Today, I smiled at a recollection that I had about a fellow Sharon Police Officer. His name was Jim Testa He served the community of Sharon for many years.
When I was about ten years old, back in 1966, I was sitting on the steps of my grandfather’s house at 140 South Main Street. About three houses further down on South Main Street, I could make out some teenage kids propping up a big sheet of plywood. On the plywood were large sloppy letters that spelled out “TESTA” in yellow house paint. My dad, also a Sharon Police Officer for many years, came outside and sat next to me. I heard him chuckle when he saw what the teenagers were propping up to face southbound traffic on Main Street. I asked my dad what that sign meant. In typical Andy Griffith small town police vernacular, he explained, “Johnny, that sign means that somebody’s life may be saved today.”
You see Jimmy Testa had a reputation for stopping cars in town. Without knowing it, those teenagers were doing exactly what Officer Testa wanted. They were slowing down traffic and making the Sharon streets safer because of it. Jim Testa probably saved numerous lives without knowing it, simply by being a good street cop.
Jimmy was a gruff ex-Boston cop who you knew not to mess with. What the community of Sharon also knew, was that Jim Testa had a big smile and an even bigger heart. In later years, I would recall Jim Testa as one of Sharon’s first detectives, decked out in a lime green polyester leisure suit of the 70’s. But mostly, I remember him as the tough but friendly cop that used to hang out at my uncle Italo Bendinelli’s store in the center of Sharon and I also remember him as dad’s friend.
Over the years, and particularly since becoming a member of the Sharon Police Force, I have heard numerous old “war stories” involving men like Jimmy. Some of those stories are funny, some are poignant He once climbed a scaffolding and risked his own life to save a despondent man when he worked for Boston. He was a true hero. I also heard stories whereby Jimmy helped numerous people out of bad situations.
James Testa served the town well as a faithful servant in blue. He will be missed. Men like him make me proud to be part of the history of the Sharon Police Department. I believe Jimmy will see that big “TESTA” sign welcoming him to heaven…. holding it will be angels representing the lives he saved through his service to the town of Sharon.
Sharon Police Lieutenant John Ford
James Testa served on the Sharon PD from 1962 to 1985 (retiring as a Detective Patrolman) with great pride and dignity. He recently passed away.
Recently I had a special photo session. Before the session when my client and I talked on the phone, she asked me how to get to Sharon. We chatted a little bit more and she told me about her home office that she works out of as an herbal nutritionist. I knew immediately that I had to go to her instead. When you can get the environment that someone works in in the portrait, it can really tell more about the person. Her office, located in her family farm house, sounded very attractive to me.
My client requested having someone to do her hair and makeup. If you have seen me up close, you know that would not be me. Give me five minutes, and I am done. However, my daughter is truly an artist when it comes to this area. I asked her if she would do this with me. To my delight, she cleared her schedule and agreed to come along. I totally trust her. I was thrilled. This was a first time for us to work together.
When we arrived, everything was even more wonderful than I had pictured. The office was loaded with very interesting and beautiful things. There were a lot of textures and colors. Natural light steamed in though the window. There was so much to look at. This was going to be a great shoot. I just knew it.
Emily, my daughter got right to work. We both could not get over what beautiful skin Nancy, my client had.
As Emily worked, I of course, took photos because I can't help myself. I also decided on camera setting and possible positions to shoot from. I made decisions on fill flash and the use of available light. I took several test shots.
Nancy was such a pleasure to work with a so easy to photograph. She really looked gorgeous , both before and after Emily did her subtle, yet beautiful artistry.
I hope this is the start of Emily and I working together many more times. Special thanks to Nancy for hiring us and being willing to be the subject of this blog.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.