On this very special day devoted to honoring our Mothers, I would like to take the time to do just that. My Mother was truly my best friend…she was the woman I was named after (which is a lot of pressure but what a gift!)…she was the woman who watched me when I first saw the photography from a “real” camera and worked very hard so that I would have one as a Christmas present…and she was such great fun to be with! My Mother was a gatherer. She loved adventures and the more people who could be a part, the better. She showed me by her example how to embrace it all, appreciating the good times and facing the most difficult challenges with true courage.
In the heart of Kensington, one can find drug addicts under the “L” but one can also find the birthing of possibility and new beginnings. One man is putting everything on the line for exactly that. Ed Zapetelli, a former drug addict himself, has taken his life savings and is in the process of refurbishing abandoned buildings in order to provide both shelter and AA support to others struggling with addictions. He calls these buildings, “The Last Stop.”
“In order to keep sobriety, you need to give it away.”
“Eddie Z” as he is known in the neighborhood is doing much of the work himself. Throughout the gutted buildings, inspirational messages and pictures help him continue on.
“We have a long way to go but at least people don’t have to sleep on the streets.”
John was an addict who lived on the streets for 15 years.
“I was the guy you would see on the corner with the big, bushy beard and was rancid until Eddie Z found me on the rail tracks when I lost all hope.”
“I wasn’t easy at all but Eddie stuck with me.”
John is now in charge of running the Last Stop Clubhouse and has been sober for 4 years.
“There is hope!”
Tonight, the History Channel will be showing a film, “Angels and Demons Decoded”…Tom Hanks’ character is based on a true genus of creativity here in Philadelphia, John Langdon. I had the opportunity to spend time and photograph him at work. My images will be in the feature tonight. Since my Mother was the first one to place a camera in my hand, I hope on this day, I and my work will continue to honor her!