Tag Archive | Sentimental Sunday

Sentimental Sunday: Unforgettable

Thinking about my loved one’s, and those friends that were very close to me in my early years and passed on.

I dedicate this song to my Mother, Aunts, Grandparents, and my girl friends I lost to breast cancer; Jackie & Sally.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of all of you.  You meant so much to my life then and you still do to this day.

Sentimental Sunday: Charles Irving Peters


Charles Irving Peters
     I do not know much about my Grandfather Charles Irving Peters, but am in search of his daughter Millicent Peters Leggett.  

     I remember when my mother got the call that her father Charles died.  I was twelve years old at the time and never had the opportunity to meet him as my mother did not communicate with her father.  A couple days before my grandfather’s death, she shared with me that she had nightmares about her father, where he would come to her  while she was sleeping and he appeared to be tormented.  So when my mother got the call from her Aunt Glady’s that her father had died, she understood why she had those dreams.
     Call it strange, but even though my mother did not have a relationship with her father, I was intrigued by him nonetheless.  I wanted to know more about him.  
Charles Peters and daughter Betty Mae
1927 on top of Tar Beach, New York
      I stated that I am searching for Charles’ daughter Millicent Peters Leggett.  I spoke with her years ago and I believe that she was living in Detroit, MI or Chicago Illinois and was working for an attorney.  I found some court documents with a letter from Millicent and decided to call, as my mother did not want to have any personal relationship with her half-sister.  The difference between my mother and me is that I did.  Millicent and I spoke for awhile, and frankly I do not remember the conversation.  Since I was very young and we are no longer in possession of those court documents, I am having difficulty locating her.  
     I know I will need to order the probate files from the court, but I have not got around to it, and time is moving fast.   I am unsure as to Millicent’s age, but my mother would be 85 years this year.
Charles Irving Peters Death Certificate

     Charles Irving Peters was born on February 8, 1897 to Betty Mae Wilson and George Washington Peters in Martinsville, Henry County, Virginia.  He was one of seven children, of which two died before Charles was born.  Charles’ mother was Native American & White and his father was Black.  I have always been infatuated with Charles’ military photo, as I find him very handsome.

     Charles served in the Army for two years, but as of yet, I have not located any military records. (His records may have been destroyed in a fire).

     Charles had been married to my grandmother Agnes Mae Cully in the 1920’s in Brooklyn, NY.  I heard many stories about my grandfather but of course nothing beyond 1950.  My mother Betty Mae Peters was named after Charles’ mother.

     Charles had been a student at Virginia State University.  His major was mathematics, but due to the racial climate of the country and the economic structure, Charles dropped out of school and worked as a Porter for the railroad system.  He also was a gambler and a bootlegger, which allowed for good times and bad.  I heard rumors that he and a close friend owned a black hotel, but I have not seen any records of that.

    Charles died on December 23, 1980 (wow! Dec. 23 was the date my mother suffered a fatal stroke in 2004.)  According to his death certificate, the informant was Thornton Hopson.  I tried to locate Thornton as he was the attorney that handled Charles’ last affairs.  I discovered that Attorney Hopson died in 2000.  So frankly, the only way I think I can locate any living relatives is to get the probate documents that were written up 30 years ago.  Maybe there will be a clue.

     My Grandfather Charles Peters is buried in an umarked grave at Detroit Memorial Cemetery.  I hope to one day raise enough money to at least give him the honor of a engraved marker.

Sentimental Sunday Darnell Leonard Cooley Sr

Darnell Leonard Cooley
July 25, 1964-Oct 6, 2006

     Our friendships are intertwined and woven into the tapestry of our family histories.  This is the fifth year anniversary of the homegoing of a dear friend whom I only knew about five years, but had made a great impact in my life.  I would be remiss if I didn’t honor our friendship.

     I remember his booming voice, and his rolling laughter that was contagious.  He was a serious character but at the same time he had a sense of humor that could make a whole room laugh in an instant.  Whenever Darnell went anywhere the two things he wanted to know was, “Where is the closest Walmart, and Where’s my Pepsi?”

