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

 

Sophie Meranski 1923 Mount Holyoke Year Book #841 p 28
One of Sophie's Hartford Public High School teachers Harriet Barstow interested Sophie in attending Mount Holyoke College.In Pearsons Hall freshman year particular friends included Eleanor Hall, Clara Michal(-opoulos, born in Smyrna) and Becky Smaltz. Sophie scored a 98 in Economics sophomore year, and Professor Alzada Comstock said Sophie wrote the best exam paper she had ever received from a student.Sophie waited on tables and worked on the switchboard - the last job arranged for her by Cora Hughes'22 so Sophie could afford a junior prom date.Sophie's sister Bertha had a friend Sadie Slonaim of Hartford who eventually married U. Mass journalism student Bert Quint,and they introduced Sophie and Nandor Porges, who played football and dated Sophie 1922-l923 - expect to study soil schemisty - used to commute by trolley from the amherst campus to Mount Holyoke. Sophie studied statistics under labor economist Amy Hewes who invited her to work in statistics laboratory while doing master's degree (Young Offender and the Law in Massachusetts MA 1925.Sophie minored in German with Grace Bacon, who went to France l9l9 with Army nurses.Sophie enjoyed hearing Mary Woolley in chapel mornings and class singing. Her father and mother attneded the 1923 graduation when Amerst's president Alexander Meiklejohn was featured speaker. Sophie attende a gfootball game 1922 with Nandor against Mass. Aggie's traditional rival - he gave her his fraternity pin the Saturday night before graduation - then raced to catch last trolley to Amherst 9:50 pm, but she never heard from him again.MOUNT HOLYOKE memoir text: ."..My home room & English teacher was Miss Harriet Barstow, a young (l9l5) graduate of Mount Holyoke College,interested in missionary work. Her sister was also a teacher. Miss Barstow encouraged me to apply for Mount Holyoke College. Many of the girls had given up the idea of college because the best girls' colleges just that year had decided to require college entrance examinations for the first time in the year we were scheduled to enter. [p.15] But Miss Barstow was persistent with me and helped me to make out an application to Mount Holyoke College.She had sent for the form. So I took the College board exams in English, Latin, and mathematics as required at that time. Mount Holyoke agreed to accept me on condition that I take trigonometry my freshman year, as my grade in geometry in high school was unsatisfactory. So I reluctantly agreed to take mathematics my freshman year at Mount Holyoke. My high school subjects senior year were English, German, Latin, and Chemistry. I do not recall my grades and have no record of them. As soon as I was sixteen years old, I started to work Saturdays and summers at G. Fox and company.'s department store on Main Street, where my brother Ben worked in the shipping department. I sold notions. When I left at the end of the summer 1919 to enter college, the department gave me a sewing basket filled with all the pins, needles, darners,cotton,scissors,tape measure that a college girl away from home really needs. When I wrote to the college accepting admission, I asked for work to do to help pay expenses, and the college gave me a job waiting on table for lunch and dinner seven days a week, except no Sunday supper. Since none of my older brothers or sisters had attended college, we were all enthusiastic, even though none of us knew how we could finance the venture beyond my freshman year. My savings from working at Grant's and at Fox's would cover freshman year but allow nothing for clothes or recreation., To a seventeen year old girl who had never been farther from home than high school, a trip to South Hadley, Massachusetts seemed too much. So my beloved brother "Al" (Abe) volunteered to accompany me on the train to college the Saturday before classes were to begin.My oldest sister Esther, a bookkeeper for Swift & Company loaned me her suitcase,which was more than ample because about the only clothes I had were those I was wearing.She also gave me her fur lined leather winter coat which I used all four years at school Since it was really only a jacket I really needed the woolen skirt I wore with it. It was an uneventful trip - we took a train to Springfield, changed there to a Boston and Maine train for Holyoke, then had a long trolley ride to South Hadley. I was to live on the fourth floor of Pearsons Hall [on the west side of the main road near the President's home] , and as it was geting dark that September afternoon, the small room with its bare furnishings did not look inviting, and I think my brother would have taken me home if I had asked him to. At this point my "big sister" appeared. She