Yours very truly, Doris Banbury

Mom in the 80sDoris Banbury, 1980’s

I moved to Los Angeles when I was in my early 20’s, I felt I needed to break away from my mothers’ apron strings.  I originally wanted to go to NYC, but I was scared away by my native New Yorker mother Doris who often told me horror stories about the people, the weather, the “harsh living conditions.”

I lied to my mother so that I could move to Los Angeles.  I told her I had an audition for the touring production of Dreamgirls.  I had studied at American Conservatory Theater, fancied being a sitcom actress. I left San Francisco two years after Dreamgirls opened on Broadway in 1983.  I had no idea how hard it was to break into “show business.”

mom's letetrsDoris often phoned and we wrote letters to each other, well she typed and I saved them all.  Doris tried in her way to encourage me and she often sent me money when I was struggling.  Sometimes Doris, who was pretty much Velcroed to me and my younger brother David, but mainly to me, she would phone me after she saw something disturbing on the news.  She’d say, “You know I heard a woman was killed in…”  “mom, if I’m talking to you on the phone I’m not dead, right?”  “Well, of course you’re not dead, I was just calling to see how you’re doing!”

What was funny about Doris was that she often “signed off” on  her letters in quirky ways.  Sometimes she’d sign, “Love, Mom Terrific.”  Or, she’d sign, “Love Doris, mom.”  Once, and I can’t find that letter, she signed, “yours very truly, Doris Banbury.”  I teased her about it, “mom, you’re a Mcgillicuddy.”  “A what?”  “Remember Lucy Ricardo’s mother Mrs. Mcgillicuddy?  Remember how quirky she was?  I think that’s you.  I mean, why would you sign your name?  I’m your daughter, I know your name.”  “Well, I was a secretary for many years, wasn’t I?  I was a 1426 Sr. Clerk Typist, you see, and I had to sign my name, so I got used to doing it, that’s all.  No big deal!”

I stayed in Los Angeles for about 7 years and eventually came back home feeling defeated, sad, depressed and alone.  Lost my job, got evicted, etc.  Doris was kind at first, she even waited for me at the bus stop by our house when I came home.  But as soon as I set my things in my room and lay on the couch in the embryo position in the living room wondering what the hell happened to my life Doris chimed in with her motherly words of wisdom, her no-nonsense New York mentality and that “smart-ass” sense of humor I inherited from her.

Me:  “Mother, I just…I don’t know what happened?  I tried to make it as an actress, I failed.  I tried writing plays and I had a couple of shows, but nothing much came of it.” 

Doris:  “You lost your job, got evicted and your idiot fiancé hit you when you broke off the engagement.  Yet, you’re still standing, that has to mean something.”

Me:  “I just don’t understand what happened to me.  I just want to lay here and have a nervous breakdown, I don’t know what to do.”

Doris:  “Oh, I know, you had it hard, I know!  (mom said clutching her eye glass chain)  Meanwhile, by 1963 I was a single mother of two children by two different men, both who did not want to have anything to do with me or my kids.  That was at a time when having children without a husband was not cool.  What did I do?  I managed to take care of all of us with one paycheck.”

Me:   “Mom, I’m serious, I’m in real pain here!”

Doris:  “Oh, I know you are, my dear, I’ve got a pot on for some tea.  Did I tell you your brother was supposed to be a tumor?”

Me:  ~heavy sigh~ “Mom, c’mon.”

Doris:  “You see I did not know I was pregnant, well I didn’t know with you either, although I think with you the condom broke.  Anyway, with your brother, well I was six months pregnant and I developed a horrible pain in my stomach.  Anyway, I went to the doctor and was on the examining table when the doctor said, ‘you might have a tumor.’  Then when he left the room David started to crown butt first I believe.  Before you know it, I had a premature 3-pound baby boy that I went on welfare for the first three years of his life to support.  Well, I also had the help of the March of Dimes, God bless them.”

Me:  (defeated).  “I can’t…I go on, ma, I’m serious.  I feel like such a failure.”

Doris:  “I didn’t raise you to fail, first of all.  Second, you can’t fail if you’re still living, Lorrie.  But, I can imagine how hard you had it in Los Angeles, poor baby.  Did I tell you when you were three years old I almost went to jail for writing a bad check at the grocery store?  David hadn’t been born yet, but I was humilated, let me tell you! Thankfully and with the grace of God, the manager felt sorry for me and bought my bag of groceries.  I still tear up when I think about that.  Wonder whatever happened to that woman?”

Me:  “MOTHER I’M TALKING ABOUT MEEEEEE!!!”

