December, 2022 - Bettina Network's Blog

Archive for December, 2022

A New Year and a New Way for doing the same thing! – Trash and Garbage Disposal!

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

As the number of people who inhabit this world increases exponentially and become entangled in the culture of disposing of trash and garbage, what do you do? Do you add to the mess or have you discovered ways to do trash and garbage disposal to the benefit of all? – especially clean streets, clean sidewalks, clean gutters.

One thing is clear, if you live in these United States, how you dispose of your trash and garbage will totally and either negatively or positively affect people living on the other side of this world.

So, bringing in the New Year – whose side will you choose – the contaminators creating and making a wonderful home for bacteria, germs, viruses, bugs of every description, homeless animals, wild turkeys, geese roaming around and more – or are you going to choose the side of the angels? They are usually all dressed in white, immaculate, with beautiful environments, no smog or smoke around them, no piles of garbage gradually growing larger with each passing week.

We are taking a position in the middle and hope as time passes we can move closer to being with the trash and garbage angels.

Send us your suggestions on how to do this in 2023.

The biggest change we made this year was to understand that garbage must be CLEAN! OMG!!! – who puts out and throws away clean garbage!!!!!

We do. The biggest change to cause the best kind of garbage disposal is throwing away clean garbage.

How do you do that?

For starters – By being careful of the wrappings of the food you buy. Don’t buy food with huge plastic domes to keep what you are buying from getting crushed. Look around, you will find the same thing enclosed in smaller, more reasonable packages. And once you take the food out of its package wash the package in soap and water, the way you would wash your dishes once you have used them for a meal. Do the same thing with glass jars, metal containers and more.

You will notice a huge difference when you put your garbage out – to be picked up by the city or whoever picks up your garbage on a weekly, daily, or monthly bases – it does not attract all the animals in the neighborhood. That also means your garbage bag can stay in your house longer because it doesn’t smell. And another advantage comes from the fact that you won’t see your neighbors crossing the street before they reach your front area because they don’t want to smell the ugly!

When you have food to throw out – use the plastic bag your morning or evening paper comes in and tie a knot in that plastic bag before putting it into a bag for all such things.

Get up early in the morning on garbage collection day and put out your trash and garbage that morning. Don’t put it out the day before, giving time for everyone to pass and either throw their garbage into your bag; rummage through your garbage bags or pails for what they can use leaving a mess on your sidewalk; or etc.

Those two changes would make a dramatic change in the neighborhood on garbage collection day. Our neighborhood looks unbelievably abhorrent from the afternoon before garbage is collected until it actually happens the next day. Drive around and take a look. Especially during holiday time. There are the city supplied plastic push carts – which still aren’t enough to contain many peoples garbage – to the bags and boxes and more stuck on the side of the pails, in-between the pails, wherever more garbage can be put

Once you have put your garbage outside to be collected, step back and take a look. Does it look as though you are throwing away half the money you made that week in what you bought and are now disposing of – or is it neat, clean and modest?

We think everyone should be limited to one paper grocery-type bag a week per person. OMG I can hear the screaming. If you have more then that you should question how and on what you are spending your money.

Could you have more if you threw away less and thought more about garbage disposal.

We think the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Think about your trash and garbage disposal as the genesis of what you put into a savings account that week. One you aren’t going to use and draw from, but let accumulate. Without realizing it you will wind up with a very large savings account and that goes for those of us from the very bottom of the financial/economic ladder to the top.

Use fewer and smaller plastic disposal boxes on the food you buy – the price of those pieces of food will go down because in many cases, the containers and wrappings are more expensive than the food and other items they encase – and so on, and so on, and so on.

Let us know your garbage practices!!!!

Writing my family history! What was life like for an African American Family – plus others!

Saturday, December 10th, 2022

by: Marceline Donaldson

This installment is about my great-grandfather – Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor. It gives you a small idea as to what his life was like. A coincidence that I married Rev. Dr. Robert Bennett? To have the time to look back on your life many years later, it looks a lot different than it did when living through those hard times and those exciting times and more.

This is the beginning of our documenting what racism and sexism was like for one racially, religiously, etc. mixed family. It has been slightly unbelievable that there could be any of us left.


Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor was my great-grandfather. I didn’t know him personally. He died before I was born. I do know him through many family stories. Some of these I will pass along to you and hope they have some impact on your life and help you to better understand one African American who had an impact on many, including the Episcopal Church. He, along, with the rest of our family, broke barriers. While that was helpful to many, it cost us our lives.

Rev. Taylor was born in Mobile Alabama March 31, 1869. He was part African American and part Black Feet Indian – and probably a few other such groups were in his background. His young years were very eventful.

His father was an elected official in Alabama until Reconstruction began to come to an end and the family was, quite literally, run out of town. His parents moved to Texas from Alabama when he was quite young. When I was young, my grandfather (Rev. Taylor’s son) told us many family stories about his family. Particularly, about his father. One that stands out and I remember with great pain still was how and why the family moved from Alabama to Texas. It is one of his family stories he did not want me to forget.

It was a story his father told him many times when he was young. According to my grandfather, Rev. Taylor wanted those stories to stay in the family memory because they would not be recorded elsewhere. My grandfather’s story about his father was that as many violent things began to happen across the United States and especially in Alabama, as reconstruction came to an end the family was tarred and feathered and put on the railroad tracks from which they walked to Texas.

With that beginning and into those experiences, Rev. Taylor lived most of his life. He married Capitola Summerville in Houston, Texas and they had three children – Frank Taylor, O. C. W. Taylor (who was my grandfather) and Olivia Taylor. O. C. W. stands for Orlando Capitol Ward Taylor. He was named for his mother – Capitola and for Bishop Ward. He and Bishop Ward were close friends all of their lives.

Rev. Taylor was sent to Philips University and Philips Seminary for school n what was then the Oklahoma Territory and later became Nevada. He received a doctorate in Theology in Nevada and was ordained into the Episcopal priesthood.

My grandfather (his son) went to Wiley College in Texas and went on to study for his masters’ degree at Columbia University, which back then was known to be a school with Episcopal roots. He also co-founded the Louisiana Weekly Newspaper with C. C. Dejoie, Sr. and worked with George Schuyler to put a strong foundation under the Pittsburgh Courier – which had its first office in New Orleans in our living room.

Frank Taylor, another son, became a Pullman Porter. He was a part of the Pullman Porter’s Union and that was one of the reasons the entire family spent their time between a society lifestyle and fighting for the establishment of unions. The connection between Frank Taylor, his brother – O. C. W. Taylor and the development of the Original Illinois Club in New Orleans – one of the older social clubs which introduced young women into the society as debutantes each year at its annual ball, benefitted from these connections.

Olivia Taylor, his daughter, taught school, married and moved to another state where she lived only a short time. Someone behind a gun killed her. That has been something that has stayed in our family as has the way the family first moved to Texas.

Rev. Taylor’s entire life was spent crossing boundaries from his inter-marriage, to his church, to the rest of his life. Rev. Taylor’s first love and commitment was to God and the Church. When he became rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans, LA., he moved the church from a mission to a parish church. When the family moved to New Orleans they lived in the rectory of St. Luke’s on Carrollton Street in New Orleans. His wife and daughter spent lots of time at the New Orleans Tennis Club, a rather exclusive white tennis club not far from their home. How that happened we do not know, but we have pictures of them in tennis outfits at the club.

One of Rev. Taylor’s close friends was Sam ZeMurray – founder of United Fruit. He was not the wealthy founder when he and my great-grandfather were friends, although that friendship continued through three generations. At that time Jews were about on the same level as blacks. Sam Zemurray was from a Jewish family who immigrated to the United States from Russia. They were quite poor, however, Sam ZeMurray had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He started his business by going to the docks In New Oleans and picking up the bananas which were thrown away because they were ripe and could not be sold to the stores. Eventually, the workers on the ships that came into the port saved the rip bananas for him. He put the bananas in an ice cream-type push cart and sold them throughout the city.

Mr. ZeMurrays business began to grow. He brought people from Honduras to work with him. The people who came, had a very difficult time acclimating to the culture and therein was the core of the Taylor/Zemurray friendship.

