As I walked by Cafe Clasico, a woman seated in an alcove addressed me. Immediately her light gray hair stood out with the dark background and I was interested. She asked me for financial assistance to spend a night in a shelter. The request was no surprise, but her location at the restaurant was. As usual, I made a 'deal.' Laura was happy to be photographed.
As a child, she lived in Central Islip, NY, just a few miles from where I had lived. Laura has been homeless in Sarasota for 5 years. As we spoke, I slowly realized that I had met, and photographed her before. A couple of winters ago on a cold morning, I met her while she wore a hooded coat. I never saw her hair.
I later went into the restaurant and ordered a bowl of soup. When it came, I told the waiter to take bowl out to Laura, put it on my tab, and not tell her where it came from. A few minutes later the befuddled waiter said that she had already eaten and was no longer hungry. Go figure.
Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing project.