     Our paths crossed during political campaign seasons, and our friendship developed from the many hours spent over campaigning.  His friendship and encouragement through tough times will be forever missed.

      Darnell shared with me a humorous moment when he was at church and the pastor was speaking and he said “All Right!”  and the whole congregation rose to their feet thinking he said “All Rise!”  Oh he had me in stitches!

     Darnell was a great man of stature, I could only imagine how his life would have been had he continued in this journey on this side of the world.

Yvette & Darnell
Black Ministers Event we coordinated

Darnell L. Cooley was the only child born to the union of Gloria Phillips-Cooley and Ellis Cooley on July 25,1964, in Stockton, California.  He graduated from Franklin Unified High School in Stockton in 1982.  He also graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science-Public Service in 1987.  He was united in holy matrimony with Patricia Renee’ Morgan on August 30, 1986.  To this union was born two children.

In 1988, Darnell began a successful and illustrious employment career with the California State Legislature.  During his tenure with the Legislature, he worked as a consultant with various elected officials including Speaker Willie L. Brown, J., Speaker Herbert J. Wesson, Jr. and Assembly members Mervyn M. Dymally, Barbara Lee and Roderick D. Wright.  He also served as the chief staff person to the Legislative Black Caucus and was the quintessential staffer amongst the African-American staff for almost 20 years.  Darnell had a zest for life and was a dynamic figure in the State Capitol and at conventions around the country.  You could see the wheels constantly turning in his head, hear his booming laughter and witness the passion with which he pursued all his goals.  One of his key fascinations was visiting each of the Disney World attractions around the globe.

Darnell was very active in many social and political causes.  He held various offices of increasing responsibility with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was serving his second term as the 1st Vice President for the State of California, and was a Silver lifetime Member.  He began his political career with the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC).  Darnell was also a member of the African American Male National Council.  He was an active member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Sacramento Chapter and served as the fraternity’s Western Regional Director.  Darnell has received numerous awards and accolades from political, social and fraternal organizations.

Darnell campaigning with:
Darnell’s Best Friend Fred Goodman, me and Cheryl Phelps

More importantly, Darnell was a true believer and entrusted his life to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He was baptized at Greater Faith Baptist Church in Stockton where he later served as a junior deacon and sang in the choir.  Most recently, he was a member of Sheep of the Good Shepherd Baptist Fellowship Church.  He loved singing and was a tenor with the Sacramento Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America.

Darnell was preceded in death by his father, Ellis Cooley, and leaves to cherish his memory his mother, wife and two children, and a host of relatives and friends.

[portions omitted]

End of Campaign Celebration Dinner

“Darnell, we celebrate the wisdom, compassion, generosity, smiles, joy, kindness and LOVE that you always shared.”

“Portion of Obituary came from Celebration of Life Handout”

A Lasting Memorial: Sentimental Sunday

Photos by ImageSeed Photography & Mike Norris…All Rights reserved

Speaking to Staff and some Parents @ Porter Elementary
 re: Naming of School and who Dr. Walter Porter was.

Today is the 10th Year Anniversary of my Father’s Passing.  It is very difficult for me to do justice in honoring my father in a short and sweet post.  It is not like my father was extra-ordinary because he was just a regular guy who sometimes did things in an extra-ordinary way.

During my father’s Celebration of Life Services, there was mention as to naming a building, street, maybe one of the Salvation Army Centers, just name something after him.  I thought, “Wow! That would be nice!”  Well, in 2003, as I was reading a local newspaper, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, I came across an ad requesting names for the naming of two schools to be built under Proposition MM.  (The light-bulb went off!)

“The Campaign for the Naming of a San Diego City School was ON!”

Now why on earth would we name a school after my father?  We have other great men (Black men) in San Diego, so why Walter?  I think it is because of the Essence of who Walter Porter was, and it was in the heart of the people who knew him and his life, that they chose to have this school named after him.