Doris:  “I will kindly ask you to stop yelling at your mother, God you’re such a drama queen.  Look, it’s simple, you have two choices, work or school.  Or both!  That’s what you WILL do because you are in a country that gives black folks opportunities, unlike our ancestors before us, remember them?  Wow, what THEY went through!  (shook her head)  Big deal you didn’t make it as an actress, who cares?  You still have to live, you’re young, you’ll get a good job, you’ll find a good man, one who won’t hit you.  But, in the meantime while you’re under your mother’s roof, work…school…or both.  Those are your choices right now.  Oh, the tea’s ready!”

And with that stated Doris jumped up from the couch and scurried to the kitchen to turn off the screaming pot of water on the stove.  My mini break down was over.

There is so much to relay about Doris Banbury, a child of a British Canadian mother and Jamaican father who divorced when Doris was four years old.  But, I cannot possibly put it all into a blog.   What I will always remember about my mother Doris, however, is her funny sense of humor, her loving protective attention to her children whom she single-handedly raised to a positive fruition, and her love for photography; she studied the works of Immogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams and Gordon Parks.

2 year old mom PIX 3

Glam Doris PIX 17

Diva mom PIX20????????????????????????????????????What will never leave me, including watching my mother pass away and be buried, is her telling me about herself, what little she offered.  What stuck with me; the stories she often told me about visiting the Bronx Zoo and telling her troubles to an aging Lion named King, she was about 8 years old at the time.  Years later when Dementia and Parkinson’s diseases set in, Doris told me she had been brutalized by her “godfather” for nearly a decade.  Never knew mom was a rape survivor.  Although, when we were kids and begged mom to give us a daddy she, and I swear this is true, she would flail her arms and scream, “NO, YOU’ll BE RAPED!”  

I understood why Doris made me promise that when she died I was to bury her with her mother Gladys who resides in a cemetery near Whiteplains NY, mom made all the arrangements and kept the receipts.  Doris’ beloved mother Gladys Peryl, my grandmother whom I never met, seemed a strong, determined and sweet and attentive mother to her sensitive child.  Gladys actually took Doris in the 1940s to abort the violators child, Doris was a young teen at that time, maybe 13 years old.  And a couple of years later when the violator was in the hospital on his death bed Gladys took Doris to get a verbal apology from him which he generously offered.  I understood why Doris adored Gladys, she often spoke highly of her.

I adored Doris, but in my own way.  While I was not overly affectionate I liked that she saw strength in me and perhaps determination when I did not see it in myself.  What I will remember of Doris is her kindness, her deeply-rooted vulnerability, her insecurities, of course her humor and her strength and love as a mother; she SHOWED my brother and me love, we rarely said “I love you.” Doris attended every single freaking school recital, she was ALWAYS down in front with her camera to take a flash shot…always a FLASH shot!!!  Blinded the hell out of me, but that was Doris.  She kept all our school pictures and our report cards.

Doris showed encouragement and love rather than talk about it.  For that I am grateful. I am also grateful that I caught her last breath as I watched her pass away.  It was a most odd experience, but one I truly believe was meant to happen between mother and daughter.  And when they lowered her coffin into the ground, of course humor set in, the guy removed the strap too soon and mom tilted down head first into the earth.  (see video if you’d like)  At least my flowers that my brother bought for me to place onto the coffin remained. I am grateful for that as well.

As I write this I am listening to one of mom’s many CDs, mostly of “world” music, Cesaria Evora.  Mom loved good music and reading, she was a voracious reader.  At last count my brother who stored mom’s books, found about 390…so far.

Doris’ major true love besides music, books and her mother was photography.  Doris loved to photograph animals, architecture, people.  When she was in her 20s Doris took celebrity photos in NYC, some of which I exhibited a few years ago.  In 2010 a select few of Doris’ celebrity photos were featured in a SF MOMA exhibit and were purchased by SF MOMA for their photographer collection.  Here is the museum link. 

(https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Doris_Banbury

DSC02132Doris Banbury in front of a display showcasing three of her celebrity photos from 1950s that were featured in the exhibit: Exposed, by Sandra Phillips, SF MOMA.  Photo: Opening Night, 10-27-2010

moms exhibit 4 by PudIn her later years Doris enjoyed photographing lions and tigers, she loved going to the SF Zoo.  And she loved photographing landscapes, San Francisco murals and her two grandchildren, Belinda May (L) and Denise Elizabeth (R) my brother’s first born whom he named after me, Lorrie Denise.

mom lions moms birds moms ships, landscape, grandkids moms tigersMom and camera 1990s PIX 32

“Rest now, my dear.”

moms dressmom in coffinSunrise: 12-7-1930     Sunset:  12-27-2015     

coffin Earth:  1-8-2016

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLyeBbMHlcI

“Life moves forward, so shall we.”  Lorrie Denise Sargent, 2016

“Viewing” photo courtesy of David Banbury (SFMTA), Doris’ son;  SF MOMA photo of Doris courtesy of Denise Banbury, Doris’ granddaughter

Thank you for reading my most personal blog. LDS

A CREATIVE BLUE HOLIDAY TO YOU!

holidays 1Not always.  But, during the holidays – life can be very blue.  But, blue is not such a bad color and the blues is not such a bad emotion.  Especially when the blues is offered in the manner as the creative artists before me have offered.