My husband and I are in the process of writing a book entitled “A Tale of Two Families”, which will give more detail about the ZeMurray/Taylor friendship. In particular, it struck us that the two families relationship looked at from today into the past shows the influence they had on one another in ways not imagined. The ZeMurray family today has Episcopal Roots – which we trace to Rev. David Franklin Taylor. The Taylor family has Russian Jewish roots which can also be traced to those two families friendship. Rev. Taylor was an Episcopal/Anglican priest. The people Sam Zemurray brought from Honduras were Anglicans. Zemurray sent those having trouble to Rev. Taylor who worked with them to help them understand and live within the culture. They, of course, attended St. Luke’s Church which helped Rev. Taylor build his congregation. Without the work Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor did with Mr. Sam Zemurray we might not have had United Fruit.

Rev. Dr. Taylor also worked with the Frances Joseph Gaudet School. Frances Joseph-Gaudet was a family friend of the Taylors all of her years in New Orleans. She founded the school which was a school and orphanage in Gentilly which had strong connections to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Frances Joseph Gaudet was a woman who had a native American mother and a father who had been a slave. She is known as and was declared a “saint” by the Episcopal Church. The school/orphanage which she worked hard to create and grow was the orphanage in which Louis Armstrong was raised. My grandfather, O. C. W. Taylor, used to bicycle out to the orphanage and pick up Louis Armstrong and they would bike to the French Quarters and sit in back of the jazz clubs. Mr. Armstrong’s love of jazz was acute even back then. Rev. Taylor encouraged it and provided Louis Armstrong with as much support as he could. That forged a very strong relationship between my grandfather and Louis Armstrong for the rest of their lives.

When Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor reached the time he felt he should retire, he and his wife moved back to Texas and he pastored a church there. I heard stories about a Church he pastored in Galveston and another in Houston, Texas. He died in Houston, Harris Texas September 7, 1934. His wife moved back to New Orleans to live with her son and she died shortly thereafter.

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An Ode to a Past Life – Martinez Kindergarten – NOLA

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

This has been a tragic week. It is difficult to live each day, but to have to face the death of friends each day puts grief upfront and central to everything else that happens.

We learned of the death of Numa Martinez this week. He died in 2019. The very next day we learned of the death of Maurice Martinez (his brother). NuNu was about 73 years old. Maurice was 88. When you are over 80 73 is considered young and we ask what happened to Maurice because he could have lived into his nineties.

NuNu and I found each other again just a few years prior to his death. We talked via telephone when he went into the hospital and came out again. And when I tried to contact him for just a normal fun conversation I couldn’t reach him – for a couple years. I thought it was because NuNu was off about something that would be great conversation when I did reach him. What I didn’t know was that I couldn’t reach him on this earthly plane because he died.

In our younger years, NuNu was little and I was a teenager. . Bute had a passing conversation or joke or fun thing to say, But, I was much older and remember him from that lofty place teen agers take to those much younger.

When we reconnected it was all about Martinez Kindergarten. NuNu very strongly wanted to see Martinez reborn. Where else could you find the japanese language taught to those really young youngsters in Kindergarten? And this in a neighborhood which came to be considered the home of the poor blacks? When I think of that neighborhood today and way back then as I went back and forth – from my grandmother’s house just a block from Martinez Kindergarten, to my grandfathers house in a much more substantial neighborhood, to the upper class black neighborhood of uptown friends, to the mansions of our truly wealthy white relatives and friends, I wonder how I survived.

My grandmother, Marceline Bucksell Taylor, was a modiste. She designed and made clothes for everybody, but especially for the debutantes and for Martinez Kindergarten kids. You knew when the recital, the grand pageant on a Municipal stage was imminent because our house was filled with young children from Martinez Kindergarten. If you went to Martinez from the time of its beginnings until well into the 1970’s and early 1980’s you knew our house. Every young student at Martinez Kindergarten had to come to Ms. Taylor’s house to try on their costumes for the pageant. Some sang – some danced – some were part of a bit of theatre and in the background sat the king and queen (3-4-5 year olds) taking in the theatre put on for them in the grandest manner. When my grandmother died, her daughter – Doris Gaynelle Taylor – took over the job of modiste.

The gowns of the queen and her maids were exquisite. The kings were absolutely elegant. They put the debutante royalty to shame. They had rhinestone crowns, scepter’s which they learned to wave giving their enjoyment to what was unfolding in front of them and those graduating at the end of this theatre changed from one costume to another to their graduation cap and gowns.