was a member of the class of 1921, who had written to me during the summer. She was pretty and cordial, and her greeting to me and to my brother helped, but she left almost immediately saying she would get in touch with me again. Al had to leave for the trip home- so he was off, and I was alone- left to a lonesomeness which I survived but which led many of my classmates to leave. Fortunately I was scheduled to have dinner at 5:30 so that I would be free to wait on table at six,& after the wholesome generous warm food I felt a little better & managed to wait on my table without seasoning the food with tears. But that Saturday evening was an eternity. Freshman week was not observed at Mount Holyoke. I stood by the window in that small room on the fourth floor looking out at the awful darkness and struggled against my loneliness with nothing to do, as I had so few possessions to unpack and so few stamps to waste on letter writing. Eleanor Hall had the cubby hole next to mine, and Olivia Sherrod had the one across the hall from me, and Clara Michal was next to Olivia. I didn't meet Eleanor or Olivia for some time, but I met Clara on Sunday because she too waited on table. Soon I knew all the girls who waited on table. and when I heard Olivia sobbing in her room I went in to comfort her - but before the first week was over,she had left Two freshmen Becky Smaltz and Frances David from Germantown Friends School had a double room on that fourth floor -but the rest of us had single rooms- there were Kay Trufant, whose family grew cranberries on Cape Cod, Mildred Janney, Ruth Connally,, Anne Bell, and Agnes Cormack.18- Soon after Olivia went, Anne Bell and Agnes Cormack gave up too and went home. I was crazy about the cook,Elizabeth & she liked me, gave me extra steak & vegetables & always offered me extra dessert. Her warmth kept me there when others gave up & went home,& her food added seventeen pounds to my weight so that the only way I could use my one woollen skirt was to keep it together by a horse-blanket-sized safety pin supplied by the cook,who could even make hash taste good.Since I always wore a white middy blouse,the safety pin did not show.At most I had three middy blouses but kept them clean in a well supplied laundry in the basement of the dormitory. After I left Pearson's I went back every year to see Elizabeth even after I became a member of the faculty. Those of us who waited on table fared better at dinner than the other girls because we ate first just as soon as the food was cooked & of course before there was a shortage of any item. We had our lunch after the others ate. My subjects freshman year were Chemistry, Trigonometry, German, and English. Except for the "Trig", which gave me some trouble, I had no academic difficulty. I concentrated on making friends with Clara Michal, Mildred Janney, Ruth Connally, Becky Smaltz, and a few seniors. The greatest thrill of my life up to that time came the Wednesday before Thanksgiving- because I was going home after I served brunch. I could hardly breathe for excitement, as my sister Esther had sent me the price of the round trip. I rarely wrote home as I had used the few stamps I had and had no cash to buy one-cent or two-cent stamps. I remember my joy when Julius Aronson, my brother Al's best friend,wrote a letter to me enclosing one dollar early in my freshman year. I used it at the college bookstore for theme paper. As I left the building where my last Wednesday class let out at noon, I was overjoyed to be going home. I greeted my father first downstairs in the grocery and general store heowned - then my mother up in the kitchen - then my sisters and brothers as they came home from work and school.I walked home from the railroad station with my suitcase, and then walked back to the station Sunday afternoon with Esther and my younger brother Pete. The next summer 1920 I went back to Fox's notion counter and spent my sophomore year residing at South Cottage and again waited on table to help meet expenses.My courses were German, Physiology Economics, and Sociology.. Sophomore year I roomed with Eleanor Hall who had lived next door to me in Pearson's,who drew a lucky number enabling her to choose a room very early on the list,& she invited me to join her in spacious quarters for two. {Eleanor later studied library science at Simmons College. I saw her at reunions in 1978 and 1983]. There in South Cottage there was quiet for study & soon after the mid year examinations I received a note from Professor Alzada Comstock saying that she had given me a grade of 98 on the Economics exam and considered my paper the best she had ever read by a student. We used Taussig's text and recited from David Ricardo: "Corn is not high because rent is dear. Rent is dear because