For those of you that did not know who Walter James Porter was, (known as “Wally” to others) here is a letter my mother wrote for the school naming campaign I organized:


Janet D. Delaney
Director of Community Relations
San Diego City Schools
4100 Normal Street
San Diego, CA 92103

         May 28, 2003

Dear Ms. Delaney:
When my beloved, now deceased husband retried from his administrative position with the San Diego Community College District in June 1994, his retirement party was attended by hundreds of people.  The Admiral Kidd Club’s large dining room was packed.  He received so many plaques and proclamations that the two huge bulletin boards I had constructed in a large room in our house were inadequate to contain them.  He received letters of commendation from the (then Republican Governor of California and from the Democratic President of the United States of America.
When, as a long-established nursing home resident, in 2000-2001, for many months, it was noted that Dr. Walter J. (“Wally”) Porter received more guests than had ever been recorded in the history of that institution (and some visited after sign-in hours.)
Hundreds more people packed the Neighborhood House Association at Wally’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service on August 18, 2001.  They came from near and far.
Wally belonged to the community.  He was devoted to helping as many people as possible.  As Mrs. Freddye Jackson, retired principal, once remarked: “He really cared,” and to Wally, the “Community” stretched from the Mexican border to the North County border and far beyond whether he was selling raffle tickets in San Diego or soliciting funds (and getting them) from the Pentagon, he energetically and tirelessly worked on behalf of his community.  Whether he was helping an individual solve a problem on a “one-on-one” basis or leading an extremely large group toward a successful altruistic goal, his magnetic personality, genuine warmth, incredible sense of humor and leadership skills accompanied by his rich baritone voice enabled him to “move mountains.”
In addition to working tirelessly as a community college administrator, Wally participated enthusiastically in innumerable organizations.  He was a man who didn’t know how to say “No!”  Some organizations he worked with for a while.  Others appeared to be permanent.  In fact, he was dressing to attend a Salvation Army Breakfast Meeting when he suffered his first stroke. (I was at home and called 9-1-1.)  A partial list of his organizations follows.  (I’m bound to leave some out, since he was active in Los Angeles before we moved here in 1968-1969 with our family).
(My daughter has sent you Wally’s resume, so I won’t repeat all that).

Partial List -San Diego Community College Administrator’s Association
-Charter member, San Diego Southeast Rotary Club
-President, San Diego Chapter, N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Educator’s Breakfast and Parade Committee
-Starlight Musical Theater Board of Directors
-Salvation Army Advisory Board
-La Jolla Playhouse Advisory Board
-Alpha Pi Chapter, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
-Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
-Tema, Ghana (Africa) Sister City Society
-100 Black Men (National Coalition) San Diego Chapter
-San Diego Museum of Art, African Arts Committee
-San Diego Catfish Club
-Mentor for San Diego Links-“An affair of Honor.” (Yearly event)
In spite of (the above) and many other endeavors, Wally found time to be a loving husband and father.  He always had time for us, individually and together.
Dr. Walter J. (Wally) Porter is as fine a role model as has ever been born.  The Community of San Diego deserves to have a school named in his honor.
Respectfully submitted,
(Mrs.) Betty M.P. Porter

If you want to more about Walter:  Click on the links below:

Wally Porter & Jody (His Performing Days)

My Tribute To My Father

Even though my father has been physically gone from this earth, I feel his Spirit daily.  I found myself trying to walk in my father’s shoes and did not give my self a chance to breathe. Now I have found my own calling, and am free to be who I am.

My father had his ashes buried at sea..So the School is a wonderful testament and memorial to his life.

The School Naming Committee unanimously voted to name a school after Dr. Walter Porter, and then the San Diego Unified School Board District voted unanimously to name a school after Walter Porter.  So….

We had a School Naming Ceremony….

Formerly Kennedy Elementary School

We Had a Groundbreaking Ceremony…..

