Hero Stevenson and Loriann Stevenson
DescriptionMother and daughter, Loriann Stevenson (58) and Hero Bean Stevenson (23), remember Loriann's mother and Loriann's upbringing.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Hero Stevenson
- Loriann Stevenson
Recording LocationDowntown Santa Monica
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00:00 Take it away.
00:02 My name is loriann Stevenson. I'm 58. And today is February 3rd Monday 2020. It's in there in Santa Monica, California. And my interview partner is hero Bean Stevenson, and she's my daughter.
00:24 I'm hero Bean Stevenson, and I'm 23 years old and it's Monday, February 3rd, 2020. We're in Santa Monica, California, and I'm interviewing my mom. Loriann Stevenson, and she's mine.
00:42 Hi. Hi, you look really nice. So do you I'm glad to be here with you. This is so exciting. And now we're finally here doing a storycorps story. Don't cry. I'm not going to we've been preparing our whole lives. Thanks for this. I would like to talk to you about your mother Aiko Leona Claire Alcantara because the first time I showed you storycorps we were on a road trip and I think on that road trip, we stopped in a place that's really important to you and your journey with your mother and Deer Creek, Utah in Utah. So, but I know that your mom has been kind of a different person to you throughout your life there been different versions of her as I would like you to start by describing who your mom was to you when you were a child in the beginning
01:44 So I go was
01:49 She was a very
01:53 Just a fabulous thing. My mom Aiko. She left my father when I was to be left my sister your Aunt Gina and me with your dad with my father and she moved to Las Vegas to be a dancer from where you from Los Angeles. Sorry. She moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to make something of her life and be a dancer. My mom was Chinese Filipino and Mexican and being Chinese Filipino and Mexican in Los Angeles in the 50s was rough and I think that besides being there was no other as an ethnicity that was looked down upon more than the ethnicities that my mother that comprised. My mother's DNA and it was tough.
02:53 And she married my father Michael Berg who is Jewish and she realized that he really wasn't, you know, the guy she thought he was and she wanted to make something of her life and be able to support her two daughters. And when she moved to Las Vegas Las Vegas, her name was clear Berg. It was Clara Alcantara when she was born Fiona clear Leona Claire Alcantara and when she was in Las Vegas, she met a Japanese woman named sashiko. And so my mom got the idea to change her name to Aiko and it would make her a little bit more exotic and it would make her a little less Mexican and Chinese and Filipino. So now she was
03:45 A Japanese woman who will they meet probably at you know an audition for a show. Maybe they were in a show together. My mom was a dancer. Yes. She was so my mom then I guess maybe Casino De Paris was in Las Vegas. And so I suppose she saw the accent over an e and realized it made it sound like a so she threw an accent over the e at the end of berg and my mom became Aiko Bergerac. So she was now Japanese and French and she was even further away from her Chinese Filipino Mexican heredity and she was fabulous. So when I got to Las Vegas, I was little I don't remember getting there. How old are you? I was not quite 3 and how old was your mom?
04:43 Well, she was in her mid-20s because she had me at 22.
04:48 And younger than me, even yeah younger than usual is a baby should my sister at I think 19 anyways, so that was it and we were in Las Vegas on a journey with my mother and yeah, yeah, so what kind of a mom was she to you Aiko was young and so she didn't have a lot of patience and she wasn't the kind of Smaug.
05:22 You definitely informed.
05:27 You know my relationship to her in terms of me being able to look at her as anything other than kind of scary volatile, you know, you kind of didn't know who you were going to see when she came out of the door. So, you know, we had a rough we had a rough time. We had a rough time when I was when I was younger.
05:55 Yeah. Yeah. I know that kind of threw out my child. Like you said that when you were little you experience them things when you are a child that that made you realize how you didn't really that you had that made you realize that you wanted to have kids one day and give them a very different kind of upbringing right when I when I was twelve my mom when I was 11 my mother, let me smoke pot as long as I did it in my bedroom and it was the 70s, you know, I get my $20 a week allowance and I with cyst out all the stems and seeds and roll of all my joints in my friends would pour into my bedroom and we would just do that and my then my mom decided that I was doing it too much and so she wanted to send me away and I found a place to go to
06:52 There used to be a commercial on TV for Focus teenage runaway house and my mom was
07:01 You know, she was just going through some stuff. She was challenged so I actually
07:08 Went to this place and said you got to help me my mom's. Do you know anyways, so, yes, so they I never knew that you found I found your key. So I went to this place focus and I sat with a counselor and talk to them about what was going on at home and
07:30 They call my mom and had my mom come this a woman this counselor and she told us about this place in Utah called Deer Creek and that it was teepees and you know that it was eunos soul-searching and you know, you know you would grow and it was a wonderful school and it didn't turn out to be that way. There wasn't to school. It was just an experiment being funded by Antioch college and there was sort of a crazy psychiatrist or PhD in Psychology who was running the whole thing and it was a little wild and I spent
08:16 Close to a year-and-a-half there you guys were like child rajneeshees kind my fear was intense. I couldn't afford to pay for it after I was there for a couple months. So they let me stay there and work to stay there. So I cooked food in the Cookshack and I clean the toilets. They were called shitters. They were just wouldn't outhouses and that was my job. Those were my job then we just hung out all day and
08:43 You know fished and you know, we had group on the weekends. It was pretty weird. And yeah, and then you ever hear from your mom when you were there Ico never wrote to me. She never there was no phone there was no electricity or running water. So I never am but no I didn't hear from Aiko while I was there. How long were you there for close to a year and a half and then when you came home, how is your life with your mom after that?