corn is high." Chapter One Sophie Family History p 75 #1254 second part after Alzada Comstock, Taussig sophomore year Mt. Holyoke Edit Taussig's text and recited from David Ricardo: "Corn is not high because rent is dear. Rent is dear because corn is high." During the years after World War I there was a period of great enthusiasm for singing at the college. Our l923 class song "The SPHINX" was written (lyrics) by archaeologist Marion Nosser with music by classmate Ruth King Dunne freshman year,"Wind hushed, the desert lies dreaming Under the far eastern sky Only the Sphinx keeps its secret, Waiting for daylight to die.Now 'neath the warm blue of heaven,Rousing itself with a sigh,Softly it speaks & its whisper Floats to the dome of the sky.Hark don't you hear the far echo? Borne on the night wind to us? Now has the Sphinx told its secret "NON SIBI SED OMNIBUS" (for all, not self).Faithful,we'll guard it forever, Marching Beneath it unfurled Until the age-long secret lies in the heart of the world." . After a fire destroyed Rockefeller Hall one November, forcing residents to live in the gymnasium, several girls of our class wrote a "Fund=Raiser" song for alumnae & friends, " Holyoke's RAISING College-BRED (BREAD) From the Flower (FLOUR) of the land. From YEAST (y'east) & West with plenty of SPICE She makes a superior brand.We KNEAD (need) a lot of DOUGH To RAISE the Fund 'tis SAID. But WE are NEEDED (KNEADED) too,you see, For WE are COLLEGE=BRED (BREAD)." Mildred Holt participated in that and led us in"Competitive Class Sing" which we frequently won. One song used the melody of Triumphal Chorus of Verdi's AIDA to the words "Where Peace & Freedom Reign, the Happy Songs of Children Rise. The desolate of all the earth find here their sorrow dies."That sophomore year I made the acquaintance of a Massachusetts Agricultural College senior who occasionally came over to see me.His name was George Quint,a journalism major whose fiancee Sade Slonim of Hartford was my sister Bee's girl friend. (Their son Bert Quint was CBS-tv foreign correspondent East Europe-Near East l970's.That summer between my sophomore & junior years I worked with my sister Esther at H.L. Handy company near the railroad tracks.Across from the company where I did filing that summer was the Cohen Coal company, where a young man worked & smiled at us when we were going to or coming from work. He was often outside directing his coal truck drivers. When I returned to college for my junior year,my finances were precarious but Mount Holyoke had initiated a new system of reduced rates for some rooms,so I took a fourth floor room where I waited on the table of Miss Amy Hewes, who was at the head of the Department of Economics & Sociology.She told Miss Wheeler the house mother that my waiting on her table was a complete joy to her. Consequently in my senior year I waited on Miss Wheeler's table, where all her VIP guests ate.My courses junior year were German, (with Grace Bacon, who had been in France with Red Cross in l9l9 & sang songs like "Joan of Arc"), Economics (Money & Banking), Bible,Ballads & Psychology.There were several Freshmen on Brigham Fourth Floor & a senior named Cora Hughes, who were fond of me & pleaded with me to attend Junior Prom. I explained that I had no partner, no evening dress,& no money to pay for the ticket & to pay for a man's room.So one freshman named Gray offered me a blue velvet evening gown(which I tried on).Cora Hughes (l922) offered to teach me to run the Mount Holyoke College switchboard saying I could make thirty=five cents a hour , & she would let me take her hours until I had earned enough to meet the Prom expenses,which we small (& I continued Senior year after she graduated.) Now the problem was the man.(George Quint was graduated,about to be married).I wrote to my sister Esther,asking her to find out the name of the boy who worked at the Coal company across from Handy's. I was pleased to learn that he was the son of the owner-&probably would have the use of a car. So I wrote him inviting him to Junior Prom,and when he accepted,all of Brigham's Fourth Floor rejoiced.It was all a pure joy from the time he arrived,until I received his box of candy & thank you note . That summer again I worked at G. Fox & Co.but now at the stationery counter which was short-handed.Also that summer I wrote to the Dean of Mount Holyoke College (Purrington) reluctantly telling her that I couldn't meet the costs of the Senior year. because my younger brother had entered Trinity college & that my brother Al (Abe) was married & that my sister Bea was not working because of illness. Whereupon the dean offered to lend me without interest any amount that I might need to return to college. So I borrowed several hundred dollars,which I returned to the