We Had a School Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony:

We Formed a Foundation, Raised some monies for some projects & Had 1st Annual Gala Honoring Community Leaders

Had A Second Gala & Honored Community Leaders

We have participated in Book Reading to the children, and many other activities……

Willie G, Yvette Porter Moore, Donnell Johnson

Community Member

Yvette Porter Moore

Yvette Porter Moore
We as a community are going to continue to keep the name & Spirit of Wally Porter alive as we Re-establish the Porter Foundation, and help our children to continue pursuing their education.
The Two New Schools in Dr. Walter J. Porter’s Honor (North & South Campus):

Painting donated by Porter Family Estate

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

A Living Tribute to My Hero-My Father: Sentimental Sunday

My Father Walter Porter was born Sept 11, 1927 and died August 7, 2001. I had the opportunity to read my tribute to him about 6 months before he had his stroke in 2000. I also read this at his Celebration of Life. My father’s reaction, “He cried, which in turn made me cry.”

             As you sit and I read the title of this paper, you may be pondering, “Why on earth would I title this paper as such?”  Well, to be quite honest with you dad, I was driving down the street a few days ago, and the thought of writing my father a tribute was dropped into my spirit.  So many people give living tributes after their loved and admired one’s are in the comforting arms of our Lord.  Your failing heart woke something up in me, and I felt pressed to give you the contents of mine, so that you may know how I feel about you and how your life has touched mine.  I don’t want to wait for the day that I won’t be able to see your face.  I want my tribute to be given to you while you are here, so that I can see the expression on your face.  I would write a tribute, and read it on that blessed day to a congregation of folks, but why?  I don’t think I could live with myself knowing that I didn’t say all I wanted to the one whom I cherish.
               Daddy, all my life I wanted you to be proud of me.  I craved to hear the words, “I am proud of you.”  Well you told me the other day with heartfelt tears that you were proud of me.  I felt at peace to know that I am on track.  I want to let you know that I am proud of you too.  I have never once, not been proud of you, even when you would walk down the hallways of my Jr. High wearing your 70’s style plaid suit. I was proud of you when you earned your doctorate degree.  I was proud of you when you retired with honorable mentions.  I was proud of you when you celebrated your 25th and now 44th wedding anniversary.  I was proud of you every time you were in a position of leadership and on the different organization advisory boards.  I am proud of you now for just being my daddy.

Dad was w/Salvation Army Advisory Board for 24 years

                I admire you with all your tenacity for living and your admirable life.  I admire your strength, the love you have for life, and how you share your experiences with others so that they may learn from them.  I have never seen you once, not wanting and not able to help someone in need.  You always go the extra mile to touch a life; while improving it.  My life you have touched.  I could live 100 years and could never fill the shoes that you have set before me to walk, but you have given me a great example to live by.

               I know I was slow in pursuing my education, but because of you, I knew I had time.  I always kept it in mind that you completed your bachelors at 39.  I learned from you, that there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome.
               In writing this tribute, I need to say, “thank you.”  Thank you for all the memories we have shared.  Thank you for the more than half-eaten McDonald hamburgers you shared with me for lunch.  Thank you for the outing to Lake Murray when I was little.  Catching those polliwogs was fun, but why couldn’t we take them home?  Thank you for your encouragement when I ran the 440, and I actually won the race.  Thank you for your discipline of love, even though you thought it went through one ear and out the other.  Thank you for the tires you replaced on my car, and the old tapes that play in my head about having jumper cables, a blanket, and flashlight in the trunk.  Thank you for the NAACP meeting you dragged me to, (I actually enjoyed the attention, and the candy store down the street.)  Thank you for the trips to the Salvation Army thrift shop to by my clothes for school, (You always were looking for a deal.)  Thank you for scaring me with Jodie, the dummy, I shall never forget.  Thank you for entertaining my elementary school with Jodie, and playing your bongo drums, (It made me feel special.)  

