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

 

Mollie Barrett Rome trip l963 with Josephine Frances and anna Pistorino of I Street South Boston p 18-140
[ to be INSERTED in place]Joan Rooney from downstairs apartment appears in a group of photos December 1940 in Barrett apartment. Brooklyn & Hawaii black notebook One version #1261 p 76 from"BlackNotebook One"1969 .+The wild apple blossoms were one of the attractive features of the spring flowers on the undeveloped slope between Shore Road and the ocean waters near The Narrows leading to New York Harbor in front of our apartment at #9615 Shore Road+ We toured the Perisphere and Trilon at the New York World's Fair, and Jack was proud of a lighted night view of the Perisphere, which he took with his Voightlander camera. We enjoyed the Borden cows and milking exhibit. + +++++++++p 18-142 p 73-1232 Sophie notebook Two 1939 pp.188-9 w1232 B- R-O-O-K-L-Y-N H-Y-D-R-O-G-R-A-P-H-I-C Sophie, John and Jack Barrett Owls Head Park Brooklyn summer l940 p 18 # 142 In Jack Barrett's left hand he holds device to snap his own picture with German Voightlander camera bought San Francisco June l929 en route to Asiatic Fleet duty Philippines. NEW YORK chapter HYDROGRAPHIC OFFICE August 1939 to June 1941 and departure for Hawaii about July 10, 1941. [follows TRINITY chapter] TEXT: AUGUST 1939 We had a three week visit in South Boston with Jack's eighty-four year old father and his sister Mollie in very hot August weather. The three weeks John and I spent in South Boston in August 1939 [while Jack was househunting in New York and Brooklyn] were the longest opportunity for John and his grandfather to become acquainted. Grandpa Barrett had visited Norfolk {Virginia] in [May] 1936 and [Bala Cynwyd] Philadelphia in 1937 and 1938 when John was a baby, and saw him again briefly in June 1941 juat before we left for Hawaii. John sent carefully lettered cards to him from Hawaii when he was six years old, and Jack took countless picutres of us to send to Grandpa and Mollie to keep their spirits high. A very large batch of pictures were sent to him from Hawaii in June, l942. Grandpa saw and enjoyed them before he died two months later [August 21, l942 less than] four months before his eighty-eighth birthday. The old house at 640 East Seventh Street was not an ideal place for an active three year old boy in the August heat. Grandpa wanted to keep all the doors shut, but John and I felt the need of fresh air. He also thought that John should get more sleep, but John was not accustomed to going to bed right after supper in broad daylight, and I thought it would be cruel to put him to bed so early, especially when he always had an afternoon nap. Mollie even brought down from the attic some of the kindergarten supplies -wooden pegs and puzzles,- which her brother Bill's first wife Catherine Miley used in teaching her kindergarten classes in New York in the 1920s. [Catherine married Bill Barrett in 1923, died of cancer February 1931 while we were in Tientsin, China.]= Grandpa thought they should occupy John for days on end.[end p. 189, notebook Two] [p. 259 Notebook Four]--Plagued by the heat and fatigue, Jack reported to Captain Baggaley at the Naval Hydrographic Office, then in New York Customs House, and found a temporary furnished apartment for himself in Brooklyn. We remained at 640 East Seventh Street [South Boston] as the guests of Grandpa and Aunt Mollie, who did all they could for our comfort that stifling hot summer. ett in her teaching days. SEPTEMBER 1939 The war in Europe was about to begin September 3, 1939 with Hitler's invasion of Poland. The New York Branch Hydrographic Office would be an important and sensitve center for the Navy to receive reports of mine, blockade, and submarine hazards as well as the usual weather, ice, and water depth reports. Finally with the help of his Fordham Law School friend John Papp, Jack found an unfurnished apartment at 9615 Shore Road in Brooklyn,-Apartment 2A on the second floor - arranged the furniture which had arrived from storage in San Diego,-found a garage where he left his car,came to Boston for us, - and Jack, John and I traveled by train to the Grand Central Station, then took a taxi to the apartment in Brooklyn. There was a central long corridor, an excellent view,two large bedrooms,a large living room, a good sized kitchen, and plenty of room for all our Chinese rugs and other furnishings. John was three and a half years old then and still remembers that apartment, thirty years later. The rent was very reasonable.The very large apartment house [six floors] belonged to the State of New York, which kept in excellent repair with a capable superintendant, two hall boys in the large entrance hall, and an exterminator who came frequently to inquire about roaches or other bugs. The area across Shore Road was a mixture of tall