college before the end of the next year (l924). Again .senior year I lived in the cheaper room Brigham's fourth floor,waited on table but had a little more spending money because I worked a few evenings a week & Sunday mornings operating the telephone switchboard,which I enjoyed..My courses were French, Social Work, Statistics, Philosophy,& Art. "Lights Out" was at ten o'clock. All girls in the college were supposed to be ready for bed at this time. Occasionally a girl could keep her lights on later to study,but even then she had to be safely in her room by ten o'clock. Toward the end of the junior year I received a note from a Junior at Massachusetts Agricultural College,who said his fraternity brother George Quint of New York suggested we get acquainted.After that we dated Saturday evenings during the remainder of junior & senior year. His name was Nandor (Ferdinand) Porges (of Hyde Park, Massachusetts). Early in the senior year my friend Nandor Porges told me that he had made the Massachusetts "Aggie" football team.He invited me to the last game of the season against a traditional rival.So I sat alone & saw him on the Aggie bench sucking lemons & wrapped in a blanket.The game went badly for Mass Aggie & as time went on I watched him impatiently sucking lemons,but the game ended without his taking part.He planned to go on to Rutgers to study soil chemistry.On the last Saturday evening of our senior year, he & I were sitting on a bench under a tree near my dormitory.It was after nine thirty by the Mary Lyon clock, which was illuminated & which we could see from where we were sitting. He had to take a ten o'clock (9:50 pm) trolley for Amherst, & I had to be in my room with lights out by ten o'clock.As we were both about to take final exams & to leave right after graduation, we knew that this was our last meeting.When he asked me to marry him,I agreed to..He pinned his fraternity pin on me,gave me verbally his parents' address in Hyde Park, told me again that he expected to go to Rutgers the next year to study soil chemistry. As his trolley left at ten minutes before ten, he left me at Brigham Hall at 9;45 & rushed off without even a handshake. Exams came & went.I heard nothing from him. Commencement came & went.Still I heard nothing from him.When I had been home (Hartford) a week & was about to leave for New York City (social work) I decided to free myself of a promise made hurriedly to a boy who didn't telephone or write,,so I wrote to him carefully, putting my return address on the envelope, in case I had remembered his address incorrectly & told him I had changed my mind about marrying him & would return his fraternity pin shortly.But I waited to hear from him before returning the pin,thinking that he would surely answer the letter & make some explanation as the marriage proposal came from him although I had never encouraged him to believe that I was interested in him except as a pleasant social contact. I put the fraternity pin in a bureau drawer & forgot to take it with me when I left for New York City very soon after the letter & my father promised to forward any mail that might come from him. I naver heard from him & I never returned his fraternity pin,thinking if he wanted it he would have to write for it. But he never did.At the first class meeting senior year there was a hearsay report that all the previous year's officers should be re-elected unanimously. Some members of the class were indignant that a handful of girls should run the class all the time, so they insisted upon individuals nominations for class officers. I was elected Sargeant at Arms, a post that gave me pleasant duties that year & at reunions.(Class won silver cup for high attendance at 25th Reunion l948 -stolen photo showed Sophie holding the cup with class officers) Before I was graduated,I knew every member of my class.Attendance at morning chapel & at Church Sunday was required. In the Senior year each girl wore cap & gown every morning to chapel.& when the service was over, the Seniors marched out in twos,singing a hymn to the accompaniment of the organ.Every Sunday a well known minister would visit the college to conduct church services.. [near bottom page 23 - John Barrett note{Sophie's father & mother and sisters Esther & Babe Rebekah rented a car to attend the l923 graduation at which Sophie received her A.B. degree. They were guests at the luncheon table of Sophie's advisor & future boss, Amy Hewes, head of Economics & Sociology Department,which was organized l907..The morning speaker had been Alexander Meiklejohn, president of Amherst College,who had strong views on excellence in education and was considered radical..Someone asked "Pa" Meranski what he thought of the speaker,and he replied in his usual loud voice,so that everyone at the table could not miss hearing him,"They'll fire him."