Requiem: Jose Sarria-The Widow Norton-Empress of San Francisco 1922-2013

Tribute to Jose Sarria-HIbernia Beach, San Francisco, September 2013

Tribute to Jose Sarria-Hibernia Beach, San Francisco, September 2013

Memorial Programmes paying tribute to WWII Veteran & Empress Jose Sarria September 2013.

Memorial Programmes paying tribute to WWII Veteran & Empress Jose Sarria September 2013.

A few years ago,2009, I decided to ride my bicycle to Los Angeles as part of the AIDSLifeCycle. It was my very first time. I trained nearly every weekend, put my heart & soul into this & raised well over the required amount. It was a wonder. I had not ridden a bicycle in at least 20 years. One training morning, running late, I put my bike on the front bus device that holds them. When I departed, the driver, an older lady, asked me many questions about what I was doing & why. After I told her, with lots of enthusiasm, she said this to me: “You are about to do something very special. You are going to live out one of your dreams. Not many people EVER get to do that.” I remember being touched to the core by what she said & the tears just flowed (and still do) when I ponder the depth of what she expressed. How much so many of us miss in this life. I did not know Jose Sarria. I read with glee & wonder about him over the years. Today, I took matters into my own hands & attended his funeral–He truly lived out his dreams, too. And inspired others to live out theirs. I cry for all of us, tears of loss, tears of gratitude. It was a beautiful experience. I am so glad I let myself go & do this. It was unlike any event I had ever attended, truly a State funeral in every respect.

Jose Sarria created a realm of Royalty, a world in which we could all, on some level, become the Kings & Queens of our own Creation. On the day of his funeral 6 September 2013, every one in attendance, with or without crowns, was part of a family of Royalty. We were, each & every one of us, Royal, to ourselves & for each other–noblesse oblige was the Holy Order that prevailed during this splendid Memorial Service.

To latch onto the concept of becoming the Widow of Emperor Norton I of San Francisco & to BELIEVE it and LIVE it was the stuff of dreams, the stuff of Academy Award Winning Screenplays, the stuff of poetry. More importantly, the fantasy of both men, one long dead, the other who lived for so many years & touched so many lives in ways that gave courage as well as encouragement during times when our people dealt with so many insidious forms of oppression–it just staggers the imagination. Now, The Widow Norton, Empress of San Francisco, has come home for the last time. May The Emperor Norton I & his Widow, Jose Sarria find eternal bonding & beam that down upon us who seek out our dreams!

Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte, in attendance of the State Funeral of Jose Sarria, Empress of San Francisco.  Photograph by Gracious permission of Ron Henggeller 2013.

Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte, in attendance of the State Funeral of Jose Sarria, Empress of San Francisco. Photograph by gracious permission of Ron Henggeller 2013.

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