grass, trees, sand, shrubs, and flowers, - unfortunately sacrificed only a few years later to build vast expanses of paved highways. But when we lived there, Jack and John enjoyed many happy hours picking wild grasses, buttercups, daisies, and dandelions for my bouquets, and they took many excellent snapshots of John's toy animals there. John loved that apartment and vicinity. His crib was in our bedroom, but John had his own play room, and had his father with him every evening and weekend.The play room faced on New York Harbor- we could see the ships coming and going in and out of New York. Jack raised and photographed flowers in pots in the room- flowers that John liked very much, - amaryllis, ranunculus, tuberous begonias, anemones and other potted plants. Jack had no luck with freesias. He used three toothpicks in a triangle to suspend the stones from avocadoes over water in glass milk bottles, and the avocadoes would sprout several feet with big leaves. There was a large Chinese ancient kassu rug on the play room floor, - building blocks, Tinkertoys,a small and a large rocking chair, and a blackboard on the wall. There was also a solidly built writing table, on which Jack had cut off the legs to make the writing surface about two feet from the floor, and a small straight chair to fit the table. The room had many child's books including a Koala book from Australia- all the Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit series books - Uncle Bill's gift of French Becassine books he purchased in Europe on his 1938 honeymoon- - "The Little Engine That Could" and many paper books about animals. One little children's cloth book about a dog and a cat "Sniffy and Mitzi" provided a name for a favorite toy cat, Mitzi, which was the gift of our 1937 Cynwyd maid, Nellie Kelly from Ireland. I used to read to John by the hour, pointing to the words as I -p. 260- read, and by the time John was three and a half years old, I was amazed to find that he could read although I had made no effort to teach him. As a matter of fact I thought he was correcting me from memory, until he actually read something to me. He would puzle over the Culbertson bridge columns, understanding card play before bidding. The Barrett family used to play "High-Low-Jack" in South Boston. My father played pinochle, and I learned "Russian bank" aboard the transport HENDERSON in 1930. John also studied the comic strips, "Napoleon and Uncle Elby", "Bringing up Father" with Maggie and Jiggs, and "Mutt and Jeff." =Not long after Billy Barrett was born August 26, 1939, Bill & Virginia had trouble getting help & were glad to get Miss Caffey's name from Jack as a nurse for Billy. OCTOBER She was working for them in Darien Connecticut when we visited them at suppertime one day in October l939.Since Virginia expected us early in the afternoon & didn't expect us to have dinner there, I am afraid we ate Miss Caffey's hamburger- but she was most gracious & happy to see John again.If she happens to read this, I hope she'll send her address.In l940 Bill called up to give me my first news of Jack's promotion to Commander.He also had been the first one to read the news when Jack made Lieutenant Commander early in l932. NOVEMBER At Thanksgiving we drove to Overbrook Pennsylvania near Philadelphia to see my sister Bee. Sam Pollack worked for LaRoux liquers making cordials, & their two children Jason & Thalia were somewhat older than John.Jen & Pete Meranski drove up from Baltimore for a fine Thanksgiving dinner. we met the Pollacks at Atlantic City New Jersey in 1940, where Jack said John dog-paddled without instruction and was ready to "head for Europe." Members of my family visited us many times in Brooklyn, especially my brother Harry's wife's sister Marion Taylor, who was then a nurse in Brooklyn at Greenpoint hospital. My sister-in-law Ethyle Meranski and her son Ted and daughter Carol Jane were among the visitors, and my sister Esther, and several times we saw my sister Bertha Pollack and her children Jason and Thalia. Other frequent vistors were my 1927-1930 landlady social worker Ann Taylor McCormack, and Helen Miller of the Commonwealth Fund, Sometimes we took guests to Jones Beach on Long Island, where once Jack Barrett had to take a deep breath before being rolled around the beach under a eight-or-ten-foot high breaking ocean wave. Fortunately he saw it a moment before it hit, grabbed a deep breath, and rolled around with it until is passed by without serious effects.After that we used the children's area to swim in at Jones Beach.Jones Beach was much cleaner and less crowded than Coney Island where we went once or twice.It did have high waves, however, and rather cold water. My 1923 Mount Holyoke clasmate Catherine Kay Trufant made one trip to Jones Beach iwth us, as did Anne McCormack's sister Eleanor Taylor. Kay Trufant's family raised cranberries in Cape Cod area. Anne gave John a Hershey bar-it would have been the first candy bar he ever had. He was not used to chocolate at that time, and when he did not open it after several days, I finally ate it. Anne and Ivan came for Sunday dinner one time at 9615 Shore Road, and we returned their visit - at Patchin Place, Greenwich Village, where they resided at this time and for many years. Anne continued acquaintance with Harry Hopkins, whom I had known in 1928 - she worked for Travelers Aid many years. She had known Jane Addams, the early Chicago social worker.Sometimes we would take guests to New York World's Fair at Flushing,where Jack photographed the Perisphere and Trilon. Visitors to West Roxbury in 1950s admired the light and dark contrasts in Jack's nighttime photo of the illuminated Perisphere, where Worlds Fair visitors watched movies inside. DECEMBER 1939 John was quite interested in the snow in the back courtyard at 96l5 Shore Road after the mild winter the year before in the San Diego area.The paved courtyard used to have curious little whirlwinds produced by the shape of the building- his father would point them out& talk about low pressure systems.Jack explained the terms "transparent, translucent, opaque" as we has a translucent frosted bathroom window. There was a small patch of poison ivy on our back fence downstairs, & Jack would tell how his father once in autumn met some tourists who ignored his advice & collected bright-red bunches of three-leaved poison ivy, with a little stem on the middle leaf. Both Christmases at Brooklyn l939-40 we devoted considerable energy to decorating small Christmas trees.One year there was a considerable problem with a leak in a tub of water that was used to prevent the tree from drying out. We have photos from both Christmases, & Joan Rooney age five from downstairs appears in the l940 Christmas photos.We still have l970 much of the Chinese furniture which appears in pictures in the Brooklyn apartment.Jack fashioned clothesline swings on the roof for John. The stores in Brooklyn on Third, Fourth & Fifth Streets were about five blocks walk up 97th Street from Shore Road.This was also the route to the subway Jack rode to work at the Custom House tower.There was a good meat market on Third Avenue where we bought rib roasts & chopped sirloin.We soon made the acquaintance of the George Rooney family on the first floor & became very good friends.For recreation we would walk to Fort Hamilton, drive to Prospect Park or Owls Head park to see the squirrels.Later on we made more ambitious trips to Jones Beach, Coney Island,& the l939-40 World's Fair at Flushing. FEBRUARY 1940 After dinner every evening John enjoyed a very leisurely bath, playing with a transparent plastic ball which contained a few toy fish, - and with a large red, celluloid fish.Then his father put on his own pajamas, and John wore his,and the two of them would study the stars at the bedroom window, which faced Shore Road and the Ocean near the Narrows..-In February l940 there was a spectacular display of the five planets Mercury,Venus,Mars,Jupiter & Saturn all visible shortly after sunset in the western sky over the Narrows, where on the New Jersey side west of us there was a big red illuminated Wrigley's chewing gum advertising neon sign.We used to say we hoped Venus wouldn't get stuck in the chewing gum. This close alignment of the five visible planets is infrequent, occuring evering twenty years or so. John's bedroom was on the front of the house where they could get an excellent view of the stars over the water, and John developed a lasting interest in astronomy, -p. 189- which his navigator father always encouraged. Before he was four years old, John could point out the North Star, the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia's Chair, Venus, Mercury, Deneb, and many others. When he was five or six years old, in Hawaii, he could point out the Southern Cross to me over Diamond Head in Waikiki. Sometimes when Jack was tired he would say he "wouldn't go across the street to see the Statue of Liberty do a dance."We began to accumulate the Beatrix Potter series of illustrated books Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny,the Flopsy Bunnies, Mrs. Tittlemouse, the Tailor of Gloucester,Timmy Tiptoes, Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, Tom Kitten, the Roly-Poly Pudding, Jeremy Fisher, the Two Bad Mice, Johnny Townmouse, and the rest.Jack began to invent his own sequels to these stories. MAY 1940 The blitzkrieg overwhelmed France, which surrendered. Northern France was directly ruled by Nazi forces, while a Vichy regime collaborated with the invaders in the south. [Sophie Barrett later read with interest the memoir of Admiral Leahy, who became United States ambassador to the Vichy governent and in 1942 Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt.] The mine and sub situation in the Atlantic was hazardous for convoys and all ships, inclreasing the responsiblity of the Hydrographic office for complete up-to-date information. JUNE 1940 Jack was not particularly anxious to retire in 1940, though he had thought of continuing law study. However, officers were being encouraged to retire under a policy that gave an extra grade of rank to those that applied for voluntary retirement - a so-called Irish promotion. Very reluctantly about February 1940 he submitted his request for voluntary retirement. Unexpectedly, instead of being retired, he was promoted to Commander.He would have gone on the Retired List June 30, 1940 while in fact remaining on duty in charge of the New York [Branch] Hydrographic Office. On June 12, eighteen days before his scheduled retirement, all voluntary retirements were cancelled, and he stayed on the active list for six and one half more years, thus giving him an opportunity to qualify for thirty years active service, which he attained in mid-1943. He would remain on active duty for the DURATION of the National Emergency. The word "DURATION" was heard frequently throughout the war in Hawaii in relation to shortages, miitary law, and in many contexts.Around this date Jack succeeded retiring Captain Baggaley as officer in charge of the busy New York Branch Hydrographic Office. He retained a great enthusiasm for maps and charts, dating back to his Revenue Cutter School travels 1909-11, his work revising Bowditch tables 1913-1916 at Naval Hydrographic Office in District of Columbia, and his days as Executive Officer of Survey ship HANNIBAL 1933-5. SUMMER 1940 Photo web. p 18 # 142 In Jack Barrett's left hand he holds device to snap his own picture with German Voightlander camera bought San Francisco June l929 en route to Asiatic Fleet duty Philippines.The Barretts frequently watched gray squirrels at Owls Head park a few blocks from home at 96l5 Shore Road overlooking Narrows in Southwest Brooklyn..One time Jack had to hold his breath when a ten-foot-high wave suddenly crested near him - he rolled around on Jones Beach, and the wave passed over and he got up. He said John tried to swim to Europe with a dog-paddle.He stressed ability to float and tread water. We also visited the Bronx zoo, and Jack collected several books about the Zoo. We tried Coney Island once but regularly went to Jones Beach. During the summer of 1940 we visited Mrs. Dora Conover in Ossining, New York. She was a friend from the PRESIDENT PIERCE voyage of 1932 and looked well at age seventy-four on this visit. She prepared good meals despite unfortunately hot weather. Her son Frank sold antiques at home. We saw the film Pinocchio in Brooklyn. The "Technicolor" was considered advanced at the time.Jack collected books of his friend Felix Riesenberg, "Under Sail", "Cape Horn", "The Pacific Ocean." Mollie came to 9615 Shore Road only once, and that was a quick trip during a visit at Bill's in Darien. My sister-in-law Ethyle Meranski and her son and daughter Carol Jane stayed one night in the apartment when they were our guests at the World's Fair. We bought a pencil -p.68- sharpener which we still have [1970] and another one as a gift for Ted. I was struck by the length of time Ethyle cooked the hamburgers; theyt wanted them crisp and well-done for their lunch the day after they went to the Fair, before leaving for their home in Hartford. On one occasion Sam Pollack had business in New York and brought his family. I think he was arranging to transfer to the Schenley company, which wanted him in its management.Not long after this he joined their staff in Cincinnati and later came as a senior executive to the home office in the Empire State Building. Young Thalia stayed with us. Friday she went with us to the World's Fair, where we enjoyed seeing the Borden cows milked mechanically. . I especially enjoyed a restaurant where we got tender rare roast beef and a wonderful dessert of cake and ice cream with fudge sauce. My brother Harry's sister-in-law, Marion Taylor, was a nurse at the Green Point hospital, Brooklyn, at this time. I invited her to dinner, and I spent a lot of time making roast chicken, which I had never served to my family before. Jack, John, and I were enjoying the meal when Marion said, "I don't like chicken." She ate it like a good sport. Helen Miller lived in Brooklyn and came to the apartment once to help hang curtains and draperies. She was still working for Mary Augusta Clark in the Commonwealth Fund. I talked with Mrs. Edward Beach on the phone early in our stay in Brooklyn, when she called up to invite me to dinner. I had to decline, however, as we had no baby sitter, and she felt it would not be an appropriate dinner for John. As a result I have not yet met those very good friends of Jack's from the battleship WYOMING [is it destroyer TOUCEY 1921?] About July 1940 we went to see Bee and Sam in Atlantic City. Jack said John needed no swimming instruction but instinctively dog-paddled, treaded water, floated, and tried to head for Europe. By the time we returned to their house, Sam and Bee had gone out for the evening, and John was so tired, we went right to bed. Jack was tired too, and although he meant to stretch out to rest for a short time, he fell asleep for the night. The next morning he found a police ticket in his car for having parked illegally overnight. One time Jack was caught in an eight or ten foot wave at Jones Beach,where we went frequently on south coast of Long Island. AUGUST 1940 Wednesday, August 28, 1940 was Jack's fifty-second birthday, and it happened that his 1912 shipmate Chester Swanner from the Lighthouse Tender ZIZANIA came to visit that day and accompanied Jack to Macy's Stores at 34th Street, where Jack bought a Baldwin spinet piano, of which we were very fond. It cost about seven hundred dollars on special sale in the summer doldrums, when many people are away and do not like to shop downtown. John learned to play "Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?" and other melodies. The piano remained in storage during our six years in Hawaii but was unpacked after we moved into our West Roxbury home on Thanksgiving Day 1947, where both Jack and John and our music teacher Giuseppe deLellis used it extensively. Chester Swanner was a native of Mississippi who was many years at sea. He went with us to the New York World's Fair that day and had dinner with us at #9615, but wanted to study the cattle in detail while we toured many exhibits. He had a special interest in Ayrshire cattle.Once in 1923 he had sent Jack a postcard from at freighter at Tamipaulis, Mexico. He had a daughter born about 1920.Mollie Barrett could not locate him when she visited Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in 1961 [Mollie went to see Mrs. DeSta, mother of her brother Bill's wife Margaret, whom Bill married in 1958]. Between Shore Road and the water of the harbor, we used to enjoy spring apple blossoms and other flowers, but that area was scheduled for highway developments after we left. One place we used to drive to see the "muck light" - the base of an old streetlight no longer in use . SEPTEMBER 1940 Joan Rooney from downstairs apartment appears in a group of photos December 1940 in Barrett apartment. [The wild apple blossoms were one of the attractive features of the spring flowers on the undeveloped slope between Shore Road and the ocean waters near The Narrows leading to New York Harbor in front of our apartment at #9615 Shore RoadWe toured the Perisphere and Trilon at the New York World's Fair, and Jack was proud of a lighted night view of the Perisphere, which he took with his Voightlander camera. We enjoyed the Borden cows and milking exhibit] There are some good family photos in Owl's Head Park with the Rooneys in September 1940. The latter part of our stay in Brooklyn they became close friends. We saw a lot of them around Christmas, l940 and in June 1941. OCTOBER 1940 Admiral James O.Richardson, highest ranking Navy officer afloat makes personal appeal to President Roosevelt to move Pacific Fleet back to Los Angeles from Pearl Harbor, where it was sent earlier in 1940 supposedly on temporary maneuvers, which becmae permanent base. Richardson may have had isolationist sentiments but presented strong evidence that ships and personnel were in grave danger of air or torpedo attack. If the President intended to keep the Fleet at Pearl Harbor, repeated War Games indicated the urgent need to increase safety. Richardson came to Washington D.C. three weeks before Presidential Election Day and confronted President Roosevelt, who was angry, believing Richardson crossed the line from military advice to political decision-making. Richardson thought he had persuaded the president, but was fired January 1941 shortly after Roosevelt's re-election to a third term despite secret major health problems. NOVEMBER 1940 Relocation of New York Branch Hydrographic office 4 p 226-8 Year: 1940_ New York Journal of Commerce,Thursday November 28, 1940 -from Sophie Barrett notebook Four pages 226-8: "DISPUTE REMOVAL OF NAVY BUREAU:-- SENTIMENT FAVORS CUSTOM HOUSE LOCATION OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL H-Y-D-R-O-G-R-A-P-H-I-C OFFICE. Reports that the New York Branch of the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office, to which deep sea pilots always resort for navigation aids before sailing, will be moved from its present location in the Custon House to another site has stirred considerable comment in steamship circles. While no formal protest of the impending removal of the Bureau to a less convenient location has been launched as yet,numerous ship line officers and several maritime and trade organizations were understood to be considering such a step. DECENTRALIZATION OPPOSED. Moving of the Hydrographic Office to another building would mark the removal of a third Bureau closely allied with ship operations and navigation from the confines of the Custom House -- a decentralization of the shipping facilities that has found little favor with steamship operators. The Steamboat Inspectors' Office is now located at 45 Broadway,while the Coast and Geodetic Survey Office has been moved to 90 Church Street.Since ship masters, particularly those of vessels operating in foreign trade, always consult the Hydrographic Office on navigation conditions in their routes as soon as they have secured clearance papers,- moving of the Office from the Custom House is seen as especially inconveniencing regular services of the Office such as giving of information on ice conditions in the North Atlantic and sailing obstacles in foreign waters. These have been increased by the considerable special information on mine fields and other war-created hazards since the outbreak of the conflict.SPECIAL WARNINGS VALUABLE: As a consequence its service to pilots has become even [p.227] more valuable than in ordinary times.Masters of vessels plying into the war zone never fail to secure special warnings released by the Hydrographic Office regarduing such war hazards.Steamship companies apprised of the possible moving of the Office out of the Customs Building- in which they now obtain clearance papers and Coast Guard harbor regulations for leaving the harbor indicated their disapproval of the change. Although none of them was willing to comment officially,more than a dozen intimated they would direct a communication to W. E. Reynolds, the Administrator of Public Buildings of the Federal Works agency in Washington.Several maritime organization expressed the same view,with two of the leading ones suggesting they would not permit the removal of the Hydrographic Office to go through without directing their opinion to the proper governmental source.Commander John B. Barrett USN is the officer in charge of the New York Branch of the United States Navy Hydrographic Office.[end of news story]. DEMPWOLF letters: [Captain DEMPWOLF was an officer of Revenue Cutter School and appears along with cadet Jack Barrett in 1910 photo aboard training ship ITASCA, which appears on this website] "Dear Commander Barrett, The enclosed copy of a letter received from Captain G.S. Bryan, U.S. Navy., Washington D.C., dated 12 November 1940, is forwarded for your information. Sincerely, R. W. Dempwolf, Captain, United States Coast Guard,- Commander, New York district." [p.228] "New York, N.Y. 7 November 1940 [To] Captain C.C. Todd, U.S. Navy--Acting Hydrographer, Hydrographic Office, Washington D.C. -- Dear Captain Todd: It has come to my attention that efforts are being made by other government agencies to obtain the space now occupied by the Branch Hydrographic Office in the Custom House, New York. If such agencies succeed in obtaining this space, it would cause considerable inconvenience and hardship upon the masters of merchant vessels in obtaining necessary information prior to clearing the Port of New York.The clearances of vessels from the Port of New York are handled through the Marine Division at the Custom House and through the Commander, New York District of the Coast Guard.All of such clearances are approved by the Ship Control Board, Treasury Department, Washington, D.C. Whenever the clearance of a vessel is approved, the master is given a special number by the Coast Guard through the Marine Division at the Custom House.As you know, the average master desires the very latest information, and it is only fitting and proper that he should get this information just prior to his sailing from the Port of New York. Therefore, in my capacity as Commander New York District, United States Coast Guard and Captain of the Port of New York, I urgently recommend that the Branch Hydrographic Office in the Port of New York remain in its present location in the United States Custom Office. Very truly yours, R.W. Dempwolf, Captain United States Coast Guard, Commander New York District." The office was moved, but Jack considered the new location satisfactory, much better than the one originally proposed. I voted for Wendell Willkie for president in November 1940. It was the first time I voted. During World War II we purchased his book "One World", a report after his visits to Russia and China to encourage the war effort. The State of New York used to discriminate against voting by military personnel, so my husband could not vote. They also tried to collect 1939 income taxes, though he resided principally in California that year. A mistake by the Navy in sending data to New York required much correspondence to straighten out. Jack had also to explain the situation to Massachusetts Tax Commissioner Henry Long, who was later [1951] to become his good friend as his teacher in Taxation at Northeastern University Law School. DECEMBER 1940 Christmas photo p 68-1196 shows neighbor Joan Rooney age 5 of Apartment 1-A downstairs and John and Algeria photos and Tientsin rug. JANUARY 1941 President Roosevelt removed Admiral James O. Richardson from command of the Pacific based at Pearl Harbor after only one year of service instead of the usual two years. Roosevelt was angry because of Richardson's strenuous demand the Fleet be moved back to Los Angeles for safety. Roosevelt mistakenly believe the presence of the Fleet would deter Japenese aggressive intentions and show American resolve and support of Britain and Australia. Both were angry and did not communicate well. A dialogue on making the Fleet safer at Pearl Harbor could have been highly productive, but Roosevelt surrounded himself with 'yes-men.' APRIL 1941 -43-977 [Black Notebook 2 -p 157] "April 10, 1941 - 4701 Reservoir Road, Washington DC To. Commander John B. Barrett, Branch Hydrographic Office, New York, N.Y. Dear Doc: It was very kind of you to call attention to the discrepancies between the New York and Boston broadcasts. This matter does not come under my section, but I was glad to bring it to the attention of Watt, who is in charge of Pilot Charts. = He explains to me that the first broadcast, either New York or Boston, is used as a basis for the Washington broadcast. It is considered here that the mailgram would be too late for a radio broadcast from here. It seems that errors in transmission occasionally creep in, for recently the latitude of one of these submarine areas was given as twenty-one degrees -- the requested repeat still came twenty-one degrees - which was, of course, an obvious error. = In the case of forty degrees thirty minutes instead of forty degrees fifty minutes the larger area was chosen for the reason you advanced - for being on the safe side. Watt emphasizes the fact that he takes either your broadcast or that of Boston, - whichever comes first into the office, - and the mailgram is too late. The Coast Survey has placed these areas on their charts at our particular request,and what we are looking to do is to be able, after a time,to simplify the broadcasts by using the letters. This, I think, will be done as soon as the new charts beome thoroughly disseminated in the Navy and merchant marine. = The office is very busy here, as you may well imagine, but the work is increasingly interesting. I keep going pretty well and hope to see you if you make a trip this way. Be sure I appreciate your letter. Sincerely, s/Brad --P.S. Watt has just shown me a radiogram from Branch Hydrographic Office New York ... "between Latitudes forty - fifty northward and eight North and twenty-one twenty North. " We sent for a report, and it came back o.k except 'Latitude twenty-one". [Gershom Bradford, editor Notices to Mariners 1935-1942 Naval Hydrographic office,Washington D.C.] MAY 1941 In the spring of 1941 Jack was consulted by Charles Edey Fay of Connecticut, who had access to Atlantic Insurance Company records of the disappearance of the five man crew of the New Bedford fishing schooner MARY CELESTE November, 1872. Atlantic was one of five companies that insured the MARY CELESTE. Fay wanted Jack's interpretation of certain navigational notes of the MARY CELESTE near the Azores. He suggested the crew suddenly abandoned ship and got into small boats because they FEARED AN EXPLOSION OF ALCOHOL VAPORS FROM CARGO. Gershom Bradford published in American Neptune magazine his theory that waterspouts are frequent near the Azores in November - local severe tornados that draw water and sometimes fish high in the air and threaten small ships. The mystery remains unsolved, though some skeptics have suggested the motive was insurance fraud, and the crew may have survived. A waterspout would provide a rational explanation for the captain's decision to leave the vessel in good condition, and get into small boats, which were overwhelmed. Bradford showed evidence that water came down from above the ship in a peculiar manner suggestive of a waterspout, a reversal of the usual pressure conditions. Jack kept four of Fay's letters from around the time the Barretts left for Pearl Harbor mid-l941. Not long before we left New York, we spent an afternoon visiting Virginia, Bill, and Billy in Darien, where our former nursemaid Miss Blanche Caffey from Norfolk was helping look after young Billy.John, Jack, and Billy went swimming at the Darien Country Club. Jack took a photo of five year old John kneeling on the grass next to his twenty-month-old cousin Billy. We had it in our West Roxbury bedroom in 1950s and 1960s.We used Bill Barrett's dentist Dr. Ellis on Fifth Avenue in New York. We had a lady come in twice a week to vacuum the floors and furniture. She also took my aprons home to wash, and I gave her a great