Caroline Jones
Contributing Writer

Many try to keep in touch with childhood friends through Facebook and other social media sites. Others may be more proactive with text group chats or annual meetings– though these are rare. Growing interests in different directions and having different experiences tend to cause old friends to grow apart. This was not the case for Charlotte pals Erica Limas and Michelle Henry.
Erica is the owner of Evelyn Bay Coffee in downtown Charlotte– a family business. Michelle recently retired from the health department. Erica spoke of her, saying she has known Michelle her whole life and they have been close friends since they were in school together.
During the pandemic, Michelle helped Erica to make sure that guidelines were followed, giving her updates as the MDHHS made changes, to help Erica stay open. Erica said that even when someone had tried to report her, Michelle had reminded her that she did not need to worry because she was doing everything according to the rules.
Due to their long friendship and Michelle’s artistic ability, it makes sense that Erica entrusted the new wall art in Evelyn Bay to her friend. Erica knew what she wanted, and Michelle gave just that. “I want everyone to be happy here. I want them to come here if they are having a bad day and leave with that feeling gone.” And that is what the art conveys. Erica requested images like peace signs and other symbols of the free-spirited hippies mixed with the logo for Evelyn Bay and other connections to coffee. The art contains muted reds and pinks as well as brown and oranges, all blending to capture the feelings and the hues of a different time.
When I asked what her favorite part of the mural was, Erica explained that she requested the Volkswagen van and sees it as a focal point for the walls, but that she could not choose a favorite as there is too much to see. “When you stand out there you always notice something new.” This is true as even looking at the van, there is more to see within it. There are mushrooms, hearts, flowers and more, decorating its exterior.
The mural is located in the hallway leading to Evelyn Bay from the back entrance. Evelyn Bay is located at 134 S Cochran Ave in Charlotte and open Monday through Friday from 7 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The next time an old friend is in town or some friends from high school want to get together, invite them to coffee or lunch at Evelyn Bay to enjoy what two old friends have accomplished in their mutual respect for art. Maybe even make a game of a scavenger hunt with all the hidden treasures that the mural has to offer.