(Miss Hewes remained polite & unpeturbed). "Pa" Meranski's prediction proved correct.He was active in teaching English to immigrants through the Moses Montefiore society in Hartford and in helping families make funeral arrangements through Capitol city Lodge..His daughter Babe recollects that around l9l2-l9l4 Boris Thomaschevsky of Yiddish theatre, Second Avenue, New York & members of his family when on tour would sing at the Meranski restaurant on Morgan Street, & Thomaschevsky invited Bertha Meranski to travel as a singer with his company,but her parents considered it inadvisable. She was active in the glee club and girls Business Club in class of l9l7 at Hartford High along with her friends Eva Levin &..Silverberg. Their photos appeared in l9l7 yearbook, but in l9l9 there was no yearbook because of paper shortage after World War I.The three older Meranski brothers,Harry Ben & Abe were drafted late summer l9l8.It made their mother so nervous that she put salt instead of sugar she was making.Two went to Fort Devens, Massachusetts & one to Fort Dix New Jersey. Two had influenza, probably Harry & Ben.Several of the family took middle names or nicknames -Benjamin Franklin Meranski, Sophie Ruth Meranski = she loved the Book of Ruth in the Bible-Israel Peter Meranski & Rebekah "Babe" Meranski Geetter.Sophie sang many World War I songs: "Alsace is sighing, Lorraine is crying Your mother France looks to you.Our hearts are bleeding Are you unheeding Come with that flame in your glance. Through the gates of Heaven Do they bar your way? Souls who passed through Yesterday (chorus:) "Joan of Arc,Joan of Arc Do your eyes from the skies see the foe? Don't you see the drooping fleurs-de-lis? Can't you hear the cries of Normandy?Joan of arc may your spirit guide us through! Come lead your France to Victory!Joan of Arc they are calling you." She sang the Plattsburg March:"Oh it's not the pack that you carry on your back,Nor the Springfield (rifle) on your shoulder Nor the Four Inch crust of khaki-colored dust that makes you feel you're surely getting older,And it's not the hike on the old turnpike That drives away your smiles nor the socks of sister's That raise the blooming blisters-It's the last long mile." (Breitel). She effectivly rendered Irving Berlin's "Oh,how I hate to get up in the morning! Oh,how I like to spend my time in bed! But the hardest thing of all is to hear the bugler call,":You gotta get up,you gotta get up,you gotta get up this morning!Someday I'm going to murder the bugler. Someday they're going to find him dead.I'll put my uniform away,I'll move to Philadelphi-ay & spend the rest of my time in bed."She also liked(with slight variations)to sing his:"I give the moon above To those in love when I leave the world behind,I'll leave the song birds to the blind.."and "Cohen owes me ninety-seven dollars. It's up to you to see that Cohen pays.I have a bill of goods from Rosenstein & sons On an I-O-you-ou-ou for ninety days.If you'll promise me my son, you'll collect from everyone, I'll die with a smile upon my face."From l9l7 also were comic songs music by Bert Grant & lyrics by Sam Lewis & Joe Young"Pat McCarthy hale &hearty Living in Oregon-He heard a lot of talk about the great New York-So he left the farm where all was calm,And he landed on old Broadway- He took the little Mary Ann into a swell cafe: 'Arrah go wan I want to go back to Oregon.I want to go back to stay.I could feed the horses many a bale of hay for all that it costs to feed one chick on old Broadway.Arrah go wan gowichagowaygowan arrah go wan I want to go back to Oregon!'" and "Timothy Kelly who owned a big store Wanted the name painted over the door.One day Pat Clancy the painterman came Tried to be fancy & misspelled the name. Instead of a Kelly with a double L, Y, he painted "Kely" but one L was shy.Pat says 'it looks right,but I want no pay -I figured it out in my own little way.If I knock the "L" out of Kelly. It would still be Kelly to me.Sure a single L, Y or a double L, Y, Should look the same to any Irishmans eye--Knock out the L from Killarney, Sure Killarney it always would be,But if I knock the L out of Kelly,He'll knock the "l" out of me."From early Hartford days Sophie sang "Moving day, moving day. Take you oil stove from the floor.Take your stove,and There's the door." "Oil,oil,kerosene oil- My oil is better than Finnegan's oil. Finnegan's oil is water. Mine's kerosene oil." To the tune "Love me & the World is mine" l907 hit she sang_"I care not for the Hartford Times I dare not read the Evening Post-I do not want the Journal-One cent & the WORLD (newspaper) is mine." She liked Alfred Gumble's l9l3 " When the honeysuckle vine Comes a-creeping round the door A sweetheart mine Is waiting patiently for me-You can hear the Whipporwill Sounding softly from the hill Her memory haunts you Rebecca wants you Come on back to Sunnybrook Farm." A minor key phrase in this song also appears in l9l5 "Are you from Dixie? Are you from Dixie? Where the fields of cotton beckon to me. I'm glad to see you Tell me how be you And the friends I'm longing to see? Are you from Alabama, Tennessee or Caroline? Anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line?Then you"re from Dixie! Hurrah for Dixie! 'Cause I'm from Dix-ie too."(George Cobb-Harry Yellen) Also "In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia In the Trail of the Lonesome Pine. In the pale moon shine our hearts entwine Where You carved your name & I carved mine-O June in the mountains of blue Like the pine I am pining for you.In the Blue .Ridge Mountains of Virginia, in the trail of the lonesome pine." Particularly when her younger brother Pete courted and married a Baltimore belle Jeanette Goldberg, she was fond of the chorus "There's a girl in the heart of Maryland With a heart that belongs to ME When I told her of my love the ORIOLE above Sang from the old apple tree And Maryland was fairyland when she prmised my bride she"d be There's a girl in the heart of Maryland With a heart that belongs to me." To the same melody & rhyme pattern she sang a curious parody:"'There's a man in my room',cried Mary Ann -'Put him out,put him out' cried Sue."I'm afraid,I'm afraid',cried another little maid,'What shall we all ever do? '....'who do you suppose that he may be?' 'No you DON'T put him out', cried Mary Ann-'What's in my ro-oom belongs to ME.'"' end of NOTE} Sophie narrative:-_ ' _ Commencement day my father and mother -24-came to the graduation exercises where President Meiklejohn of Amherst was the main speaker. After his talk at Miss Hewes's luncheon, my father said,"They'll throw him out." Sure enough a year later President Meiklejohn was forced to resign from Amherst because of his controversial views, My father and mother were invited by Miss Hewes to have lunch with her at her table in Brigham Hall. Then we drove home. I have some good snapshots [[stolen 1993]] of me and some classmates taken Commencement Day.Miss Hewes in 1970 when this was written was ninety-two years old and was living in OssiningNew York with Madeleine Grant, another Mount Holyoke professsor. [Every four years Mount Holyoke put on a Faculty play, which usually related to college history. Alzada Comstock of the Economics and Sociology Department had a major role in the 1924 play while Sophie was junior faculty. That play dealt with a Mount Holyoke faculty in episodes twenty-five years apart, - 1874-1899-1924. President Mary Woolley was a highly successful fund-raiser up until the 1930s Great Depression, and she articulated the need for career opportunities for women in Education, business, and government. She had a very active public speaking schedule and spent much of 1922 in China touring on missionary-related activities. She made a point of knowing every student and faculty member, though Sophie's personal contacts with her were not numerous outside of the Sunday chapel, in which Miss Woolley usually spoke and introduced speakers.Miss Woollley was a strong opponent of smoking "a dirty habit." The college was founded as a seminary by Mary Lyon in 1837. Miss Lyon had a major interest in botany as well as religion. Although the seminary was very small, until developed into a women's college in 1889, there was a strong tradition of scholarship, including science. One faculty member found a fossil dinosaur skeleton in the Mesozoic rocks of the Connecticut Valley, but it was destroyed in a 1917 fire. Many of the best-known faculty such as organist -choir director Professor Hammond dated from the 1890s, as did biologist Cornelia Clapp, who had affiliations at Woods Hole marine biology, so Miss Woolley was not entirely responsible for the development of a strong faculty. English was the largest field of study, but there were many concentrators in Economics and Sociology, a combined department organized around the time Ames Hewes came to the faculty in1907 and reflecting her interests as a labor economist and statistician. She was friendly with Dr. Louis Dublin of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company an actuary and pioneer of statistical research in public health and accident prevention - he made studies of tuberculosis and venereal disease. Others in the Department included Alzada Comstock and Ethel Dietrich, who tended to be on the Economic side- and Aryness Joy, who went to the Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor, where Sophie Meranski worked summer 1924 in Detroit and June-November 1935, with extensive travel. Of