Sunday, January 5, 2014

Walter James Porter & Betty Mae Peters: Honoring My Parents Legacy

On August 18, 1968, God blessed me with Walter & Betty Porter as my parents. It took a few months for me to be adopted and taken home to live with my forever parents.  I was born as Victoria Ann Espinoza, and when I was adopted,  my parents renamed me as Yvette Marie Porter.  I was there second child, as my parents adopted a little boy a year before they adopted me.

My mother, Betty Mae Peters was born on November 17, 1926 in Manhattan, NY to Agnes Mae Cully & Charles Irving Peters.  Betty was raised by her mother Agnes from the age of five years as a single mother, as her husband Charles had the high propensity to run off and gamble and run around with other women. 

Betty's mother was a well-known professional fashion designer in New York sewing for many well-to-do ladies, where she held and participated in many fashion shows. Her most prided customer was Marian Anderson, who was the 1st African American invited to perform at the White House for Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt.  She is also well known for her singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after she was denied access and accommodations at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. which was owned by D.A.R. Daughters of the American Revolution.  Eleanor Roosevelt who was also a member of D.A.R. publicly resigned for this act of discrimination.  

After Betty completed her education in New York with a double major from NYU, they moved to Los Angeles with the urging of Betty's Aunt Zara Cully Brown who had also left New York for Los Angeles to pursue a career in Acting; Later to be known as Mother Jefferson on the Jefferson's Tv sitcom.  Betty was Agnes' only child.

My Father Walter J. Porter was born in Lake Providence, Louisiana on September 11, 1927 to Helen Bunn & Harrison Porter on the Brown's Plantation where his father was a sharecropper. Walter's mother did not want her son to have a life of hard labor wanting him to receive a solid education.  Because of her hopes for her son's future she ran away from the farm taking Walter at the age of five with her.  The two of them moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where other Porters and Bunns would eventually move.  After a few years Helen being the family adventurer lead other family members to St. Louis, MO where my father was raised.  Eventually Walter and Helen migrated to Los Angeles, CA in the late 1940's. Walter joined the military in the late 1940's and was honorably discharged in 1951.  Walter was Helen's only child.

So Los Angeles is where Walter & Betty met.  They began dating in 1953 and married on August 18, 1957.  They wanted to be parents, however were not able to and so that brings them to my brother and myself.  We were very fortunate to have been raised by these two very wonderful people.  

When my parents met, my father was a correctional officer and my mother was an Elementary School teacher.  My father and mother had a very active social life.  They were active in politics in Los Angeles and my father was an entertainer.  He performed with his one-of-a-kind Act: Jody as a ventriloquist/comedian.  He was an M.C. at the California Club and opened up for many well known Jazz entertainers and other well known comedians such as Redd Foxx. 

The two of them started their family and this is where I consider my beginning.  Over the next thirty posts, I will be presenting my parents ancestry and their legacy.  With their never-ending love and their forever support I have been able to research and find my Birth Parent's families, and will continue to research so I can tell the story.  I feel it is my obligation to all of my ancestries through birth and through adoption to tell their stories also.

Both of my parents have passed away.  Today marks the Tenth Anniversary of my mother's transition as an Ancestor on January 5, 2004.  My father transitioned as an Ancestor on August 7, 2001.  To them, I dedicate this post as they continue to live on in memory.

16 comments:

  1. What a nice tribute to all your parents and also for your father on this day of the launch of the AAGSAR BLOGFEST, Your ancestors are speaking and being heard, I look forward to reading your future posts and following you with your journey, thank you for sharing. Great job.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate you reading my blog and responding. :-)

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  2. You are off to a great start for the new year! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you Erlaine. I was waiting for the right moment to post and with the Blogfest2014 going on, I thought it was the right time.

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  3. We have so much in common Yvette love that we are Sisters In Gen together! This is what made you who you are. I stayed in my FAMILY adopted by my Paternal Parents. They gave me all the info I need on their Son and my Momma and kept them in my Life. I will try to write so eloquently what you did. I know the day will come. This was So Wonderful. So many stories to tell being on BOTH sides of the track. Adoptee and Natural Born. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you True. You are always my sister, and I am still hoping that one day we find ourselves as cousins...Either way, thank you for being such a good friend.

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  4. Beautiful tribute to your wonderful parents. I really enjoyed reading about them and their life.

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    1. Thank you Gardner. Thank you for your comment and stopping by.

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  6. Yvette, you've done it again. This is a wonderful post. You have created a beautiful tribute to your parents. My mouth dropped open when I read that your father passed on August 7, 2001 because my maternal grandmother transitioned on the same day. Somehow I had missed this before. Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts!

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    1. That is amazing your grandmother and my father transitioned on the same day! I bet they they are having a good time in the Lord.

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  7. Yvette, Beautiful tribute to your parents. Publishing this post on your moms transition anniversary is extra special. Looking forward to reading your post. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thank you for reading my post. I appreciate your comment and hope you read more too.

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