About 25,000 people live in Bernal Heights, and each one of them has a story to tell. In fact, there’s a story behind each story, and at least one or two stories behind that, and maybe even a few more behind those. That’s an awful lot of stories when you start to do the math, but the real point is: The stories we tell each other are often vastly more complex than they might seem at first.
For example, two weeks ago, Bernal Neighbor Steve Sisler became intrigued by the story of Neighbor Laurel May, who wrote that lovely goodbye note to all of us shortly before she left Bernal to move to Las Vegas.
Neighbor Steve decided to interview Neighbor Laurel as part of his ongoing video series about Bernal people, and with the camera rolling she revealed that the story Bernalwood had received was only small part of a much larger, and more complex, and more moving story about the journey that Neighbor Laurel has embarked upon:
On her last day in Bernal, freelance writer Laurel May opens up about deep attachment to the neighborhood, having Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer and about living a meaningful life. From the mad scientist experiments she and her partner Brett hosted at Halloween, to Prize Panties on Cortland Avenue (and other pranksterish fun), to walking around with her bulldog Manchester, the 4 years Laurel spent in Bernal were the most at-home she’s ever felt anywhere.
Laurel and Brett are moving to Las Vegas, where they’ll be part of the Downtown Project — building a neighborhood from scratch in a blighted and rundown area. But although she’s moving on, Bernal has carved a place in Laurel’s soul forever. She’s also been named Chairwoman of the Bernal Heights Alumni Network.
This one-take, no-edit interview is most powerful intact and untouched from start to finish — with a run time of 21:46. We realize that’s bit on the long side, but this video is a not-to-be-missed gem.
Here’s Steve’s video, with an haute-couture celebrity cameo at the very end:
On top of all that… after Neighbor Laurel declared her desire to be Chairwoman of the Bernal Heights Alumni Network, Neighbor Steve ran out that very same day and created awesome plaque to make it official:
Godspeed, Neighbor Laurel.