keep our eyes peeled around the city. Monday night, our hope was vindicated by a surprising and colorful message from a neighbor on social media. “Ms. Dinwiddie, I just saw your post, I want you to know I purchased these characters from a homeless person last night, and I’d love to get them back to you and your family.” Here was another opportunity to lean into suspicion, could this be a further scam? We chose to maintain our optimistic ethos, and were rewarded for it by a safe meetup and the return of our intergalactic Christmas decor.
The boys are back on the lawn, and our hearts are full of gratitude and cheer. Stay hopeful this season, and do your best to be someone’s reason for believing.
Talia Dinwiddie is a long time Pasadena resident. She owns Maryvine Street, a photography studio on Foothill Blvd.
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