Life and Beyond Beads Moves On

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I was born and raised on a tiny island that sits nearly 49 square miles on top of the Pacific Ocean.  Nowadays unfortunately San Francisco is nothing more than a place I outgrew.  I no longer feel like I can flourish and shine here, all I do is pay bills, eat and pay rent, been doing that for years.  I have always been practical, but lately while practicality is a necessity, it is also very tiresome, boring and unfulfilling.

It was time for me to move on years ago, but I never had enough encouragement, help and money to do so. ¬†And COURAGE, I am so afraid to take that “leap” only to find myself without food and shelter, the thought renders me physically sick. ¬†But, I am not without hope, I just need an incentive. ¬†

Well, that “incentive” is the high cost of living and constant loss of small businesses that I enjoyed frequenting. ¬†Plus,¬†I have grown older and more set in my ways, that might be part of it, but the beauty that once was my city and the opportunities to flourish for an artist and writer like myself are all long gone.¬†

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Sure, online business are a great way to make money and thrive, but closer and more tactile businesses, places that used to be within reach including¬†“mom and pop” stores are no longer a staple here and that saddens me. ¬†“Working class” can no longer afford to live in a city where Twitter, Silicon Valley and greedy, rude, evil landlords’ money is more valued. ¬†Course, it has always been the case where rich bowls over working class, I get it, but now the “sting” feels worse, mainly because working to pay bills never dies while doing what makes one happy usually becomes more of a dream than a reality. ~sigh~¬†

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One of the things that made me very happy was to visit  a bead store when I worked for the City & County years ago.  I spent almost all of my lunch hour at Beyond Beads at 1251 Howard Street, my only respite that was housed down the block from my job.   I dreamed creations in my head as I sifted through strands and porcelain jars, trays and table settings filled with glass, stone, pearl and Austrian crystal beads to name a few.  And, all the tools, chains and supplies I needed to make up whatever I imagined. 

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It was a small collection compared to a larger bead store, but I love the intimacy of Beyond Beads and the design and decor, high beamed white ceilings and odd drawings and paintings on the walls behind the counter had me feeling like I was in a creative artists’ abode rather than a retail shop.

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Beyond Beads is owned by a quiet man who when I first met him was rather stiff, serious and slightly unfriendly at first glance.  But, over time Gal Ben Shaul warmed up to me, well, I can be a chatty handful when I am in my zone.  He was especially friendly when I visited after having recently learned Gal was closing shop. 

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I had not seen Gal in over four years since I was laid off work from the City & County.¬† I learned Gal’s rent nearly tripled and I learned from one of the employees at General Bead that they owned the building Beyond Beads was housed in.¬† Most of San Francisco commercial and residential rents have gone up, my rent goes up a percentage every year or so. ¬†I was not surprised, but I was a bit sad.
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I will miss visiting Gal’s Beyond Beads, but I am sure he and his wife will flourish and find their other passions whatever they may be.¬† Until then I will continue to move forward in my goal to¬†move to NYC and¬†live my life¬†doing what makes ME happy. ¬†~sigh~ ¬†I keep saying I will LEAP, but I am not yet there, but I am determined.

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And when I do move I know living in a city where everyone’s hustle and ambitions is very “real” will work out just fine with me.¬† Although, hustling is not my forte, I do believe I will flourish and¬†my dreams will see a positive fruition.

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As for my hometown?  I was born and raised on a tiny island that sits nearly 49 square miles on top of the Pacific Ocean. Nowadays unfortunately San Francisco is nothing more than a place I outgrew.  But,  I am good with that.  Maybe one day I’ll return to visit SF, maybe to live, who knows? But for now Beyond Beads and LD must move on and find our passions where they will allow us to flourish and shine! And there it is.  Cheers!

 

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 ‚Äúsmart-ass‚ÄĚ 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 fianc√© 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 can’t go on, ma, I‚Äôm 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‚Äôt been born yet, but I was humiliated, 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 singlehandedly raised to a positive fruition, and her love for photography; she studied the works of Immogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams and Gordon Parks.

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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 White Plains NY.¬† Mom made all the arrangements for her mother 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.”¬† But, 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 a couple of weeks later, of course humor set in, the guy removed the strap too soon and mom tilted down head first into the earth.  At least the 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 and books and of course her mother Gladys, 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 permanent photography 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 Pudn her later years Doris enjoyed photographing lions and tigers, she loved going to the San Francisco Zoo.¬† And she loved photographing landscapes, San Francisco murals and her two grandchildren, Belinda May (L) and Denise Elizabeth (R).¬† Denise is my brother’s first born whom he named after me, Lorrie Denise.¬† 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

“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

Bay Area Brooklyn Belle

It is not yet official, but my move from the eclectic weather of the West Coast to the seasonally extreme survivalist weather of the East Coast is calling me.¬† I originally wanted to move to Paris, and I will someday because it too calls.¬† But for now my decision to move out of my home town is long overdue.¬† I feel like I have been pushed aside like an unused napkin at my favorite restaurant.¬† Well, not so much “pushed aside” as I believe there is nothing in this city for me to thrive on anymore.

Case in point:

Few straight men who aren’t already coupled up and those who are my age date 20 year-olds.

Few male/female friends and associates who are my age and single, everyone’s a grandparent looking to retire by now.¬†

Work is hard to find that isn’t the typical city job with benefits, been there, done that.¬† And, unfortunately my work skills seem nearly outmoded in this generation with the exception that I acquired some HTML skills from manipulating online websites.

Middle class people who look like me, including some friends, have all moved out of the city to find work making San Francisco nearly less blended.

I am no longer motivated to live in the laid-back environment of California.

Why Brooklyn?¬† Well, NYC itself is VERY blended, although, some boroughs are more blended than others, obviously.¬† But, Brooklyn is away from the “hubub,” Manhattan, basically.¬† I think it is where I need to be, a quiet shut-in of a writer/creative artist who lives in a semi-hip, non-Manhattan-where-everything-exists-only area.¬† Now, I hate the idea of hustling and holding down ten jobs just to survive like people in New York tend to do, I’ve seen it in action.¬† And, I don’t plan to “work where I can find it” and live in a hovel with strangers with my two elderly pussies in tow struggling to survive with no heat or air conditioner.¬† This is the reason I chose not to move to the East Coast last year.¬† Plus, I had my ailing mom to consider and bills and debt to pay, still do.¬† Yes, I held myself back from fear of failing, basically.¬†

But, San Francisco has become an extremely expensive place to reside for a single mid-life gal without a rich boyfriend or “dependents.”¬† And I have no reason to live here anymore, not really.¬† I am, therefore,¬† ready and motivated to move on and live in a town that will push me off the comfort of my flat black bottom and into the world of “movers and groovers.”¬† I am ready to find the right job, support myself and flourish with my hobbies which is encouraged, I’ve seen it in action in the East Coast.¬† I was always the type who needed to be pushed forward just a little, might as well be now.¬† Besides, life is nothing if one is not moving forward and I am truly sick and tired of WATCHING everyone else move forward while I remain in one spot struggling.

I believe I have faced my fears and insecurities and I am actively pushing myself forward and onward.  I am now focused on what I want and what will make me happy.  I am ending one chapter and beginning another to finally carve a name and place for myself before I blend into the earth.

So there it is and here I am and onward I push.¬† Don’t wish me luck, just wish me well.¬† Thanks!

L.D., a future Bay Area Brooklyn Belle