09:15 At in Las Vegas, you know it was cuz I know she then ended up going on the road. Yeah. How long did you have with her before? She left less than a year. I came back at about 14 and 1/2 or so and within the year, my mom went on the road dancing and left. And so that was the last time I lived with my mom. I was 15 and a half and she left and you were homeless. I was homeless. Yes. I was your homeless in 50 crazy. It is crazy it where you really angry at your mom. I didn't really think about being angry at my mom. I went completely into survival mode and I you know, I lived with a boyfriend I lived with my doctor. I
10:13 You know it was I was kind of bounced around until your Aunt Gina told me to move to California and I moved here with Aunt Gina and when I moved here and Gina was living with her boyfriend who in a house that a bunch of fraternity guys had moved into and it was called OTC for on the corner of these SAE guys Sigma Alpha Epsilon guys rented this house and it was so dilapidated that when it was raining outside. We had to actually use an umbrella if we were had to go to the bathroom because there was a hole above the toilet in his house. So if you lived where I lived when I first came so then you ended up after awhile. How old were you then?
11:01 I went seen 17 so then after a while he became an L A lady and you met my dad and had us after a long after like more than 10 years. And then when I was born I didn't really have a close relationship with my Grandma know. So this is this play 2nd chapter of I go in your life. That was like your first childhood version. And then when I the only version that that's the story I knew of her when I was really on that you kind of like slowly revealed to me more and more as I got older. But when I for my own memory when I was a child, I didn't really my grandma I knew to be might the one that you found your grandmother my great-grandma that really who ended up raising you from when you found her when you were
11:49 Well, I mean she was always there for me every summer mind. Your mother was everything and when I move to Los Angeles to be with my sister.
11:59 I yeah Beverly was everything every good piece of me that you get to experience. I believe it comes from Beverly every piece of me that you see as
12:12 Voraciously protective mother and the fact that being a mother is the most important thing in the world to me that came from my mother. Actually it came from my mother in a way that I felt that my mom used to tell the story about my mother that was very negative. And what I realized is that it's actually a very positive story that's kind of story that I knew of her cuz for a while and why I didn't really have a big a desire to be close to her when I was little so like when my brother and I were born we were still in a place where you are, I think kind of resentful of her for a long time you kind of deal with your relationship with your mom when we were born and when we were children
13:04 A good question. She wasn't part of that. I had she met you when you were born, and she met Ryland when he was born the few years before you I
13:20 Was very separate from my mother for many years. Then I definitely resented her. She abandoned me. She abandoned me to take care of herself to go on the road and dancing feed herself. And that was her survival Instinct. Unfortunately, her survival Instinct didn't include taking care of her progeny making sure that her child was safe and protected, you know, so I definitely resented her for a long time for that and I didn't have her around very rarely this thing.
14:02 And then I realized with my mother was that when I used to say my mother never she can do anything. She abandoned me. She was cruel. The one thing that I realize is that she did annonce things for me. She taught me almost every single thing you would never do to another human being and so in that sense she gave me a tremendous gift because I know
14:34 You know, I know what doesn't feel good and fortunately for me, I'm somebody who was able to break a pattern of abuse because I think my mom might not have been treated very well by her mother. I thought you were able to turn it around and see what you weren't supposed to do it when you give my my brother me and my brother so much love absolutely, you know, one of the things that I realized when when I had Ryland, you know at 2 years and 2 months when I found out that Ryland was autistic.
15:12 I had such a sense of gratitude that this child was mine and that he wasn't born to my mother because she wouldn't have understood what was happening with this person and I got him and I learned so much from her brother. I always save your brother and I have lived a thousand lifetimes together because of going through all the steps all the phases that he's had in his autism because of grown up together almost any have I remember when it was 2015 and your mom had ovarian cancer and I think at the time you were also still going through mm.