many of John's baby things when she said that her daughter was going to have a baby. On June 30,our last day in our apartment, Mrs. Rooney gave us a very good lunch - chicken, potatoes, and peas just before we caught our train for the West Coast. Mrs. Rooney died during the war, but we saw George Rooney and his second wife in 1958 in their same apartment after the wedding of David Geetter and his wife Joan Trouboff. Mr. Rooney said his daughter Joan was studying nursing. In 1941 Admiral Chester Nimitz then in charge of the Bureau of Navigation, sent orders for Jack to leave for Pearl Harbor in July. It was rather painful to tell Grandfather Barrett and Mollie. Grandpa guessed the news, but Mollie did not. In our 1937 Lincoln Zephyr we took a tour to Springfield and Greenfield, in western Massachusetts, drove near Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and stopped in for a night in South Boston without explaining the reason. It was a slightly awkward visit, as Mollie did not expect us and did not guess we were to be away for six years. Later on a visit to Darien we told Bill and Virginia we were leaving, and Bill and Jack took pictures of John (age five) and Billy (twenty-one months). In conversation with his brother Bill and with Brooklyn neighbors, especially in the aparment across the street at #9701, Jack emphatically predicted the Japanese would soon start a war, and urged action to cut off petroleum and scrap iron. In 1932 he had called the election between Hoover and Roosevelt a terible choice, as both were very weak on defense. Alongside isolationists like Herbert Hoover, Charles Lindberg, and Joseph Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt could maintain an image as an internationalist, but he often placed politics and budgetary consideratins ahead of re-building almost non-existent modern defenses. One example was the curtailment of Naval Reserve programs in 1933, when Roosevelt attempted to fulfill a 1932 campaign promise to balance the budget. The June 18m 1832 issue of Springfield Republican newspaper in a front page story commented on the issues when Springfield area Navy reservists made the last of the EAGLE 19 training cruises, and Jack Barrett was transferred to the survey ship HANNIBAL. Roosevelt appointed personal cronies to high military posts for which they were unqualfied - Navy chief Admiral Harold Stark, intelligence chief Richmond Kelley Turner, congressional liaison Admiral Claude Bloch, courageous but blundering Admiral Callaghan, and Army chief George Marshall. By ingenious deceptions the public was kept in ignorance of the severity of President Roosevelt's paralysis, which interfered with military decisions and prevented exercise, which severely aggravated his hardening of the arteries and led to incapacity at Yalta conference with Stalin February 1945 and his tragic stroke at age sixty-three April 12, 1945. These factors, along with Roosevelt's egotism, led to needless loss of more than two thousand three hundred lives at Pearl Harbor December 1941. The fall of Wake Islands and the Philippines were further falling dominoes, and the holocaust in Europe and subsequent Russian control of east Europe. On the other hand the majority of Congress, the public and the news media were equally culpable, without Roosevelt's medical excuse. The New York Times for years in the 1930s suppressed reports of the mass murder of Ukrainian farmers by Stalin and Lysenko.Hitler invaded Russia June 1941 and advanced rapidly with fast tank movements. Russia appeared in collapse as Leningrad was surrounded and beseiged, Moscow threatened, most of Ukraine breadbasket captured, southern oil fields threatened, and decisive battle near Volga at Stalingrad deep in Russia about a year and a half away. On the last day of our lease June 30 after a goodbye lunch with the Rooneys we took a train for the West Coast.JULY 1941 We took a northerly route because of our previous experience with summer weather. We crossed Nebraska. Around daybreak at five AM Jack called us as we passed into Colorado at Julesburg on the northern border of the state. We were only in the state a few minutes. Then we went across Wyoming and were a mile high in Cheyenne, as Jack told us then and used to recollect in later years. We got out of the train there briefly. At Salt Lake City we changed trains and headed South through Utah to Las Vegas and southern California.Probably there was a little less hot weather than on the Arizona route.. We were to catch the Matson Line LURLINE at Wilmington, California near Los Angeles about July 10 and arrive Honolulu July 15. The Pardees saw us off and were very impressed with the suite we occupied on the LURLINE. I think C.J. Todd [former Revenue Cutter School classmate] may have been there also. HAWAII CHAPTER FOLLOWS. #142 p 18
Subject: Mollie and Pistorinos Romer
Year: 1963Pistorino