We love our house.  Old and in the city was everything we ever wanted.  Of course, this was before the dog and the children.

After giving birth to my first son, I was suffering from postpartum depression.  It felt like the walls of our beloved house were closing in on me.  Another son came four years later, and I knew I wouldn't continue to love our house with 1400 square feet and one bathroom.

We talked to the first architect in 2010 or so.  The plans were very different before the kids.  The current rendition of the house plans was finished last year.  A renovation is not a quick process, I have found.  Our architect advised us not to rush even though it would be frustrating.

Breaking ground on the house happened to coincide with a major shift in my work.  The destruction of our home was mirroring the destruction of everything I had thought I was building up.  Everything was a mess.

Slowly, I could see the creation of something better to come.  Everything is still a big mess but it feels more purposeful.  I'm hopeful.

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James (Terry) Terrence Simko

I don’t know where to begin so I’ll just start.  I come from a “broken” home.  My biological parents were only married for a very short portion of my 38 years.  Divorce isn’t easy.  Now that I’m a married adult with children, I can understand where both parents were coming from.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  Having four parents has given me benefits and advantages in my life and relationships.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Terry married my mother in 1991.  He used to be a priest which is kind of hysterical.  Both his family and mine dealt with this fact better than you would have thought considering the Catholic Church frowns upon this kind of thing.  I found it handy to have an expert in the family for any theological questions.  He had a Masters in Divinity which he implied gave him all the answers.  I believed him.

Terry bought me my first camera.  He encouraged me to pursue photography.  He bought me my first medium format camera for college and my first Hasselblad when I graduated from art school.  I don’t think I would be a photographer if it had not been for him.  I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.

Grandpa was one of Terry’s favorite roles.  I’m grateful he was able to know my children.  He loved them immensely.  He wanted to buy my kids a drum set but my mom managed to prevent it from happening.  He found it hysterical that I would be driven insane by the noise.  I plan on buying it myself.  The ruckus will make me think of Terry and my boys will love it.

I often witness the first breath of life being a birth photographer.  Somehow supporting in the birth space prepared me for the death space.  It’s not too different, really.  Life is just a series of transitions made easier by those holding the space surrounding you.  I’m trying to find the beauty in the experience but grief has a funny way of controlling your mind.

Goodbye forever is never easy.  It is terrible and beautiful when you are lucky enough to have cared deeply about someone and they are gone.  The space they occupied in your heart can never be filled.  

Terry didn’t want an obituary published so I’ll leave out his date of birth and death as well as those he left behind.  This is just a story of who he was to me.

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Ira Katz

Little Five Points pharmacy opened it’s doors in 1981.  It is one of the few remaining independent pharmacies around these days.  The owner, Ira, is originally from Brooklyn.  He said he just wanted to get out of New York.  

Ira knew I was having trouble getting pregnant with my first child.  He sees the prescription for Clomid.  And as he hands me the bag holding the pills, he says, “good luck, kiddo” and gives me a comforting smile.  Ira was there when I ran out of needles during my fertility treatments to get pregnant with my second child.  He doesn’t even charge me for them.  And most recently, he helps me to find an iron supplement I can tolerate after my hysterectomy.  Once I was settled into healing at home, Ira calls me and makes sure I am okay.  “Take it easy, kiddo,” he says with compassion.

One employee of the Little Five Points Pharmacy has worked there for 25 years, and another has known Ira since she was four years old.  This is the community of Little Five Points.  I could get my antibiotics for free at Publix.  I never will, though.

You can fill your prescriptions, buy a leg brace, rent a DVD, or buy a helium balloon at Little Five Points pharmacy.  You can get advice about a rash or seek out a holistic remedy for your allergies.  In the end, you go to Ira’s pharmacy for the people.

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