 

Billie participated in life and,

Holidays 2Billie sang life’s blues

Billie breathed life’s blues

Billie lived life’s blues

Memphis Minnie  participated in life and,

Holidays 3Memphis Minnie played & sang life’s blues

Memphis Minnie breathed life’s blues

Memphis Minnie lived life’s blues

Etta participated in life and,

Holidays 4Etta sang life’s blues

Etta breathed life’s blues

Etta lived life’s blues

Janis participated in life and,

holidays 7aJanis sang life’s blues

Janis breathed life’s blues

Janis lived life’s blues

Upon observation of all those talented artists before me who participated in life to the fullest despite life’s often hard BLUE edges, I keep in mind that Holidays are not just for family and friends.  Holidays for me offer the keys to gratitude for my artistic soul that will forever

holidays 8open doors.

holidays 9Doors that open wide and offer all the imagination in life I need to create the life I choose.holidays 6blue yarn 2holiday blue

holidays 5blue royal

I WILL,

KNIT a creative life

CRAFT a creative life

PAINT a creative life

WRITE a creative life 

LIVE a creative life EVERY day

ALWAYS and FOREVER.

Happy BLUE Holidays

from a creative artist named L.D.

 

ART, SOUL, SPIRIT, SHINE

A day after yesterday’s dental surgery performed by a nice, somewhat gentle male dentist, I usually don’t have luck with male dentists; and with extremely painful mind-numbing Novocaine recovery I came to one conclusion; it takes great courage, strength, faith and energy to do everything on one’s own without having someone to lean on.  More importantly for me, I wish I wasn’t in so much pain so that I can indulge in my creative outlets, writing and knitting.sick me

It is my belief that when an artist on any level in any form is unable to create and be creative, their world becomes a death knell.  Creating drives the soul, it gives life, it is living, it is breathing without breathing one dies.   For those of you fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of making a living from being creative with your art you are truly blessed.  For me, making a living being creative is a still dream, mainly because I don’t subscribe to the idea of “starving for my art.”  I am practical, I work nine-2-five like everyone else because if I don’t work a “real” job I can’t support myself.  But, for the past few years I have thought about changing my way of thinking and simply diving in.  If I had starved for my art,  what might have happened?

ART

artDo what it takes to; MAKE TIME FOR YOUR ART

Give a little to whatever allows your spirit to shine.  Do what it takes to free your soul into the light of happiness and contentment.

Draw

Paint

Dance

Sing

Act

Meditate

Write

Add

Subtract

Multiply

Read

SOUL

soul

Do what it takes to; LET YOUR SOUL SHINE

“What is “SOUL?”

Is my soul strong, powerful and self-sufficient?

Is my soul powerful enough to propel me to remaining creative?

What does my soul look like?

Is my soul a mist?  Is it a sound?

Does my soul waft through the air like dust?

Is my SOUL my SPIRIT?  Are they one in the same?

I made it to the market and purchased enough ingredients for my version of chicken soup, squash; peppers; chicken; baby bok choy; jalapeno; garlic; tomato; celery; carrots and a few other goodies.  I got home, cooked my soup until it was nice and mushy for me to chew on one side.  My mouth continued to ache, so I took the prescribed meds and rested.chicken soup

Woke up and the meds wore off just enough to bring my mind back down to earth.

SHINE

Spirit

Shine and sing and win and rule and love and laugh and hope and dream and BELIEVE.  And let your SPIRIT guide your SOUL as you continue to pursue what drives you and keeps you alive.

As soon as the meds completely wear off and the pain subsides I will take into account my own words of encouragement.  Actually, I have a few friends to call on and a special (?) in the making, so I am almost at my bliss, but not quite.  Wish me luck.  Until then…

Happy Veteran’s Day and upcoming weekend to all!  LDS

Exposed Brick

I have a couple of plans in the making.  I plan to move to NYC because it is only about five hours from Paris.  Actually, I would LOVE to live the rest of my life in Paris, but I refuse to give up my American citizenship. So yea, I’m moving to NYC to be close to Paris, France basically. And, I want to live within exposed brick, I absolutely love the aesthetic of exposed brick!  If that means I will be an elderly woman walking up 15 flights of stairs in a 1910 Edwardian because the elevator never works, so be it.  Let me explain. brick bedroomNo one ever gets exactly what they want, I get that.  But, I WILL have what I want especially at this time in my life because I finally understand that if you don’t believe you deserve something you won’t get that something. I have finally learned to believe in what I want because I spent my entire life giving everyone and everything what they want.  I want what I call, Universal Reciprocity. 