16:02 Ms. 1414 you are going through cancer. I got to answer and then your mom had ovarian. Can you have her and you are going it was my first year when I went to college to Barnard you were going to to Las Vegas to take care of your mom and I know that that was kind of a strange thing for you cuz I know that there was still some sort of like resentment left my relationship, but you had some magical thing happen right in it. Let you part with her when she passed away with a lot of closure. Yeah, will you tell me about what happened? I will.
16:38 It's interesting how if I believe that when you look at certain sequences of events, and if you're really quiet and you take the time to kind of
16:51 Think about how things happened you realize everything happens for a reason. So I want to start this little part by saying that I was married to Kim to my had a wife. I was married to Aaron Burr married to Kim and I needed I needed to I needed to divorce. I need not to be married to her. Remember that and even though she's a wonderful person. It just wasn't working for me. So I so we split and I went out I was out one day at a party and I met a couple of women and we exchanged numbers just friends. And so one of them likes me and we had a couple of dates and it was she was you know a friend.
17:51 I realized so.
17:55 I so I had these new friends that I would not have had had I been with Kim, you know, because I would have gone to that party and met these other people and giving out my number but I so that happened and I went to
18:14 Go have a
18:18 Endoscopy and a colonoscopy because I was 50 and you needed to get that stuff done with the colonoscopy and in particular and I told the doctor why don't you look down to the endoscopy while you're looking up because my father died from esophageal cancer just the year before so I just said one of you just have a look and it turned out that I had cancer in my stomach which I'm curious now, but I had cancer and the Very following day from having these tests. I went for more test. They gave me a tremendous amount of medication and the following day. I went to Las Vegas. It was Friday morning for the gem show. You're a jewelry designer. I am a jewelry designer. So I went for the gem show and when I landed in Las Vegas, there was a check my phone right away like we do and there was a message from
19:18 One of those women I had met a woman named Tina and
19:25 I had the night before posted on Facebook Cancer Sucks and within a half-hour you came up to my room. And you said Mom. Can you take that down? I saw that my friends are asking questions like it's scary and I did but the following day when I landed in Las Vegas and I check my messages. One of them was from Tina and I called her and she asked me what was that? I saw that and I told her I was diagnosed with cancer and you know, she I told her I was in Vegas to work and then I may see my mother but I wasn't quite sure if I'd see her that she was sick and you know, our relationship has little fractured and you know, I was going to try to see her but mainly I was there for work you knew she had cancer at the time my mother. Yes. My mom was very sick and but you know, she was like, oh she wasn't it was we have to call her five times to get her to answer. Yeah.
20:23 Tina said can you home? Can you hold on can you talk for a minute? Will you hold on I said sure and on the phone came Sharon Stone. Tina is Sharon's personal assistant for more than a decade and Sharon said I was listening to your conversation. And you know, I just want to tell you if someone has she said hi Lauren I said hi. Who's this? She said it's Sharon, and I was walking through McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas thinking. Okay, this is weird. I'm like on the phone with Sharon Stone Bazaar. So anyway, she tells me some personal things about herself. She said I was listening to the conversation and I want you to go see these specific Physicians and I'm going to call them and let them know that you're going to call them and I just want you to know just so that you don't think I'm crazy. She told me.
21:23 Some personal things about herself her health. So I was listening to Sharon Stone talking to me and suddenly she stops in her tracks and she says
21:37 Were you ever in a bad car crash and I thought about it cuz I've been in a few fender-benders and I said, you know know I know and she said we'll what happened when you were nine and it wasn't like what happened when you were nine. It was what happened when you were nine thought it was 11:00 Nine-Nine and I thought about it for a second and I said well jeez my whole 9 Gear was like a car crash because I got a bad report card and I lost my glasses so I didn't get to go trick or treating and I didn't get a birthday not even a piece of cake your mom took away your birthday my ninth birthday and Sharon said
22:18 Will you do something for me promise me you're going to do this and I thought I can promise Sharon Stone anything. I don't know her. So I said sure she said I want you to go get a cake and I want you to get some party hats and I want you to take him to your mother and I want you to have that 9th birthday for that 9 year old girl promise me. You'll do this.
22:38 And I I shouldn't sure she said bring your mom something and I said Okay, and she said we'll talk when you get back. Okay, bye and hung up and I got in the car with a driver and started to tell him the hotel and instead asked him to take me to a grocery and we went and I bought a little cake and a candle than a number 9 candle and I took it to my mom and I put it down in the kitchen and I went into her bedroom and
23:13 I do is always very put together and she was just a little wisp should little white hair and she was just just really winding up being here and we walked out of her bathroom. I helped her Shadow Walker and we sat on her bed and I held her hand and I told her I was so sorry that she had a mean mom and I loved her very much and that I said Mom, do you remember when I was a little girl and we missed my birthday and she said your ninth birthday and I had to think about which first day it was when Sharon asked me and I said, yeah my 9th birthday, but I go said it like it was right there in the front of her, you know her thoughts like refresh and I said, yeah. Well, I brought a cake and a candle and I was hoping that we could
24:13 Celebrate my 9th birthday. She said I would love that and so we went into the kitchen and we sat at the table and we sing Happy Birthday to me and you know, I put the candle and when we were done singing I go through the candle out and
24:34 Something about seeing her blow that candle out.