Sophie's friends from freshman year in Pearsons Hall, Clara Michalopoulos born Symrna Asia Minor home in Springfield Massachusetts became a social worker in Detroit, Boston, and New Haven - and Rebecca Glover Smaltz was in State Labor Department of Pennsylvania and active in Young Womens Christian Association in Philadelphia. These two remained among Sophie's clostest friends more than sixty-seven years 1919-1987 and saw her at 1933,1948, 1978, 1983 reunions. Becky's friend and roommate Frances David was also in social work and statistics. She compiled an amusing colllection of comic songs "College Crackers 1923" and as an unpaid voluneer she continued the Statistical Reporting Sophie began at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic.Sophie was junior faculty in 1924 in the Statstics Lab under May Hewes. In1988 College History librarian gave John Barrett junior a very interesting photo of Sophie standing in the lab with five students of the class of 1925 seating at typewriters and accounting machines. Unfortunately it disappeared in 1993 thefts. Students included Frances Manning, Emily Miller Noss, Emily Barrows. A member of the 1925 class Ruth Muskrat was a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma who became for many years an official of the Indian Affairs Bureau of the U.S. government. In Detroit summer 1924 Sophie lived with the Patterson family while doing statistical research on adults who had graduated from schools for the Retarded -they generally were self-supporting and had good family life. Mary and Ruth Patterson were in the classes of 1923 and 1925. Ruth was in the statistics course and invited Sophie's younger brother Pete to the 1925 Senior Prom as her own fiance was far away to attend. It was an opportunity for Pete to see his sister's college, and in 1926 he returned the courtesy by inviting Sophie to a dance at his fraternity at University of Maryland Medical School, and she stayed with the family of his future wife, Jeannette Goldberg and got to know the Goldbergs.] Notebook One page 30- In September 1923 when I returned to Mount Holyoke College to assist in the Department of Economics and Sociology I had a lovely big room on the first floor of Hitchcock Cottage, occupied by sophomores only.They were pleasant girls who gave me no trouble. We had our meals in the large cottage next door where I headed a table and was served by a waitress for the first time as I had waited on table all four of my undergraduate years. I tried to lead the conversation and make sure the girls got enough to eat. One of the girls at my table was Anna Mary Wells, who had just entered the class of 1926 with sophomore standing. She became of professor of English at Rutgers and writer of many New Yorker articles and the 1963 "Dear Preceptor," a life of Thomas Wentworth Higginson 1822-1911 that emphasizes his interest in women's education and careers and his editing and preservation of the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the innovative woman poet who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts and spent a year at Mount Holyoke. Dickinson and Higginson corresponded many years on literature, with the older well-known clergymen in role of tutor and mentor, though they met only twice briefly. Then in the 1970s I friendly correspondence with Anna Mary after I learned from Elaine Trehub that she was researching a second book on Miss Woolley. The second year 1924-5 I lived at Cowles Lodge.,also occupied by sophomores. My classmate Betty Gilman, an assistant in chemistry, lived there too. There was a kindly, elderly house mother. Betty made a pretty red dress for me, with white collars and cuffs, and she even did a good job cutting my long hair into a stylish bob. I still have a fine picture of the two of us taken in academic cap and gown on Commencement Day 1925 when both of us received Master's Degrees. Betty went to Yale in New Haven on a fellowship and received a Ph.D in Chemistry. She married Elliott Roberts Ph.D Yale soon after, - raised two girls and a boy and has lived many years in Westport, Connecticut. When a senior at Mount Holyoke College she was president of the Student Government and has taken as an alumna a vital interest in the development of the college. One of her daughters attended Cornell, another Tufts, and her son completed a five year course for a master's degree at MIT. I sat next to her at Alumnae meeting at our twenty-fifth reunion, and we had a good chance to talk while we ate our lunch there - the box lunch. We also rode together in Ruth Peck's car to our banquet at a Holyoke hotel. I have a real note fron her every year at Christmas time. Soon (1973) we will have our fifty year reunion.
Subject: Sophie Ruth Meranski, Mrs. Barrett(8)
Year: 1923SOPHIE!