If he were alive, my father would be 105. He would be so proud of his family. His fondest dreams have been realized. And I have the photo to prove it. There were a lot of photos taken last weekend. I had the privilege of seeing most of my family all staying under the same roof at my mother’s house in Newport Rhode Island. So beautiful! They looked like actors and actresses portraying beautiful young people at an estate in Newport. Only they are real. It is not fabricated or staged. Out in the real world, some are working, and some are students still in school. They range in age from 15 to 27 (or 30 if you count Elias who was not there). And then there was Jack who is only five.

Nick Mele photographed all of us at once

It happens that I have an extensive family. From my earliest childhood, I wanted to marry while still young and have a lot of children.

I am grateful for the chance to see them through the eyes of strangers. In the photos taken that night, the light was perfect. The venue was extraordinary. My children and grandchildren looked splendid. The party took place on the lawn and on the porch. Most of the guests were going on to the Preservation Society Ball at The Elms. So most of the men were in Black Tie and the women in evening dresses. They appeared to be having a wonderful time. From the stories, the next day all of them loved the evening.

perfect light, beautiful people

To me they are just my family, Robert and Murdoch, Helen and Lilla and Charley Jr who was missing from that weekend (but his daughters were there). And my grandchildren, who are mostly all adults now, Charley, Daisy, Grace, Kathryn, Eve, Bear (Murdoch Jr), Helen, Tilly (Matilda) and Georgina. And then there was Jack who is only 5, but he was there enjoying his cousins. Only a few were missing three Ohrstroms, one Matheson and three Davidsons.

The time together in Newport pointed out to me the values that mean most to my family. They were very much in evidence. They all spent time, and it was quality time with my mother. She is still lovely at 101 but talking to her is not easy as it once was. So the amount of time those children spent with her was noted. They laughed and had her laughing. They spoke French and German to her, and she answered in the appropriate language. She glowed in their attentive light. She blossomed under the loving gaze of so many of her descendants. And seeing this made me grateful. It made me wish my father was alive to see his dreams come true. He used to say, “What is the point of having a place like this if you don’t use it? Go ahead and invite your friends!”

These children are each one more beautiful or handsome than the next. How lucky we have been. I credit my mothers family for our being so healthy. It frightens me to speak of this because I know that things can change in an instant. But at the same time, I feel it is important to acknowledge my deep feelings of gratitude for the beauty and health exhibited here.
There are no pretensions amoung my children or grandshcildren. They are comfortable in their own skins. They are secure and well balanced people. My father would be so happy to know that his descendants are considered establishment, in Newport. He was from Texas and certainly NOT old money. But he knew it when he saw it. He married my mother, who had the wherewithal to help him achieve his dreams. He invested her money wisely and Beaulieu is the result, one of many he acquired or manifested.


His great-grandchildren count him as one of their illustrious ancestors because he was twice an Ambassador and also Chief of Protocol. That is how the American Dream displays itself.

Thank you, Daddy, for making this all possible.

Copyright?. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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