love is blind
In early November, I was assigned to photograph Patricia Jefferson for a Thanksgiving story.
When I read the story summary, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
Patricia’s life seemed to contain elements of every photo story that I have ever done.
Where do I start?
Patricia is a 58-year-old woman who lives in a 2nd floor apartment on Chicago’s far west side. She is married to William and lives with their autistic adopted daughter Sherice, who turned 14 on my third visit.
In addition, Patricia resides with her niece and three of her children, one who is in a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy.
Over the past 30 plus years, Patricia has opened her home to three dozen foster children.
In the past year, Patricia declared bankruptcy and had her electricity shut off for a period of time. Her husband William, a recovering alcoholic recently totaled his pick-up truck leaving the couple without a vehicle.
On Sundays, Patricia attends a small storefront church where she is the assistant pastor.
And if that wasn’t enough, in 2008, Patricia lost her sight due to diabetes.
I thought to myself- this is a Thanksgiving story?
When I met Patricia, it all made sense. What an amazing woman!
From the first visit, I was able to make meaningful images.
The top photo above is a perfect example.
While Patricia and Sherice were sitting at the dining room table, Sherice reached over and placed her hand in almost a healing gesture over Patricia’s eyes. I snapped off two quick photos.
I asked Patricia about it later and she said that Sherice has been very concerned about her blindness even going as far as to licking her finger and gently touching Patricia’s eyes in hopes of healing her.
I know this story is about Patricia being thankful for the blessings in her life but I am equally thankful that I have been able to spend time with her and her family.
This is definitely one of those stories that won’t end upon publication. I definitely will be visiting the Jeffersons from time to time.
©2009 Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune