Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


Cynwyd Sophie and John outdoors p 15-116 (S)
Anita Douredoure and Bill Barrett visit Sophie and John at Bala Cynwyd near Philadelphia summer l937 #111 p 14 Anita Douredoure, native of Philadelphia contributed remarkable reminiscences after dating Jack's widower brother Bill Barrett l933-l937. A fortune teller told her Bill would be married three times. It proved to be true. Anita corresponded with Sophie and John until l988 with many amusing stories.She was a Philadelphia native - attended Army-Navy game l937 with Bill. see Douredoure letter in memoirs. Chapter W-I-L-L-I-A-M J-O-S-E-P-H B-A-R-R-E-T-T, M-O-L-L-I-E, and their LANE Relatives Sequence- Anita Douredoure letter, Sophie Barrett text, Mary Lynch genealogy letter,possible future additions of Mollie Barrett, William Joel Barrett and family, and the younger Lanes Many photos on website ANITA D-O-U-R-E-D-O-U-R-E letter I wrote to her for her recollections of Bill.On the eighteenth of March l970 she wrote "Dear Sophie,I will try to give you my memories of Bill from around l932 to l938. Around Easter I was with some friends, & a Mrs. Pfeffer a friend of one of my friends remembered that she was in somewhat of a quandry.She had just returned from a cruise with her husband.On the cruise he had met an attractive widower named Bill Barrett. He was coming to visit them at their home in Penn Valley for the weekend. They had invited a girl named Frances Diamond,but she couldn't keep the engagement. Bill had said he would like someone not too young & a Catholic- two specifications. Frances Diamond fitted,& since she wasn't available what was she - Bobbie Pfeffer- going to do to amuse Bill over the weekend? I said, 'What about me? I fit the bill.' To my surprise she accepted with alacrity.Perhaps you remember Penn Valley- it is a very beautiful suburb, & the Pfeffers' house was in a wooded spot on Moreno Road. It was a lovely house with an outside swimming pool -p.419-Mr. Pfeffer was connected with the American Standard Sanitation Company or some such corporation. They had one son & were a very pleasant couple.I arranged to stay with one of my friends who lived near them.They invited me to dinner & to spend the evening.There were either four or six of us, & we had a very good time.When it came time to leave, Bill took my arm & said, 'Here we go on our honeymoon.' He came to my friends' the next morning to take me to church. That started our romance that lasted until l937 or l938.It was strange that things happened exactly as a fortune teller told me they would. My aunt & I had lunch at the Warwick, where the hand reader entertained.She told me that around Easter she saw me in evening dress at a small party where I would meet a man who would show plainly that he was very much attracted to me. She said that we would never marry each other but that we would go many places together.It was a real blueprint of what actually happened.Later on at a private party she read Bill's hand & told him he would marry three times.I think I told him I would catch him on the third round.From Easter on I saw Bill about every weekend.He would stay in Germantown at my aunt's or at my brother's home in Cynwyd near where you used to live.Shortly after I met Bill, my brother took me on a 'trip to nowhere' -one of those short cruises during Prohibition.It was on the old MAJESTIC, & the destination was Bermuda, which we never reached because the ship couldn't land because of rough seas.I met two other widowers on the boat & had a grand time.Bill sent me a huge basket of flowers or fruit- & I had to put it on the sink in my cabin.Then Bill invited me to New York & got me a room in the Pan Hellenic Women's Hotel next to his apartment at 10 Mitchell Place.His program of entertainment nearly exhausted me.He bought theater tickets for matinees on Wednesday & Thursday & took me to another show at night.I remember we had box seats, & I dozed & nearly fell out of the box. I loved New York, & we always got along better there than in Philadelphia.. I spent a lot of long weekends in New York.Bill took me to a lot of places. I remember the Rainbow Room very well.His cousin Myles Lane had a girlfriend- one time Bill gave a party for them. Bill & I & my brother Bernard & his wife Edna went on several cruises at Christmas & Easter. One was to Cuba & Jamaica on the EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, another to Nassau on the EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA & another to Bermuda. We had a congenial foursome & lots of good times.Now to answer your questions: I met Fred Erb of Detroit. Bill & I saw him off on a trip of eighteen days. He seemed to be not well, & I saw him only for a few minutes. When Bill & I arrived back at 10 Mitchell Place, the phone rang, & Bill was informed that Erb had died a couple of hours after sailing.His poor wife had to continue the trip with his body until they reached the first port of call. I do remember the (EAGLE l9) boat ride with you in Boston- don't recall fishing or catching anything.But I love the water & enjoyed the boating..I remember visiting the Barrett home in South Boston- then their wire haired terrier, who scared me.I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. I think it was at Christmas time.Bill took me to Longwood Gardens in Delaware- my brother lent us his car & we met Pierre Dupont, a very shy man who showed us through the greenhouse.In a train we met Lamont (Lamotte?) Dupont. I believe Bill used to ghostwrite some of his speeches.Also I went with Bill to a cocktail party, a kind of business party -where I met Juan Trippe, Pan American airlines founder & president.Also at that party I met Alfred Sloane (General Motors) & Igor Sikorsky (helicopter pioneer). I heard Bill talk about working on the National Recovery Administration (NRA) with General Drum, & his meetings with Edward Stettinius afterward Secretary of State.The only thing I remember about Jack was Bill's saying his mother was thrilled when Jack gave her fifty dollars for Christmas.I remember I thought Bill resembled his mother (he did- Sophie M. Barrett note). Bill, Mr. Barrett senior & I took a trip to Cape Cod. We stayed at an old hotel iin Osterville- & Bill & I played not even facsimile golf.The caddy laughed, & Bill was furious & sent him back to the caddy house.I liked Bill's father - he looked like a very nice clean baby- his bald head shone, & he kept his derby hat on most of the time so that the flies wouldn't worry him.One time the three of us went to the Brass Rail in New York City when Pa Barrett was visiting 10 Mitchell Place- & they had some music records- the Brass Rail is a delicatessen type restaurant. Mr. Barrett & I danced- did an old-fashioned hop dance which almost floored me. He was very agile- really remarkable for his age. Another time we went to Atlantic City & we all had Brighton punches - a really potent brew.Mr. Barrett was in better shape than either Bill or I. I remember the political talks Bill had with my brother about Roosevelt.We were charmed by Roosevelt,& Bill told us New York state was glad to set rid of him when he ran for President.I was in the Metropolitan Life Building only once to see where Bill worked.He was a very hard worker & deserved to be successful.When I met him he was head of the Policy Holders Service Bureau & his big complaint was that he was not allowed to eat in the officers' dining room.The only friends of Bill's I remember well were Lloyd & Charlotte Miller, who lived in Old Greenwich.We spent New Year's Eve at their house one time & saw them at other times.Bill had another friend named Benziger who married an airline stewardess named Signe- she was Swedish.We went on a trip to some quaint old inn.Both Bill & I had colds. He worried more about his 99 degree fever than my hundred-degree fever, & that cooled the romance somewhat.Bill & I used to borrow my brother's car & play golf at Valley Forge or go to Ocean City.He told me his father would pay for his education only if he didn't waste his time at athletics.He was a bright man, & I enjoyed listening to his opinions.Just before the (l933) bank holiday he told me & my aunt to draw out any money we had in the bank as the banks were going to close.He advised me how to invest the little money I had, & over the years I have rejoiced because his advice was profitable,& I have been able to live comfortably without having to work.We fell out of love about l937- he came over (to Philadelphia), but the spell was broken.When his mother died (January l938) I sent a check & a sympathy letter. Your husband called me to ask where Bill was to tell him of his mother's death.I didn't know where he was,as by then I wasn't seeing him.He called me to thank me for my sympathy, but we did not renew our romance.In l936 we talked of getting married, but he went on a trip with some men from General Motors, I was piqued & took off for Mexico without telling him.When he called my apartment, he talked to a friend who borrowed the apartment, & she told him where I was.That must have been when he took the trip to Norfolk to see you when your son was four months old.I burned all letters & keepsakes when we no longer saw each other.Poor Bill was unfortunate too lose two wives by death.I'm glad he had a son- he must have been very happy when he was born. He was a fine man & deserved to be happy- Anita Douredoure" SOPHIE BARRETT text-W-I-L-L-I-A-M J-O-S-E-P-H B-A-R-R-E-T-T Red Headed Stepchild - The Memoir of the century" William Joseph.Barrett, Jack's brother: Jack's half brother William Joseph Barrett was born at 634 East Seventh Street on October 24, l895, the oldest child of Mary Lane, second wife of John Robert Barrett. He attended the Frederick Lincoln School on Broadway between I and K Streets, the future site of the South Boston branch public llibrary.When he was about nine years old, Jack tells the story that when some older boys started to pick on Bill, his younger sister Mollie went to the fight and beat them up. She was seven years old. Both Mollie and Bill attained good height as adults, a characteristic apparently inherited from their Lane relatives. The Lane family originated in Kenmare and Glengariff in the south part of county Kerry Ireland. Mollie's second cousin Dr. Mary Elizabeth Lynch, many years in Hyde Park, Massachusetts furnished the information that going back in the maternal ancestors, Bill-and-Mollie's mother's mother was named Lynch - one of a family of eleven, and her mother was named Palmer, and her grandmother's name was Sullivan-Christian.Bill-and-Mollie's uncle Tate was supposedly very large and strong, and many other members of the family were tall. John Robert Barrett was comparatively short though healthy and long-lived.Bill Barrett was a member of the Boston Latin class of l9l2.Of his many good friends in that class, John Vaccaro of Third Street, South Boston was particularly close in later years, and we think he was best man at Bill's first wedding in l923. John Vaccaro attended Harvard College l9l6 and was a classmate of poet Archibald MacLeish at Harvard Law School in l9l9.After law school, John Vaccaro had to earn money as a barber before going into law practice. He was with the firm of Lyne, Woodward, and Evarts for some years before opening his own law office at 11 Beacon Street with Anthony Iovino, Boston Latin School l922. Land conveyancing was a specialty of his.His wife came from Dorchester, and they lived in the Waban section of Newton in later years.Other classmates of Bills at Boston Latin School included Archibald Dresser- later an appraiser and bank official and William L. Langer, modern history professor at Harvard.Langer was widely known at the editor of the fifteen=volume Langer series of splendidly illustrated texts on modern history.Myron Gilmore on the sixteenth century and Crane Brinton on the eighteenth were among the contributors.In the l980's we got to know another of Bill's classmates, Walter Gillis, who lived at 324 Bellevue Street, West Roxbury near the top of Bellevue Hill, with one of his sons next door. He had been Superintendant of Boston Public Schools and taught business administration at Boston College. He wrote storybooks for one of his granddaughters to keep in touch with her when he father was in military service during the Vietnam war. In l985 we had extensive conversations with Mr. Gillis when preparing a program for the West Roxbury Historical Society in observance of the 350th anniversary of Boston Latin School. Bill Barrett was only sixteen years old when he was graduated from Boston Latin School, and he had to receive special permission from the governor of Massachusetts to enter Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September l9l2.A large number of Bill's notes from Boston Latin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have survived in the attic at 640 East Seventh Street.He took the mechanical engineering course at MIT.Left-handedness was sometimes a handicap in the mechanical drawing, but he was a good student, and he had many warm friends among the faculty and students. At one period of his freshman year apparently he was angry about the management of the MIT coop bookstore, and he wrote Jack a letter to the effect that he was arranging a boycott.The letter also mentions that Jack had investigated employment with the Coast and Geodetic Survey, although he stayed at the Naval Hydrographic Office.Bill spent the summers of l9l3, l9l4 and l9l5 at an MIT summer camp in New Brunswick, Canada, near Campobello just over the line from Eastport, Maine, near the St. Croix River.Bill obtained an Army commission in artillery during World War I though he was barely twenty-one years old, and again special permission was needed to waive age requirements.He apparently was in the Reserves after the war in l9l9 and l920 and saw Jack at Norfolk, Virginia February 23, l9l9 - a photo was taken in front of Jack's cottage.Jack was then nearly at the end of his duty as senior instructor in seamanship and regulations at the Officer Material School.Bill took pictures during l919 at serveral Victory parades in Washington.During the summer of l9l9 and l920 he apparently had artillery duty at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and in August l920 Bill and Jack and their sister Mollie got together for some time on vacation around Sandy Hook at the north end of New Jersey coast overlooking New York Harbor.Captain and Mrs. Marvin S. Richardson, Jack's Norfolk friends from the ships MONTGOMERY and WESTERNER were along in the party.In the early l920's Bill learned a lot about the steel industry, taking part in the negotiations on the sale of several plants.He was well acquainted for many years with the future Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, junior,- of US Steel- and other prominent steel executives.Bill became an expert on safety and accident prevention and toured extensively in the midwest and south in l920 on business, sending home cards from Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburg and Eastport, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey.About l922 Bill attended the Wharton School of Finance in Philadelphia. In l922 when merchant marine opportunities were scarce, Bill devoted considerable effort to finding Jack desirable civilian employment. Correspondence indicates Jack was interested in a position as editor of an engineering journal in Philadelphia in l922. Bill made some inquiries, but nothing came of it. Bill saved Jack twelve hundred dollars in June, l922 by going around to collect that amount of money owed to Jack by Fuller brokerage house of New York.That company had sold some stocks for Jack and was slow in handing over the money to him.Jack was at sea on the WYOMING and had written to request prompt payment,but the company delayed.Finally Bill had to go and collect the money personally about June 14, l922. The involuntary bankruptcy of the brokerage house appeared in the newspapers about June 28.Around 1923 Bill was engaged to marry Catherine Miley of Dorchester, Massachusetts and felt that he might improve his earning capacity by attending business school.In the l950's he lectured at the Wharton School of Business Administration as a faculty member.In 1923 Bill went to work for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and stayed with them for thirty-nine years, retiring at the beginning of l963.He made a very favorable impression in his work in the Policy Holders Service Bureau advising business companies how to improve employees' health and reduce accidents and insurance claims and employee turnover.During most of Bill's career the Met was the world's largest insurance company and the world's largest financial corporation.It financed considerable publicity and research in prevention of tuberculosis, detection of cancer and the like, and it pioneered the development of private group health insurance plans for employees. The Ecker family and Leroy Lincoln were the top executives. Bill was acquainted through his work with a great number of prominent executives, including former associates in the steel industry and top executives of many companies that used the Metropolitan employees' group plans. Bill was a friend of Walter Teagle of Standard Oil. I was interested in the work of Met actuary and public health statistician Dr. Louis Dublin, one of the first American investigators of statistical approaches to tuberculosis, venereal disease and other widespread illnesses.Dr. Dublin had much professional contact with Amy Hewes and other Mount Holyoke faculty, and he advised the Commonwealth Fund and initiated their effort -on which I worked l926-l929- to develop statistical reporting techniques for child guidance clinics. Bill married Catherine Miley of Dorchester in l923. They lived in an apartment in Bronxville, New York,and Catherine taught kindergarten for a few years.She and her sisters Fanny and Mary Miley were interested in the New England Wild Flower Preservation Society. Catherine and Bill honeymooned in the Bahama Islands, where some good photographs were taken. After a few years of marriage, it was learned that Catherine had some type of abdominal cancer.A year and a half of intensive treatment in Boston prolonged her life until February l93l during which time Bill spent thousands of dollars trying the latest methods of treatment. He even flew to the West Coast to inquire aboutr a new method of treatment.The Miley family remained very close to Bill after her death and always spoke very kindly of Bill's efforts during the ordeal.Catherine's mother also died of cancer in August, l930.Mollie Barrett and her sister Katie often made beef broth to take to the hospital for Bill's wife.Dr. William Manary, who later became superintendant of Boston City Hospital, was Bill's personal friend and did what he could for Catherine.Bill's sister Katie was also sick at this time, having entered a convent in l928 and having left in poor health with influenza and exhaustion. She died in January l93l, one month before Bill's first wife.When Catherine Miley died, Bill, exhausted, as he had commuted to Boston every weekend, was also badly upset by his sister Kate's death. and his financial assets were reduced, and he was concerned about his mother's poor health with diabetes and a nervous condition since l925.The news of the two deaths of Jack's sister Kate and his siter-in-law were was broken to Jack and me in Tientsin at Bill's request by John Herlihy, an East Seventh Street South Boston neighbor who was a Naval Officer and Annapolis graduate class of l923. (John Herlihy died in the Philippines in l935.)Some months later in l93l Mollie wrote to Jack details about Kate's death.Bill broke up his Bronxville home, giving most of the furniture to Pa, Ma and Mollie at the family home at 640 East Seventh Street.He moved to an apartment at 10 Mitchell Place on the East Side of New York. In November l93l he had a private twenty minute interview with President Hoover,who was trying very hard to improve the unemployment situation.About the time Jack and I returned from Europe in March l932 he was dating Miss Anita Douredoure of Philadelphia. He gave us the l926 Buick which he and Catherine had used.In l933 Bill was an adviser to President Roosevelt in the National Recovery Administration. (415-l6) On Jahn Vaccaro, Catherine Casey and the Miley sisters: One of John Vaccaro's friends was Catherine Casey of K Street, South Boston. They had studied together in school days. John had one brother "Rutzie" (Orazio) and two sisters, one of whom- Rose-married Hugo Trio and came to call on us in Panama when Jack had duty there on the HANNIBAL in l935. Once when John Vaccaro was taking Catherine Casey to an dance (either at Harvard or at an Itlaian club) Her mother Mrs. Casey got a partner for Bill Barrett, who was at MIT and going to the dance.She got Catherine Casey's cousin Fanny Miley of Dorchester to go to the dance with Bill. Eventually Bill Barrett met and married Manny Miley's sister Catherine, who was a kindergarten teacher in Boston.Shortly after Jack and I moved to 422 Columbia Road, Dorchester in April, l932,we invited John Vaccaro and his fiancee Mary Burke of Dorchester for dinner. I did not see him again until we came to West Roxbury in l947, although Jack and John had dinner with him in downtown Boston soon after our return from Hawaii. He showed John the memorials Benjamin Franklin put up for his father and mother in an old graveyard near 73 Tremont Street.He recommended Jack talked to Father Kenealy, the dean of Boston College Law School about study under the GI Bill, which Jack successfully completed in l95l. In autumn 1947 John Vaccaro searched the title of our new Emmonsdale Road home in West Roxbury, and classmate Archie Dresser made the appraisal - $11,500. John Vaccaro had three daughters, Rose, Mary, and Claire. Claire married John Leitao of Lisbon Portugal and had one child.Catherine Casey eventually entered the teaching order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.In July l970 we learned by telephone from Fanny Miley in Milton that her cousin Catherine Casey was now Mother Catalina at Mount Saint Joseph Academy on 615 Cambridge Street, Brighton in charge of many teaching nuns, about to retire. Claire Vaccaro was a nurse.John Vaccaro attended Bill Barrett's funeral in January l967 in Darien and Mollie's in South Boston,October l967 after she died of colon cancer.John Vaccaro survived prostate removal but passed away February l969..-NOTEBOOK IV-[p91] August 23, 1922 Hotel William-Wallion? Philadelphia [to] Miss Catherine Miley, Dorchester Dearest Catherine, My address will be 508 S. 44th Street instead of Ardmore. I liked Ardmore very much indeed, but it has now served its purpose, and I am moving back where things are more convenient. As for business matters, I have decided not to enter the brass foundry business. First, because to operate as we could, there wouldn't be enough money in it for the effort expended. Second, To secure equipment to operate in production - production machines would require thre times as much capital as we have. Third A study of the costs at the foundry I was to take over, and talks with people intimately associated with the business convinced me that to enter the business would give one the privilege of working for oneself as a moulder and earning a moulder's pay only. I talked with the President of the Ajax Smelting Company, the President of the Metal Manufacturers Association, and the head of a moulding machine manufacturing company, and they showed me by logical argument that under the conditions of competition found in Philadelphia - cutthroat in the brass game- I would save time, money, and worry by staying away. I could go on and show cost data to demonstrate the inadequacy of the charges possible with the competition,but the above is sufficient. But why did it look so favorable and everyone seem so enthusiastic- even people who were in a position to know - until these three men I struck at about the same time and who knew the game from A to Z? Evidently they [the others]did not know that due to the relatively small amount of capital required to enter the business, there are a large number of small shops, -seldom heard of- throughout the city and they are all out for business and will take it at almost any price. The head of Ajax said he did not know of any brass founder who had become rich from the business.While I was willing to dig in, I could not see moulding for the rest of my days. Everything considered, I concluded that it was best to stay out, even at the expense of ridicule, slams, and the like. But it hurt me and still does, for your sake, to give it up. However, I know now that it's the best thing. Now, as to the future. I shall occupy my time with Crane Packing, who have been good enough to say, 'Come on'. But I have put out lines in other directions and shall hold out until they materialize. Under the circumstances you may do as you think best in this matter of the future. I had hoped this would settle me on my way and expected it would work out so we could be on our way together. I know now that it would not. While this was indeed discouraging,I'm not down yet and don't intend to be.As soon as this disturbance is over with and I get settled, I'll let you know how things stand for the future if you care still.- Most affectionately yours, Bill." {Not long before this Bill had helped Jack withdraw stock proceeds from Fuller stock investment company in May or June 1922. Jack was at sea on the MARBLEHEAD, and the brokerage was slow in paying out for a stock he sold. Bill went around and collected the check, so Jack avoided losing his money in the bankruptcy.] 1922 Business Card of William J. barrett Sales Engineer 15 Park Row New York City. Crane Packing Company 1800 Cuyler Avenue Chiacgo. Foundries at Chicago, and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Manufacturers of John Crane Metallic Packings.[p72] "Washington, November 11, 1931 [from] William J. Barrett The President's Commission on Unemployment Relief 1734 New York Avenue, Washington D.C. [to] Lieutenant John B. Barrett c/o Postmaster Seattle, Washington USS TULSA Asiatic Station Dear Jack,- I'm anxious to do anything possible to assure your making the grade on your promotion. I know that under ordinary circumstances there would be no difficulty, but this economy move struck me as a possible interference. I'm here in Washington for reasons I'll soon tell you, and I think I'm in a position to get things done. Senator Walsh of Massachusetts is on the Naval committee of the Senate. Tell me immediately when the time is right, and I'll see that there is everything done possible. Since the first of March I've been loaned by the Metropolitan to President Hoover's committee on unemployment. At first I was working under Colonel Woods, -now under Mr. Gifford, President of American Telephone and Telegraph Company. My job is to bring out any ideas which will make for greater stability of employment and for better future planning against such depressions as the present. I've had interviews with everybody worthwhile so it seems in the country - I had a fine talk with President Hoover - about twenty minutes in his office - then referred to his confidential advisor for a further thirty minute talk. I appeared before the LaFollette Committee of the Senate as representative of the president's committee. It's been lots of fun, and I've enjoyed every minute, although there's plenty of work trying to hold down two jobs. From the foregoing I'd like to see what we could do down here to be sure you get that half-stripe. I'll do anything you suggest. I'll go to Senator Walsh right away after hearing from you and tell him what we'd like done, and I'm pretty sure we can get it. If necessary, cable me the time when - at my New York office. Everything at home has been fine. They enjoy, as I do, hearing from you, and I know it would add ten years to Pa's life if we could tell him that you had made the promotion - besides everybody else is expecting you to make it. I'm back in New York for this week, and I'll close now and expect to hear from you soon. Regards, Bill" [John Barrett note: Jack consistently told Bill that the Navy resented any political efforts at influence on promotions or assignments, and that they usually backfired. Nonetheless, he appreciated Bill's sincere friendly intentions, especially as regards the possible effect on their elderly father. The issue came up again in 1938,when Jack was ordered to serve as Executive Officer on the tanker TRINITY, traveling to PHilippines and East Indies. Bill argued that it would be traumatic for their then eighty-three year old recently widowed father to be separated from Jack, Sophie, and his two-year-old grandson. Nonetheless Jack wanted sea duty and urged Bill not to interfere.] [p 66]postmark November 23, 1933 The Shoreham, Washington, D.C. [to] Lieutenant Commander John B. Barrett USS HANNIBAL Navy Yard Norfolk, Virginia Dear Jack, I received the Army-Navy tickets, and they are very good. I got tickets for the Princeton game and went last Saturday. They were also excellent. Had a nice interlude after the game as Doug Brown a Princeton professor asked us to come to tea after the game at his home- just what you need after sitting out in the cold. Also, the nice box of candy arrived, for which I thank Sophie and you - here again I have no manners for not telling you long ago. I had planned to go to Boston after the Princeton game, but certain changes down here made it necessary to come back right away. I think I'll go up there this weekend after Thanksgiving. This work down here will probably end as far as I'm concerned about December 15. It's sure a merry whirl now, with lots and lots of activity. I want to get down to Norfolk soon and had hoped to before this. Last Saturday was the first I've had off for ages. Some Navy Lieutenant from your ship called me last night. I tried to take him to lunch, but he was apparently too pre-occupied. It's time to go to work. Regards to Sophie. Bill" [SOPHIE note: This letter seems to prove that Jack and Sophie went to Norfolk in the fall of 1933. We stayed at the Heart of Ghent Hotel in Norfolk- then lived in an apartment in Portsmouth, where Pa Barrett visited, also Mollie Barrett and Eileen Lane. At the Heart of Ghent we saw Bill Keester and Mrs. Keester of the Coast Guard, and visited them at their home in Norfolk soon after - then we moved to Portsmouth. On Christmas Day 1933 we were at 640 East Seventh Street, South Boston - stayed four days- and then were at Geetters' in New Britain New Years Eve 1933 and New Years Day 1934. We returned to Portsmouth the day after New Years Day. I remember stopping at the Shoreham in Washington to see Bill for lunch on our way down to Norfolk in the Buick in the fall. He had been loaned to the National Recovery Administration NRA by the Met and was offered a full time job in the Roosevelt administration but preferred to return to the Met.There was also a letter from Captain John Nelson at Boston Navy Yard to Jack on the HANNIBAL in Norfolk in the fall of 1933 and he sent regards to me. Captain Nelson was Jack's immediate superior at Boston Naval Shipyard 1932-1933.] [p34] New York City January 22, 1935 Dear Jack and Sophie, Sophie, if you'll let me know the exact silver you want, I'll get you quotations. My friend says that he can get the real inside at Gorham's, so all I'll have to supply is the patterns and quantities. I see by the papers that you all have arrived at your stations. I was home over the weekend, and the Times of Saturday announced the arrival of the HANNIBAL at Balboa. Everyone is fine at home. They are still talking of how much they enjoyed your visit- Pa is talking so much of Sophie that I think we have just cause to be jealous. Skippy was asking for you and semed to wonder why she didn't get more food from the seat against the wall at the kitchen table. I am enclosing [William] Perry's address [master of Lincoln school] but I know it's too late as Jack always rushes off and writes immediately about state troopers who rescue him in the rain - and why --- Perry's address is 49 Addington Avenue Brookline, Massachusetts, and he always was so fond of "Reddy". Shall I tell him to expect the letter? How is the Canal looking this year? Let's hear, but mostly, let's know how's everything. -Bill" [p53] to Lieutenant Commander J.B. Barrett USS CLAXTON c/o postmaster New York [from] Milwaukee August 11, 1936 Dear Jack, I've wired you from here today but wasn't quite sure where you'd be, so this letter. I'm on one of the U.S. Steel lake cargo boats - five hundred foot, carrying coal Detroit to Milwaukee this trip. I'm guest of Fred Erb of Detroit. It's been a beautiful trip and a wonderful vacation. Now - to get to the point. It is most important, if you can arrange it, in any way that Mr. Fred Erb get aboard the boat for the trip you are fixing for me. I'd like to have him along, and I know he'd love to go. He is the President of Eaton Erb Company of Detroit, an important subsidiary of the Eaton Manufacturing Company of Cleveland. He is a prominent citizen of Detroit and a great friend of mine.In fact, he is largely responsible for the success of the foundry survey - my first job with the Met, which I think had a lot to do with my getting known in the company. What I'd like to have is that he and I board the CLAXTON at New York Monday August 24, 1936 and go back to Norfolk and Annapolis with you. If at all possible, do this favor for me. If you get an answer before Friday, wire me c/o Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Group Division, General Motors Building, Detroit. I expect to be back there Thursday. I'm returning to New York Monday August 17. See you next week. Regards, Bill" [p 51]"July 1, 1942 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company William J. Barrett, manager Policy Service Bureau [to] Fourteenth Naval District Honolulu Hawaii, Dear Jack, I have been planning for so long to write you a letter that I am going to have to dictate it if I expect to get it to you soon. You will please excuse this. Today Mr. Frank Midkiff came in to see me at your suggestion, and I very much enjoyed my visit with him. He is an extremely well informed individual, and in fact he is well acquainted with a lot of my personal friends. We had all too short a visit. I had hoped that he could stay a little longer, but apparently having such a brief time in this country, he has practically every minute taken. It was interesting to hear that you have been asigned with Admiral Bagley. This must make it very pleasant for you. I was up home recently and found everything in good shape. Pa is holding up very well. In fact, I found him much better than I thought he would be in view of the apparent shocks which he suffered last year. He is naturally weak now and is very restive at the fact that he cannot do what he used to do, but under the circumstances I think he is in pretty good shape. We bought a house in Darien as I felt it was most advisable to hedge against what is to come and to know exactly where I was as far as the rental factor was concerned. This is not as large a piece of land as the other house, but has about an acre. It is a more practical house in many respects. I received your photographs and was very happy to see everyone looking so well. I learned tht your furniture is in Boston, and I understand that it is still on the pier, apparently there being no instructions as to what storage place to put it in. If there is anything I can do, let me know. Best regards to Sophie and John. As ever, Bill." [p.138] 1951 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company newspaper heading: William J. Barrett named Secretary picture of Bill in write-up.William J. Barrett, formerly Third Vice President was appointed Secretary of the Company on August 25th to fill the vacancy which occurred when James R. Herman passed away on July ninth. In announcing the appointment, the President said that Mr. Barrett will continue to head the Publications Division in his new capacity. He will also have responsibility for the operation and management of the Investigation Division, Filing and Tracing Division, Inquiry and Information Bureau, Mail Division, Supply Division, Transcription Division, Bronxville Hall of Records, and Kingston Hall of Records and will have Assistant Secretary Broadbent associated with him in the management of these units. In addition the Library, formerly under the supervision of the Health and Welfare Division will be transferred to the Secretary's office. Mr. Barrett joined the Company in 1923 as a member of the Policy Holders Service Bureau staff and rose to become Manager ten years later. In 1942 he was appointed an Officer of the Company with the title of Assistant Secretary. He became Assistant Vice President in 1944 and a Third Vice President in 1947." SOPHIE TEXT: Going back to January l938 Jack and Bill were both in Boston for the funeral of Bill's mother (Jack's stepmother, Mary Lane Barrett). In September l938 Bill flew on business to the West coast, and narrowly escaped injury in an airplane accident. He visited the Presentation Convent at San Francsico where some of the nuns had known his father's sister, Sister Mary Joseph and unsuccessfully made inquiry for Robert Fahrbach in San Francisco. Then he visited us in Coronado, swam, and told us he would soon marry Virginia Brady. The wedding took place at St. Patrick's cathedral in New York city, and Grandpa, Mollie, Katherine Kinnaly and John and Anna Lambert were there. Bill and Virginia honeymooned in France and sent us the Becassine children's books and several toys for Christmas.That year Bil and Virginia had Thanksgiving dinner at 640 East Seventh Street.They rented a lovely home in Darien Connecticut.Virginia had grown up in the Bronx and was about twenty-two years old.Billy Barrett (William Joel) was born August 26, l939. We saw him a few months later while Miss Blanche Caffey, John's former practical nurse, was working at Darien.Bill visited us once in Brooklyn, bringing John a toy steam shovel from Macy's.Billl also called us up in Brooklyn to give us the first news of Jack's promotion from Lieutenant Commander to Commander, as Bill had read about it in the New York Times.The promotion occurred in the spring of l940 retroactive to the summer of l939.We visited Darien after receiving orders to Hawaii in l94l. Bill and Virginia invited us to the Darien Country Club, where Jack took pictures of John and Billy.Bill wrote to us frequently during the war.He regretted Jack's absence because of his father's age and had attempted through a Congressman in l938 to prevent Jack's assignment to the TRINITY in the Pacific. He thought Jack's presence near Boston would be beneficial for his father.Mrs. Paul Rice met Bill for lunch at the Metropolitan Life offices in New York City after she left Hawaii in February l942. Frank Midkiff, a Hawaiian businessman who worked with Jack on evacuation matters l941-42, also visited Bill in New York.Billy had come to Boston to see his father the weekend of August 2l, l942, but found his father had suddenly died aged eighty=seven years, eight months.Virginia wrote immediately, as she went back to Darien with Billy while Bill made the funeral arrangements.Bill and Mollie wrote a couple of weeks later.Bill had been going forward steadily in the company and soon made Vice President.His work in the Policy Holders Service bureau and in liaison with large industrial customers warrented mention in a book about the Metropolitan sponsored by the Company, "HEALTH AND WEALTH."Bill eventually became Secretary of the Company, and his name appeared on policies from 1951 until he retired at end of 1962. During World War II he was loaned to the War Production Board headed by Donald Nelson. In the l950's he taught at the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia.He was a trustee of colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts, and of American Heritage Foundation. A neighbor in Darien was the writer Louise Hall Tharp, whose husband worked at the Metropolitan.Bill gave John a copy of her book "Company of Adventurers" about the Hudson Bay Company of Canada and the northwest. She wrote "The Peabody Sisters of Salem", an account of Nathaniel Bowditch and many other historical books.Virginia died of cancer in May, l945 while we were still in Hawaii. Her mother went to live in Darien, and "Gram" became very close to Billy Our first reunion with Bill and Billy was at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire in l947..John visited at Darien for several days around l952 and had a chance to get acquainted with Bill, Billy and "Gram". His aunt Mollie was there also, and she frequently spent weekends at Darien. After "Gram's" death in l953 Mollie went to0 Darien nearly every weekend, as Billy had long trips commuting to work.In l951 Billy attended summer Camp Idlewild on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire. He devoted time to sailing and collected stamps, attended Darien High School and in summers Culver Military camp in Indiana- then tried freshman year at his father's alma mater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.One time on a visit he introduced us to cranberry juice, which was starting to become popular. Later his uncle Jack drank a lot of cranberry juice when his doctors discouraged the use of orange and lemon juice because of his prostate condition. Billy transferred to Depauw Universitry in Indiana, where he was graduated in l963. His wife Sara is an Indiana native, and her sister and brother-in-law lived at 640 East Seventh Street for a time after Mollie died.Billy worked in the Investment section of the Metropolitan Life Company until 1966 and settled in Rumson, New Jersey on the coast near Sandy Hook.He joined Gregory and then Saxton Company as a securities underwriter. Bill senior remarried in l958. His third wife was Mrs. Margaret Floyd, a widow with four children ranging in age from nineteen to age four. After a honeymoon in Spain, Bill and Margaret sold Bill's home at Wakeman Place to buy a larger house on Oxridge Lane, Darien.Bill Floyd the eldest was Billy's age. He attended the Portsmouth Priory, Rhode Island and Brown University, studied in England and later returned to be a teaching brother at the Priory.Mollie in l960 spent a week in Bay Saint Louis Mississippi on the Gulf coast visiting Mrs. DeSta, the mother of the Floyd children's father, who had been killed in an auto accident.Bill had a heart attack in l962 but was sufficiently recovered by September, l963 to accept the presidency of an arts and crafts marketing company on Forty-Second Street, New York, with a staff of forty-five or fifty.He was taken ill at work on January 20, l967 and died at at a Stamford, Connecticut, hospital the next day of an aneurysm. Mollie had fortunately had a particualarly fine extended Christmas visit with him a month earlier. Despite cold snow eather Jack drove to the funeral, attndd by Bill's classmate and close friend, Boston lawyer John Vaccaro, and the sisters of Bill's first wife - Fanny and Mary Miley of Milton.Margaret gave a luncheon, where Jack saw Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe, Bill's cousin Myles Lane,then a judge in New York, and H. Kennedy McCook, who had traveled with Jack and Bill on the EAGLE l9 to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor in l932. In their later years both Mollie and Bill traveled to Europe. There are photos of Mollie in Rome in 1963 with her neighbors the Pistorino sisters, and Bill visited Ireland in 1966, including a stop at Kenmare, where the Lane family once lived. From the Boston Latin School Register: William Joseph Barrett entered Out-of-Course Fourth Class in l908 from the Frederick Lincoln Grammar School. He won a classical prize in l908, a Fidelity Ring (for perfect attendance) in l909 and a prize for conduct above criticism - l9l2.
Subject: outdoors Sophie
Year: 1938___