Jewel Lewis-Hall is keeping the spirit of Michael Jackson alive, and those who don’t respect that can keep moving.
The 56-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker drew attention to herself when she turned the front porch of her Northeast Washington home into a shrine to the King of Pop after his untimely death in June 2009. In an interview with The Post last June, Lewis-Hall said she wanted to keep Jackson’s presence close: “When someone that I love is gone, I still want to see them. And I can sit right here on my porch and, bam! I can see him.”
A year later, Lewis-Hall still feels that way.
Co-tended with adult daughter Maxcine Lewis, who lives at home, the porch memorial has only grown more elaborate. Larger portraits, hanging hearts and Christmas ornaments have been added to the array of Michael Jackson images and memorabilia.
The handmade “We’ll never say goodbye!” banner remains intact.
“It’s just something for me to just sit out and marvel at his pictures. You know, not believing he’s gone,” she says. “I still cry, I still think about what he would have been doing, and it’s a joy to see it because I’m constantly putting up new pictures.”
Husband Everett Hall says he has made his peace with the year-round porch display. “I just let her do what [she’s] gotta do,” says Hall, 56, a meat cutter at a local market.
Lewis-Hall is hoping to find the one special photo that will serve as the crowning jewel for her display. “I do have a big frame with a light made on it,” she says. “I’m waiting for one I can just put in that frame, and it’ll be my little getaway. Just something to continue to look at and just be glad that he was the man he was.”
The porch also doubles as a social space, with curious passersby stopping to chat.
“So many people — black, white, from Gallaudet and different places — [tell] me they’re glad that I could do something that they wish they could do,” Lewis-Hall says.
But not everyone is full of praise.
“One man came by ... he said I need to set my house on fire,” Lewis-Hall says. “And I told him I’m paying for this. As long as I’m paying for this ... I’m gonna do it.”
Lewis-Hall ponders what this may say about her.
“I said, ‘Do I need to see a therapist?’ But, hey — I’m not hurting anybody.
“So, hopefully, I’ll be all right.”
Curious? Tell us what past Washington Post story or person you want us to update. E-mail email@example.com or call 202-334-4208.