I am a good, loving, dutiful and conscientious daughter; I am a good, loving and conscientious pet owner; I am a good employer; timely and honest taxpayer; I am a productive American citizen who volunteers at soup kitchens and I give some of my possessions away from time to time.  Why shouldn’t my universe give me reciprocity?

brick room 3What in hell does “exposed brick” have to do with U.R. you ask?  Well, in MY world, exposed brick  embraces earth to stone, earth tt or are buried beneath.  Brick is our flesh and soil and we respect it for what it is and from where it comes. I respect the earth not just as the interior of my domain or the exterior of an old building, but as a piece of the universe that I live amongst. I want Universal Reciprocity so that I may live where I choose to live and love whom I feel needs my love and I want to travel where I feel most comfortable. Well, I want that and money and a decent way to make a living that doesn’t suck up my entire being. But, that’s another blog. I want one other thing. I want acknowledgement from my so-called peers. Let me explain. brick bathroomIf I praise the works of established artists, I expect those artists to “follow” me and “tweet” me or whatever it is, Facebook, Twitter, Flashagram, stripagram, flipagram, whatever, and praise me the way I praise them. They don’t have to “in box” me or DM me, or whatever the hell the terminologies are. Just no more one-sided praise to people whom I don’t know or have anything invested in other than purchasing their works.  If I tell the world your CD or TeeVee show or movie is great, you should be telling the world my self-published book is great or that keychain I knitted is fabulous or my website is “cute” or something. Of course, I am not needing acknowledgement from people I already know, or bloggers who have connected with me, we all are in the same boat, giving away free publicity to artists who don’t even have the decency to call you by the sex that you are. I am female, yet I can’t state how many times I am referred to as “sir” because I acronym my name, LD. No one looks at my website where I placed pictures of me naked from the top up!? Really?

brick room 2So there it is, folks.  I want my universe to respect me the way I respect it and all that is around me, people, animals, the earth. Respect and acknowledge me as I respect and acknowledge the beauty of exposed brick and offer me reciprocity in many aspects of my life. I want give-and-take, ying-yang, re-ci-pro-ci-ty! Plain and simple! Course, this current rambling post is partially brought on by the remnants of a raging cold,  I am not even sure what I am writing here.   I think my point is that if I scream loudly enough to my universe I am sure I will have what I want, or at least something close it it.  But, the exposed brick, nope won’t back down on that.  I LOVE the aesthetic!

Until I write again, not sure when, have a great week ahead, all! LDS

GROWTH

growth

I know why there are birds in the sky,

I know why grass grows.

I know why animals exist.

I know why the earth rotates.

I know why the sun shines bright.

I know why rivers flow

and flowers and herbs grow.

I know why people are born,

and flourish and grow.

I know why leaves sing with the wind

and soil comforts the roots that

firmly plant trees.

I don’t know, however, what I desperately need to know

That answer will be what I need in my life

That answer will allow me to feel happy and secure.

Until then,

I’ll keep my feet planted on soft cool soil,

beneath a lavander field

and my heart will remain hopeful that,

MY life,

whatever it offers me,

will be my reason to flourish and grow.

lavender growth

Today I Am EmpTEA

Today I am EmpT E A

Unlike a full pot poised to pour into saucers .

I sat in a cafe one afternoon and could not get my mind to work.

What free time I had to myself without the ole 9-2-5 or

The animals or

The friends or

The family, belonged to me, yet I could not concentrate.

Then I ordered, not coffee, but my favorite cup of Earl Grey – with milk and sugar.

TEA 5I had my lap top with me, I was ready to write and create.

But, my mind would not cooperate, so

I sipped, and sipped and I looked down into my cup for inspiration

Nothing.

I listened to plenTEA of folks talking and laughing

And engaging in one activiTEA or another.

Many of the folks were feisTEA and chatTEA with

robust intensiTEA.

TEA 3They had the abiliTEA to make each other laugh

Their youthful gaieTEA was intoxicating and fun.

I continued watching the folks talk and laugh and

For a moment I thought I had something, something cute and sharp and witTEA.

TEA 1But, then it went away.

So, I continued drinking tea

And I had cookies with it, cookies shaped like tea bags.

I love drinking tea.

TEA 4I love drinking coffee, but I love tea too.

Ah, but there is nothing more to write, nothing to muse about.

Just me, tea, cookies and writer’s block.

Yes, today I am empTEA, but tomorrow will

bring another hopeful day of writing.

Until then, blah, sip and cheers!