24:37 I just everything that ever happened between us just went away. It was just released and I saw this woman not my mom but this woman just sitting in there this little dying woman, you know who made some mistakes as a young person and unfortunately, I was never able to let her out of that space of that sort of unkind 24 year old girl 25, you know, I
25:11 But I did that moment in that moment. I loved her more than anybody could love any mother band.
25:22 And when I I stayed with her I called you and said I'm going to stay and I never went to my hotel. I gave it to my workers. I said you guys take the hotel room and I stayed with my mom and I slept in bed with her and I got up and helped her to the bathroom and I was lay there with her when we looked at all of our pills just together on this thing. And I said what the fuck is this what is happening here? And we got to laugh about it in your cancer medication or cancer medications and she wanted Chinese and I went and I order Chinese food and they thought I was having a party because I ordered so much food and you are and I was and we ate Chinese and we spent those two days together and when I left I called your Aunt Gina and I said mom's not going to be able to start this new chemo.
26:13 You know, she's she's not going to and so Gina arranged for one of Grandma. Aiko's friends to take her to the doctor on Wednesday. And the doctor said you can't start at we need to get hospice. So I flew back Thursday morning and
26:36 My sister flew in Thursday night and
26:40 We played music and Lee I fed her and we ate ice cream together and I was able to video my mother and ask her how it felt and if she was ready I've seen that yeah. Yeah and my mom.
27:04 Saturday night I cut nightgowns up the back so I could just flip them over her arms and she would feel fresh in the bed. And so Saturday night we gave her her medicine and hospice care workers said some people like to wait for people to be around them before they leave and others want to be alone when they go and I said, oh my mom's going to want to be alone when she goes I know her and we went and got in bed and my sister and I was 12:30 at night and the next morning at 5. She was she was gone.
27:42 She was gone. Yeah, I was your relationship. It was the best ever was in your whole life right before she thought it was the very best. I always said, you know, I will do anything for her financially, whatever it takes. I'm there. I can't be there for her emotionally because I just don't have that for her. But after our cake moment, thank you Sharon Stone. I could not leave her side. I didn't want to go away from her. I want to just to sit with her and hold her hand and pay her music and Lino boogie down a little bit with her even though that was just her moving her head side-to-side it was enough and it was beautiful.
28:29 What are you most grateful grateful for that your mom taught you or gave you I am a survivor. I am a really strong person. You have joke that you could drop me in the middle of the desert with naked with nothing and I'd walk out with a diamond and a fur coat. I don't want to wear for but but the truth is my mother gave me the gift of of really being a survivor of the gift of
29:12 How tough life can be for some people just based on the color of their skin and you know, it's not that you know, what's obvious to everybody about what goes on racially. It's that I lived with it in my home. I saw a person she was my mother but I saw a person who was so
29:34 Traumatized so embarrassed so ashamed of who she was ethnic ethnic Lee.
29:41 That she pretended to be somebody completely different for my whole life. So it's scarring. You know, it's scarring, but I'm very proud to be a Chinese Filipino Mexican Jew very proud. Do you think that your mom taught you how to be a really great mom?
30:04 Oh, yeah. Yeah because
30:07 Because it's the most important thing to me is you and your brother are the best things that I've ever done. They're the most important things that I've ever done and I'm so grateful that we are a small tribe the three of us, but we are Mighty and
30:28 I don't know that I would cherish being a mother as much as I do, you know, if I didn't live that life if I didn't see what the other side could be. Some people don't have the opportunity to cherish being a mother because you're too busy just struggling to him, you know make ends meet and that was my mom and fortunately for me and you're amazingly lovely father even as a single parent. I have always only had the luxury to parent you and your brother. Yeah, so
31:15 But everything to me like I'm the winner think about your mom still everyday. I miss my mom all the time. I miss her I miss her.
31:28 I miss.
31:30 The opportunity that I could have had to meet her not that person. I thought she was because when she died in the people, we had a party for her and the people came and talked about her and told stories about her and I didn't know that person but you miss that person. I miss that person. Yeah, I miss that person cuz I know that she's pretty fabulous. I wanted to put that on her tombstone actually about your Aunt Gina said I couldn't that was her phrase fabulous. I love you. I love you, too. I'm so grateful that we got to do this and you're the best mom. I love you so much. I love you. And so proud to be your mom.