Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group                                Charlotte Gray of Whimsies holds a gift that will fulfill a girl’s wish in a letter to Santa. (Photo by Maria Matson / Whidbey News-Times)

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group Charlotte Gray of Whimsies holds a gift that will fulfill a girl’s wish in a letter to Santa. (Photo by Maria Matson / Whidbey News-Times)

Merchants work together to brighten girl’s Christmas

It was a whimsical guitar that caught a little girl’s eye, and the heart-felt letter that followed touched more than one person’s heart.

Dina Koehn of Dina’s Great Finds has set up a letter-writing station inside her Oak Harbor shop for young children to write to Santa after her daughter suggested the idea.

She wasn’t expecting the letter than followed.”

“She comes in and this is what she wrote,” Dina said, holding up a letter scrawled in blue crayon. “She was 9 or 10.”

The letter pleaded to Santa for a hand-painted, pink and purple guitar that cost $65 from the neighboring shop, Whimsies.

“My dad has cancer and I really want this gatar (sic),” Anya Dyche wrote. “… We’ll never have the money for it, so for Christmas this year, I really hope you can get it for me.”

After the girl and her mom left, Koehn discovered the letter and decided she had to investigate further. With a bit of online stalking, she eventually located the mom online, she said.

“(The mom) said, ‘yes that was me, and (my daughter) hasn’t stopped talking about the guitar.’”

Dyche told Koehn that they had indeed been going through a difficult time dealing with cancer.

Koehn made her mind up to raise the funds to grant the girl’s wish this year.

She wanted to make it a group effort.

Koehn was able to get her neighboring stores to participate, including Oak Harbor Gelato & Espresso, The Jewelry Gallery, several artists at the Garry Oak Gallery and the Noe Jose Cafe.

“Basically every shop in this mall, which is what I wanted to do,” Koehn said. “It’s a great community”

Whimsies owner Charlotte Gray was surprised and pleased when Koehn told her about the young girl who wanted the guitar so much. She took the guitar off the shelf and wrapped it up to save it for the girl.

“It was all Dina’s idea,” Gray said. “(Anya’s) going to come in next Friday”

Noe Jose Cafe owner Jose Ochoa said he was glad to be able to contribute to the guitar fund.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said.

Ochoa said he hopes that this could perhaps turn into an annual tradition — the local stores banding together to make a young child or two happy.

Photo provided. This is the guitar that 9-year-old Anya will receive.

Photo provided. This is the guitar that 9-year-old Anya will receive.

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group                                The letter that started it all.

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group The letter that started it all.

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