Loaves & Fishes | Sacramento | 2017 | Andrea Mendale Brown
Six months ago, I photographed Andrea and many other men for Father’s Day at Loaves & Fishes but he never saw his portrait. Little did I know during that Father’s Day photo session that Andrea and I would meet up again. His big laugh and smile and humor are infectious. “Hey, do you have the photo of me from Father’s Day?” Andrea asked as he sat down on the worn wooden library chair under the broad light of our makeshift studio. “Yes, I have the photo. Here, take a look.” I pulled out my phone and found the photo, “Here, take a look.”
Although Andrea’s photo was on the loaves & Fishes website, many homeless don’t have access to on-line resources. He hadn’t seen it posted.
“I look the same, that’s the Father’s Day photo, right? I didn’t have a haircut or a shave. That’s why I left my hat on, too, probably. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up, and I’m trying to get home to Colorado. I’d love to give this photo to my kids.”
“I will get your photos for your kids.” I said as Andrea handed the phone back to me.
Andrea looked up, “I graduated from East High school–I grew up in Park Hill. The big concrete gates to City Park–that was our backyard. Did I have a beautiful neighborhood and life? The golf course, the museum, the planetarium, the zoo, that was our backyard and I still have memories and dreams of that house. Those were beautiful times.”
Andrea and I talked about home, about Colorado. I’m from Colorado, too, and we shared a lot of the same feelings about our hometown. We talked about our small memories of Elitch Gardens and the giant wooden roller coaster that had been sheer terror and exhilaration. Riding it was a rite of passage for young men.
We found some common ground from our childhoods and of the experience growing up in the paradise of Denver, Colorado. It’s times like these when I find someone from this time and place from Denver that I miss my home. It makes me wonder what really makes a home. It makes me think of family and friends and the collective memories of everyone that has come and gone before me. From my time at Loaves & Fishes I know this: family is where you find it and home can be carried in your heart.