Aitken Livingston Matthews, Jr
Private First Class
2ND PLT, A CO, 1ST BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
May 08, 1946 to February 14, 1966
AITKEN L MATTHEWS Jr is on the Wall at Panel 5E, Line 35
From:Sent: 5/26/2014 2:10:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Fwd: Aitken L Mathews Jr.
Some of you do not know that Kenny quit high school because he was expelled just prior to completing his junior year of high school because he stood up to a teacher who was picking on a friend of his (this teacher had problems with Jerry and myself and referred to us as "those Matthews's kids"). Because of this he was not going to graduate and he told my Mother that he was going to go into the Service to finish his education in the Service. My Mom and Dad had to sign for him as he was only 17 years old at the time; this was a very hard decision for my parents to make but Kenny was very strong in his decision to join the service. We were surprised when he learned he was joining the Marine Corp.
He went to Parris Island for basic training I believe around November 1963 - we were still living in South Miami - I remember writing to him many times and Mother sending him boxes of goodies. He only visited us in the house in Cutler Ridge once. On that visit he had a water skiing accident in one of the rock pits and had some very bad wounds on his back - he was very worried that this keep him from returning to active duty, but when he returned to active duty most of the wounds were healed.
We only know of one girlfriend, her name was Julie and they were boyfriend-girlfriend while in high school. I can't remember he last name but they were together during his last visit home. However Kenny had a very close friend, Lonnie Carson who lives in South Miami and I heard every year from him. He is presently living in Fort Myers and he still remembers Kenny fondly. I have copied Lonnie on this email and maybe he can add to this email.
Eric, I still have the same picture you are referring to in your previous email and carried it in my wallet for many years. He was so fit and handsome in that picture, I wish I knew how to send it with his email but I don't. Jerry and I have a lovely portrait of Kenny proudly displayed in our living room and we think of him often. I miss him more and more each year and often wonder what he would have been had he lived before he gave his life for our freedom at the early age of 19.
During his funeral while riding to the burial in the limo, I remember my Mother (Tia Elisa) speaking in Prayer to her great aunt, Peta (my father's first wife who are Juanita, George, Clarita and Virginia's mother) "please take care of my son, Kenny, like I love and take care of your children as mine.
Message to my brother, Kenny - I miss you and I'm so proud of you. I hope one day to be again with you in heaven. I know you are there because you gave your life for our Freedom.
All my love to all my family.and friends
From: Romero, Eric V. <
Date: Mon, May 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: Aitken L Mathews Jr.
How life is a flowing stream of events and memories that if not scooped from the water are long forgot and lost. My heart swells with emotion when I read about Kenny for this reason. But more importantly for a young son lost, who was apparently a true hero in many ways. Kenny's kindness to others has transcended a couple of generations. With me it starts as a young child who's mother zealously protected a small cut out photo of Kenny holding a small baby, her only photo her memory from that flowing stream. He, standing in front of my house with a tender smile holding me close. Over the years I heard stories of how much my Mom and her sister, Tia Lisa loved him so. I believe he was much like his mother who had the biggest heart I have every known. Those types of people are never forgotten. The young Marine still so lovingly remembered, 40 plus years after his death. That's leave a mark in life even if that life was so short.
A Happy Memorial Day to all of my military family, I may never see you but like my First Cousin, Aitken L. Mathews Jr. I do love you.
Eric V. Romero
On May 26, 2014, at 7:44 AM, "> wrote:
Please pardon any errors/omissions and the brevity of this message; sent from my iPhone on the Now Network from Sprint!
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Date: May 25, 2014 at 10:21:25 PM EDT
To: Subject: RE: Aitken L Mathews Jr.
WOW! Thank you Rick for such a great recollection of your time with Kenny. I never knew that you all had that encounter at Camp Lejeune. Your remembering being at Tia and Tio's house brought back memories of my past. I had forgotten all about Steven's Grocery store and that it was just down the street form Tia's. The details of where everyone went to Scholl and worked are little tidbits of information we all treasure.
From:Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 8:41 PM
My first contact with Kenny was when Dad, Mom and all the children came to miami on vacation in 1953 on a cargo ship from Belize to New Orleans and Tio Mando and Mandy drove form Miami to New Orleans to pick all of us to spend 4 weeks (what a drive that must have been -- kudos to Tio/Mandy) with Tia Irene and all in the one bedroom home off bird road. During that time we visited Tia Eliza/TioMatt, Elizita, Jerry and Kenny who must have been 5 at the time. Fuzzy recollection of all and Kenny other than he was youngest of the the bunch. That sweet home of Tia Eliza was to become our home for 2 months in 1957 when we emigrated to Miami thanks to the sponsorship of Tio Mando and that is when I got to know Kenny. He and Jerry had a large open room right next to the Kitchen/dining area and he always proudly displayed some of the toy airplanes he and Jerry had lined up on the shelf above their beds. He had some nice friends right next door that he always played with. Tia Eliza daily would pack all of us into her station wagon, drop kenny to his school ( probably 5th grade as I was in 9th) and then Eliza and I to South Miami Jr high where Susi also attended as we were in 9th grade together. Kenny was alway friendly and nice and we would all watch the popeye and the wirllybirds from 5 to 6 pm -- all sitting on the floor in the living room. During the 2 months period with 11 persons in house we all manage to live amicably thanks the backbone and spunk of Tia Eiza and my mother as they new how to work through the issues. During that time Kenny was very accommodating and very respect to the space that we were occuping which was a lot as you can all imagine. It must have very difficult but never a gripe from anyone and Kenny was always jovial and friendly with his Belizian cousins.
As time went on our family moved into a one bed room in South miami on main street -- and incredible story in itself -- that is when the entire family would watch the "inner sanctum.' with the scary sweeky doors.
Telly went on South Miami Elementary, I to Southwest, Elizita and Suse to Coral Gables high, Marta to work as an adminIstrative assistant and Roque at Stevens super market and me a part time bag boy job after school -- thanks to Tia Eliza who knew how to influence her friends at Stevens. Since the super market was right next to the Matthews I saw kenny all the time. We had an age difference --maybe 5-- but we always chat and recognized each other as cousins. I use to take the groceries to some of my customers next to Tia Ellza's home where he was friendly with the children of my customers and I always ran across Kenny and as usual very friendly, friendly and having fun.
As time went on we all moved in different directions but i recall so many times that tio Mat and the entire Matthews and Perez family would go to Marco beach -- can you imagine 20 people in cars, with food and equipment to Marco early in the morning and back in the late afternoon. Kenny and Jerry were always out in the water knee deep fishing with Tio Matt. I am sure this molded Kenny and gave his a sense of love and attachment for family.
Later in life in June 1966 I left the Seminary joined the USMCR -- after my basic training at Paris Island I did 3 months in Camp Lejune NC. Towards the very end of my training which I believe was around january I came across Kenny my sheer coincidence at the mess hall. I was doing cafeteria duty and Kenny was there with some marines from his unit. He yelled out -- Hey Rick what are you doing here. We talked very briefly and we were so happy to see each other we agreed to meet and go out that evening. He met me around 6:00pm that evening, took a cab and went to the main street of a town nearby. We talk a lot of the family, what brought me there and what brought him there. He mentioned that he was only 16 when he enlisted but felt that this was what he wanted to do with life and was contend with that decision. We ate and had a few beers. He was very young but yet very mature the way he spoke and handled himself. He spoke softly and caring and said this unit would soon be transferred to vietnam but did show any apprehension. He did not show worry, preoccupation or regret but clearly a sense that he was doing the right and dutifull thing and indicated that he was happy to be a marine. He was proud to transition from a 10th grader to the USMC. We stayed together in the town and around midnight he took me back to my unit to make sure I didn't get loss. We hugged and bid fair well and I said I will tell Tia Eliza that I saw you and we were together -- which I later did. The next morning he came by my unit and said he wanted to make sure I did not get in trouble for getting back so late to my unit. I could see he was caring and sensitive person. I was happy to be with him as adults if only for such a short period of time. A few months we all got the sad news news. I can say we complete confidence that Kenny was content and proud and happy with himself and loved his family very much. I believe he was very proud to be a Marine and happy with the close connection to his family and also George's service in the Airforce