FOUND! Ring of former Empress of the Imperial Court of San Francisco!

  • from Pacifica (California, United States)

I was scrolling through my notifications on Facebook recently when I noticed one of my friends tagged me in someone else’s post. I clicked to see what it was and actually two of my friends had recommended me to help find a lost “item” in a park. I inquired further and found that the lost item belonged to former Empress of the Imperial Court of San Francisco, celebrity drag queen and legend of the LGBTQAI+ community of San Francisco, Ms. Donna Sachet!
Anyone who has had “celebrity” clients can tell you there is an extra sense of anxiety that comes with finding items for them. And this case was no different.

I met Donna and her dog, Peanut, at the location and together we walked over to where she was seated on a picnic blanket tossing a ball for Peanut the day prior. She shared with me a photo of the large gold ring and told me she was presented with this ring when she won the Empress contest years prior. It was important to her. I understood the importance, it marked an accomplishment. An accomplishment that recognized her work in the community. Over the decades, Donna Sachet has performed as a singer and has raised and donated thousands upon thousands of dollars for various organizations in San Francisco, not the least of which was an organization that I worked for for over 3 years in the early 00’s – The AIDS Emergency Fund.

I had been working for events that raised funds for HIV/AIDS and/or Breast Cancer organizations for many years already by the time I moved across the country from NY to San Francisco. It was through my work in NY  that I was able to secure a job in SF before I even arrived from NY. That job then lead to the AIDS and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund where I stayed for over 3 years before G.W. Bush cut government funding through the Ryan White CARE Act forcing the Emergency Fund to restructure. Unfortunately for me, that restructure did not include a position for me.

As a woman I always found it difficult to be recognized or seen when in a crowd of cute gay men working or meeting some of the folks who helped us raise money, so I didn’t expect Donna to remember or recognize me from those days. But our long list of mutual friends made sure we connected to help her find her ring.

I was running my new Legend and the ground at the park was  extraordinarily trashy. It took a while for me to adjust to the Legend since I’d only been out with it twice before and this was it’s first ring hunt. After close to an hour, Donna left, with tears in her eyes, thinking she would never again see her Empress ring.

Fortunately, I don’t give up easily. I put my hat on backwards, changed from my sunglasses to no glasses (a risky decision usually), put my headphones on (which had been off so Donna could hear the signals too) and within 20 or so minutes I located the ring.

I suspect it’ll be a while before Donna forgets me now!

Empress Ring


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