When the young kindergartners arrived, our house was in a state. Bolts of material in the “fitting room”, young children in the kitchen getting water and whatever else they wanted from the refrigerator – which had been stocked for their arrival. They oohed and ached at seeing each other being fitted with brocades, satin, leather, velvets, ermine mink trim on the gowns of royalty. And – when that was over, they marched in a predetermined order back to the school one block away.

When the time came for the pageant, everyone did their part and it always turned out beautifully. Mildred Martinez would have nothing less. One group after another performed in their costumes and bowed before the court and at the end those “seniors” who were graduating marched in with caps and gowns to receive their diploma’s. Some had special mention for one achievement or another and all had some introduction to another language. Right before receiving their diploma’s – one at a time when their names were called – their tassels were moved on their graduation caps from one side to the other. It was all done very formally and according to “code”.

NuNu talked a lot, those years we reconnected, about what he was doing to bring that back. That didn’t happen, however,. I just discovered from Jari Honora, that the school has been torn down – as have many of the homes in that neighborhood.

Black history is not allowed to stand. It can be “sort of” recovered decades later, but not in the near present. Ms. Fannie C. Williams, principle of Valena C. Jones School and close friend of Mary McLeod Bethune, a substantial and respected figure in the black community, had a lovely home just two blocks away. On my last trip to NOLA that house was torn down for an extension of President Eisenhower’s plans for such minority neighborhoods. It was being called the “cleaning up” of the ghetto.

That “cleaning up” has included creating more and out of control crime, more houses seriously in need of either restoration or tearing down and on and on it goes. Many of the most beautiful and historically relevant homes have disappeared. City folks talk about how to get rid of the crime and bring about a better city with improved neighborhoods. When you tear down institutions like Martinez Kindergarten you tear up the heart of a neighborhood which is not designated for “improvement”, but “destruction” with even more crime and ugliness.

When I was a young person, Claiborne Avenue with its greenery down the middle of the street with tables and chairs and wooden sofa like seats all up and down the Avenue, was normal. It is where you went on Mardi Gras. On either side of that green boulevard were many kinds of businesses and it was great to walk along and stop in several. No money to spend in them, but a curiosity as to what they contained. That Claiborne Avenue after Eisenhower has become a horrific place. Cars abandoned under the freeway which took beautiful homes – of black families – and left junk, debris and more in their place. There are bars and funeral homes left and not much else.

With Martinez Kindergarten, I knew who I was and what my future contained. Do the young children living in that same neighborhood have the same sense of themselves? Or do they see an abyss full of nothing but junk, debris and more going further downhill?

My plan was to sell my house in Cambridge, MA. and move back to New Orleans and my husband and I were going to help NuNu re-establish Martinez Kindergarten. That didn’t happen. We are in the middle of trying to sell a house in a 99% white neighborhood where blacks are not allowed to buy, where redlining is prevalent, where blacks selling are forced to sell much under the value of their home or it doesn’t sell. So we are in the middle of a very traditional fight which whether you are black or white you know very well. Our decision has been to grit our teeth and pray hard for whatever God has in store for us.

Martinez Kindergarten was in a fight for its life. It lost that fight. The children in that neighborhood have also lost the promise of a wonderful life for which they were being prepared. Instead, they are on the street and are growing up being trained to destroy and disrespect, not build-up.

That is hard to hear and even harder not to deny. It is time we look realistically at what is happening and the real reasons. That is very threatening to almost everyone. We have our positions in this society and don’t take kindly to those positions being threatened. The “better than” fight as hard as the bottom white, black, and in-betweens to maintain the status quo.

NuNu, your young life was a part of the golden years in New Orleans. Life became harder as you and me and all the rest of us became adults. We could hide from the racism within that small circle. I will never forget the shock I felt when I first discovered just how horribly blacks were treated outside of our little circle.

As adults we had to face it head-on as it sapped our lives, our talents, our goodness. We now have a society in which to live which has moved to a place very difficult to change. Where there were millionaires back then, there are billionaires today. Where the move towards democracy was an exciting time and fight for us all as our chests swelled seeing Rev. Andrew Young from our own New Orleans fight with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King for a better life for us all.

We are now fighting a very ugly Hitler-type enemy trying to move us all into a place full of ugliness, but mostly of beholdeness to them akin to the slavery of yesterday. Our clothes may look nicer, our homes may be larger, but our lives are as full of pain and horror as they were before Martinez Kindergarten was established.

May God forgive us all!

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