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


Anita Douredoure and Bill Barrett visiting Cynwyd l937 #892 p 33


summer 1937 712 Stradone Road. Jack also obtained tickets for Bill and Anita to attend the November 1937 Army-Navy Football game in Philadelphia. Anita Douredoure sent Sophie and John many wonderful letters 1970-1988 about dating Bill Barrett 1933-1937 after the death of his first wife Catherine Miley and prior to his second marriage September 1938 to Virginia Brady. Anita met many of Bill's business associates and contributed many humorous recollections of experiences with Bill, including their encounter with a palm-reading fortune teller. Anita was a native of Philadelphia of Portuguese background. Jack Barrett never forgot that in 1932 or 1933 Anita's cigarette ashes burned a hole in the Barrett's new golden nine-by-twelve-foot Chinese gold living room rug from Nicholson rug factory Tientsin, where Sophie watched the hand weaving. ANITA LETTER 1970:-- 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 to 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"


Warren Griffith in Honolulu p 33-893


His sister was a Brooklyn neighbor of the Barretts l941 - he visited the Barretts in Waikiki while in Marines - took some photos


grandpa Jack & John Philadelphia #894


standing grass p 33 --5-238 when you will be in Mosleigh. = Maurice Sheehy is just like Richard. he does not do much writing.He has asked me to thank you also for te greetings. His family may take up and do some writing for him.His wife is dead., and he had three sons and three daughters. Five are married.The youngest boy is not married.He is not much over twenty years old. Now I am back to the Buckleys. My aunt Mary Ann did not marry.She died a young woman. catherine - Kate as she was called- married John O Mahony a farmer in Castlelack and had three sons, two daughters - sons Tim,Michael John and James, and Margaret and Mary Ellen. Margaret was a nun and is dead.Tim is married on the home farm.Mary Ellen is also living with them.She did not marry. Michael John and James O Mahony are in England and are married and have family (Tim has one son, two daughters. I haven't got the address of the buffalo Bucleys.But I hope to have it in the next few months, as I have heard from a friend that Bob Buckley will visit Ireland this year..= Uncle Michael Buckley's family - they are in England. Only Richard is in USA. It is his son [who] is to come- then I will be able to let you have the address. You mentioned a Jeremiah Buckley on the records. Perhaps he was a son to Jeremiah Buckley the bootmaker- an uncle to Maurice Sheehy.The picture of Minie is not too bad at all. But people I have let see the pictures you sent me can see a lot of the Buckleys in them. Our Murphy cousins are all dead, and the farm is given to (I)


cadets sewing aboard ITASCA Revenue Cutter School


p 33 #895


Revenue Cutter School buildings


p 33-896 DUPLICATE 41- From the time Jack was a very young boy he loved the sea.He was brought up in South Boston on East Seventh Street between L & M Streets at #634 till May,l902,then next door at #640-& as a young man he swam nearly every day & owned a dory,which he loved, & in which he & Joe Buckley at M & Eighth Street spent many hours rowing & fishing.He supplied his family & neighbors with fish & had enough left over for all the policemen in South Boston.Although he was accepted at Harvard college & planned to enroll & even took some meals that September at the freshman dining hall in the big Civil War Memorial Hall,he could not raise the necessary ($200) tuition funds to attend & turned his attention to the Naval Academy-a natural choice for a young man so at home on the sea.He was first alternate for a Naval Academy appointment (l907 or l908)-had passed all the physical & mental requirements & was told by the first choice candidate that he the latter did not intend to accept, but Jack was stunned when the other fellow took the appointment at the last moment.In l908 Jack turned his attention to the Revenue Cutter Service (merged in l9l5 with the Life Saving Service to form the modern Coast Guard) as the age limit for the Revenue Cutter School at Arundel Cove, South Baltimore Maryland was higher than for the Naval Academy.He spent many hours in his attic & in the Boston Public Library studying history, & scored third in the country of of forty applicants on the l909 Revenue Cutter School examination.He passed the physical exam & entered the three year course in May l909 among a class of twenty-two cadets..During the winter they lived aboard the ORIOLE- his second cousin May Hartigan from D. & Third Streets South Boston remembered visiting in February l9l0 & observing clamshells in the pavements at Arundel Cove. Her father had been a stereotyper at Baltimore & Philadelphia before coming to the Boston Herald.Her eldest brothers "Miah" (Jeremiah) & James had died of spinal tuberculosis, although "Miah had played football at Boston College, as did Edward l889-l978, who graduated from Boston College l9ll & then repeated freshman year at West Point - a classmate of future World War II generals Dwight Eisenhower,Omar Bradley, & James Van Fleet l9l5, whom he saw in later years at reunions. James Hartigan was a newspaper reporter l907 in Bath Maine & wrote essays on philosophy. He was severely crippled for several years & passed away early in l9l2. Jack Barrett spent much time talking with him in his final months, & Edward came home & subsequently entered a seminary & was ordained l9l7.In addition to parish duties in North Weymouth & Everett, he started summer Camp Cedar Crest at Green Harbor,Marshfield for boys & girls,which operated l920's to l970's, & visited O Farrell cousins of the Hartigans & Jack Barrett in l929 at Kilbarry, Templemartin parish, six miles north of Bandon, county Cork,Ireland.It is possible to follow the Revenue Cutter summer cruises by the post cards Jack sent home from the [p.217]ITASCA, the cadet training ship,beginning May 24, l909 at Arundel Cove. The ship was next in drydock at Newport News,Virginia for about a week & headed for the Azores.Designed for the Naval Academy,the ITASCA could travel near ten knots speed with its engines,but sails were added for training purposes & added a couple of knots speed.ITASCA made its first Revenue Cutter School training cruise summer l907.The Revenue Cutter rank system-=different from the Navy- was as follows: they had Third Lieutenants equivalent to Navy Ensigns-then second & first Lieutenants -& a Revenue Cutter Captain with 2 1/2 stripes was equivalent to a Navy Lieutenant Commander. Regulations prescribed that the Superintendant of the Revenue Cutter School shall have the rank of Captain. A few senior officers had higher ranks,but they were not numerous.The highest rank was that of the Commandant in Washington.Mr. Paul Johnson l970's librarian of the Coast Guard Academy at New London has written in the US Coast Guard Aluumni Association Magazine a series of articles on the Arundel Cove years l900-l9l0 & earlier Revenue Cutter Service History, dating to the American Revolution.An important source of material has been Coast Guard Vice Admiral Wilfred N.Derby (Retired) originally of North Newark, New Jesey-a resident ofWeston Massachusetts on Viles Road since his l950 retirement.He was first in academic standing in Revenue Cutter School class of l9ll & was superintendant of the Coast Guard Academy at New London l947-l950.He met his wife in Hawaii where she grew up,& they were married there.Her father [p. 218] was connected with the kona coffee business,& she was a Punahou School classmate of the songwriter Anderson who wrote "Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai" & many other Hawaiian songs.Mrs. Derby's mother was born in New Zealand & an uncle in Melbourne, Victoria. The Derbys had duty in Boston in World War II & designed their own house in Weston upon retirement. The dining room has ricepaper wallpaper & a blue Shanghai rug. Admiral Derby was in White-Russian-held Vladivostok in l922 & served in Shanghai & Nome,Alaska.He made the ITASCA cruises of l908,l909 & l9l0.The l908 cruise was to England & Northern Europe.Jack made the cruises of l909,l9l0 & l9ll.