From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com
GoLocal readers may have read last week of the death of Marion “Oatsie” Charles at the age of (I think) 98. She seems to have been about the last of the great Newport and Washington, D.C., socialite hostesses – a vestige of the old “WASP Ascendancy’’: old money (once stinking new!), clubs (many of them for a long time anti-Semitic and even anti-Catholic), The Social Register, boarding schools, Ivy League colleges and debutante parties.
One thinks of the world parodied in High Society, the 1956 movie, set in Newport and with songs by that world’s poet laureate, Cole Porter.
Marion Charles was apparently a nice, amusing and resilient lady, though her world had plenty of social bigotry and cutting cruelty. So what about the new-money folks (money from, for instance, hedge funds and other Wall Street creatures and Silicon Valley) that are the foundation of the new high society in Newport and other watering holes of the rich, if there is such a high society anymore? I would say that they’re less bigoted, more informal, more impatient, at least as arrogant, and less polite than Oatsie Charles’s crowd.
It will fun to see how they change the mores of such old-money Newport clubs as Bailey’s Beach and the Reading Room. And change them they will: Money wins in the end.