Mitzi Watts: A Rare and Genuine Gem in our Texas Heritage

Where do I begin? I could go on and on about her, write a whole book and never get to the heart of the matter or serve her justice. She’s tough in the Texas traditional sense, but nothing less than one would expect. Not to be mistaken with harsh speaking, in fact, she’s the total opposite. Elegant is a befitting word when one lacks in poetic expression to describe what happens when the light of her spirit walks into the room. Wisdom, the kind only found rooted in love. Somehow, I have made a friend. From that moment on I knew I would be a better man just because of her voice in my ear. It’s not so much what she’s said but how she says it. A powerful grace overcomes me that not only do I want to be better; I am better.


 One day recently I had the good pleasure of being invited to brunch at the “Lake House” at White Rock Lake. The Inner City Lake being referred to as the Lake House and it was. I think back on what it must have been like the day this house was built, what a center for community. It kind of set me back, old money was in context to me like never before. I suddenly saw in a flash of a phrase dear to me: “Nothing so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength.” To go on would be self serving, because what really baffles me is how much she sees in me. One of the most humbling experiences in my life. Why me?

 The Lake House


She was featured in People, etc. in their October 2001 issue. I wish we had people preserving the spirit of this land. It is fertile soil, fruit of a genealogy worthy of some pause. She gave me pause on more than one occasion to stand back and consider who this really was. Who am I to be offered such a strong friendship so late in her life, and as quickly how could I refuse. You have added to the years I have remaining your voice in my ear, the crepes your husband so devotedly prepared, the enthusiasm your son showed to your interest, a daughter so near all of it I can still see and hear. It is my responsibility to speak as I hear.   The words spoken to me from a voice like hers will continue to shape my perspective and others within earshot. Years my senior, I feel a certain bond one could only call love. Not that I love her but that she loves me. Don’t get the wrong idea, I found myself drawn to Mitzi as though I had known her all my life. An odd exchange started with the house she sold and not to me. We have had a number of letters over the years and even went so far as to talk on the phone from time to time when there would be a twist of fate that put one of us to mind of the other. Odd to me that we do not spend more time with people of all generations, we have a lot of personal gain with nothing more than a little time.  Our friends shape us. Lawrence Mitzi Cleal RC1.jpg I think in summary what I am trying to do is give others a glimpse of Texas and what really made gave it a reputation of everything is bigger here. We can start with how much heart is here and we can see it best in those that came before us. It took big hearts to make Texas what it is today. Seeds of generations, lives invested one upon another.

This is a state of can do people, and here is one heart that caused me to stop and take pause. What a privilege it is to know you and your family (picture above from left to right: Lawrence, Mitzi, Cleal, RC and Elizabeth). Mitzi Watts is what we Texans love about Texas.

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  1. Richard,
    I know Mitzi and Cleal through the International Society and absolutely adore them. They came over to our home every holiday season for the annual party. It broke our hearts when Cleal passed away. Were you the first person to speak at his funeral? It would be lovely to do a follow up on Mitzi and remembering Cleal.


  2. I met Mitzi and Elizabeth on a cruise in Feb. 2011. We dined on a Chef’s Private Dinner together. Mitzi was an absolute delight to talk to! Elegant. I hung on her every word and loved her storeis! She invited me to look her up and visit when I’m in the area!!!!! It’s been over a year, but I recall it like it was yesterday.


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