               Thank you for my first job at the Starlight Opera, I learned every show tune.  Thank you for the Bon-Bons at the movies; (Why did I only get one?)  Thank you for your never-ending love you have for me, no matter where I’ve been in my life.  Thank you for standing by me during my times of struggle, (you didn’t even run.)  Thank you for your sense of humor, and the joy you seem to give.  Thank you for the times you would wash my hair; (I just couldn’t stand the twisting to get the water out.)  Thank you for your patience when I would sing two hours in the car to Los Angeles; (and it was always the same old song.)  Thank you for the time you carried me into the house after a long trip, (I really was not asleep), but who wouldn’t want their daddy to carry them in while feeling secure.  Thank you for the outfits you have adorned me with, just like mom.  (You know I couldn’t wait till I was old enough where you would buy me some.)  Thank you for being a wonderful grandfather to my children and the quarters you’ve handed out.  But most of all thank you for being the most wonderful dad; a daughter could have, and wouldn’t want to be without.

Sentimental Sunday: Porter Family Yearly Christmas Letter-1978

Every Christmas my mother Betty Mae Porter would draft an End of the Year Letter and send to all her friends and family.  Every year I looked forward to seeing what she would write about, and even more interested to see what she would say about me.  I miss those days, as my mother is no longer with us….I tried to pick up the tradition, but have not been very consistent.  Maybe now that I am doing more writing, I can pick up the Family Tradition.

Porter Family Christmas Letter of 1978

6066 College Avenue
San Diego, California 92120
December 19, 1978

Dear Friends and Relatives,

     Here I go again on Christmas Letter #?  (I’ve lost count.)  It’s great to be alive and well and able to correspond with you once again.

     We lost Aunt Zara this year.  (She was “Mother Jefferson” on the T.V. “Jeffersons” show).  She was my mother’s sister.  We miss her very much!  With my family dwindling, those who remain become even more precious.  I do try to keep in touch with Polly and John Buggs and with their daughter Zaragale and her dear little family.  I hardly ever hear from the other relatives, although we did gather together on the day of the funeral.  I am honored to have some of Auntie’s beautiful furniture in my home.  It is not only lovely but has great sentimental value for me.    
     Wally’s doing just great!  He has the same title-Director of the San Diego Community Colleges Skills Center-but more responsibility now-as the Skills Center has been made an independent branch of the Adult Division.  To this extent it is a promotion, and we are delighted!

     I love teaching in La Jolla.  This is my second year, and I’m going strong.  This is my eighth year with the M.G.M. (“Mentally Gifted Minor”) Program.  It’s both challenging and interesting.  I have a third-fourth grade combination.  The children are sweet, and their parents are supportive.

     Yvette is in the fifth grade.  She attends one of our “Fundamental” schools.  They stress the basic subjects.  Wally drives her to school, and she walks to the sitter’s afterwards.  She has a great time playing with the sitter’s girls and some of their neighbors.  She also thoroughly enjoys being a Girl Scout.  With the latter group she attended camp this summer, and recently she did a fine job enacting “Uncle Sam” in their Christmas play performed at school.

     Marshall attends Jr. High School.  He is in the seventh grade and is, frankly, in shock!  It’s so different from the cozy little neighborhood elementary school he attended!  On top of that, he’s shooting up so fast physically.  He just turned twelve in October, and he’s five feet, five and one-half inches tall!  We’re trying to help him adjust to all this.  It isn’t easy, however, to keep in touch with six different teachers, though.  I’m considering private school, but they mostly have waiting lists, since Proposition 13 passed.  He has a pleasant disposition and is helpful around the house.

     We had a joyous Thanksgiving!  State Senator Bill Greene (Yvette’s Godfather) came with his wife, my buddy, Yvonne and his two lovely young daughters.  We had a great time with each other and the other fun guests.  We’re going to the Rose Bowl game.  That should be fun!!  STAY WELL.
Love, Walter, Betty, Marshall, Yvette, Butsie (Dog), by Betty

P.S. Instead of taking a summer trip, we installed a swimming pool.  It is so much fun, and the kids are ecstatic!

We have African Art in the San Diego Art Museum now!   Wally and I helped in this effort.

Add on Note to Christmas Letter for Particular Individuals