=Admiral Derby remembers marching in President William Howard Taft's inaugual parade, March 4,l909.It was cold, stormy weather,& the Naval Academy contingent from Annapolis failed to show up for the Parade,but the Coast Guard, true to their motto of "Semper Paratus" -(Always Prepared) were present & in the parade. Spectators mistakenly said,"Here come the 'middies!" But for a long time the Revenue Cutter School teased the Navy about the inauguration, Admiral Derby said.The survival of the Coast Guard during this decade was a somewhat chancy matter. Many persons in the Navy felt the Navy should take over the functions of the Revenue Cutter Service, which was under the Department of the Treasury.In l906 a very embarassing scene occured when Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury Shaw, a smalltime Iowa banker,was commencement speaker at the Revenue Cutter School exercises.He was the boss of the Revenue Cutter Service & stated he saw no reason for its existence.He implied the cadets were there only because they were too lazy to work for a living or get into the Navy.His speech was coldly received by the prospective Coast Guardsmen, who were deeply shocked- & for the next couple of years, Revenue Cutter Commencement exercises were [p.219]conducted without a graduation speaker because of this experience.Fortunately Congress had voted the funds for a Coast Guard School,which played an important part in the survival of the Revenue Cutter Service with an image independent of the Navy.__42- At one period the Coast Guard Academy had no land base.It moved about in the training ship CHASE. The l900 Arundel Cove site, the larger training ship ITASCA & the new location of the Academy in the fall of l9l0 at old Civil War Army Fort Trumbull on the Long Island sound south of New London Connecticut were important steps in the development of the modern Coast Guard.The size of the Academy fluctuated.There was comparative prosperity around l9l0-then a drop in funds in l9l4 lowered the enrollment-then there was steady expansion to an enrollment around two hundred in l93l, the last year at Fort Trumbull.In l932 the Academy moved to its present site on the right bank of the Thames River, a short distance north of New London.New buildings have been steadily added on the attractive campus,which now offers a four year curriculum with an academic degree & now l970 houses nine hundred students.The course originally of two years was lengthened to three years in l903 & subsequently after Jack's time to four years.Many of the cadets are college graduates.Admiral Derby,one of the younger cadets,had already spent a year at the Webb school of Naval Architecture on Long Island.Jack's l9l2 classmate Floyd Sexton now a Rear Admiral, had nearly finished the Naval Academy when he failed the physical requirements on being found underweight.Undaunted he [p.220]attended the Revenue Cutter School & had a distinguished career & was in Hawaii l940's.The class of l9l0 was the Senior Class when Jack entered in l909.Of this class Leo Mueller from Alabama did a great deal of photography, & many photos were duplicated & available for sale to cadets from the cruises.Only five seniors made the l909 cruise- of these I met Jack's close friend William Keester at Norfolk,Virginia in l934.The Revenue Cutter catalogue of July l,l909 lists sixteen members of the class of l9ll, who were all photographed aboard the ITASCA on the l9l0 cruise.Their names are Trilck, Eberle, Derby,Starr, Bothwell,Scammel,Anstett,Klinger, Zeusler,Kniskern,Mueller,Stika,Hemingway, Yeandle,Lucas -& Clarence H. Dench made the cruise but apparently missed the picture.Fourteen of twenty-two cadets of the l9l2 class appear in the l9l0 ITASCA photo.Jack's classmate Joe Farley was later Commandant of the entire Coast Guard l947.Admiral Sexton was in charge of the Coast Guard in Hawaii in World War II.Fred Birkett of l9l2 wrote a Naval Institute article on conditions in Alaskan waters. The names of Jack's classmates Chester Kain & C.H. ("catch hell") Abel occasioned humorous comment.Kain later worked with Johnson & Higgins Company in general average adjustment & marine insurance in New York.I met Jack's classmate David Marvin in San Diego California in l938.He was attached to the Coast Guard Academy at New London around l929 & wrote Jack a friendly letter about life at the Academy then. He sold Jack a large colored print of[221]"Famous Old Coast Guard Cutter Bear" copyright l929by U.S.Coast GuardAcademy Athletic Association.Visitors to our house in West Roxbury will remember seeing this picture over the living room fireplace.Jack remained very friendly with this close-knit group of shipmates,who always occupied considerable space on our Christmas card list. Clement J.Todd was another classmate who apparently was a frequent social companion of Jack's.He appears in a number of photos in Jack's album.including one at the David Farragut statue (l893) in South Boston near City Point.Apparently Todd met Jack's family, because he sent postcards from New London to Jack's young sisters Mollie & Kate after Jack left the Academy November l9ll. Twomother classmates in many photographs are Peacock & "Gus" Stewart.After Stewart's death in l960's Jack corresponded with his widow at Stinson Lake New Hampshire & on one occasion tried to find her there when out on a drive.Other members of the class who made the l9l0 cruise included E.M. Webster,Edward Earle,J.J.Talbott, Brown, & J.M.Earp- who was lost in World War I along with E. A Bothwell of the class of l9ll.They were both on the ship TAMPA lost in the English Channel as the result of a German submarine about l9l5 after their ship had completed crossing the Atlantic in a convoy.In addition to the regular cadets there were a few cadet engineers who attended the academy for shorter periods-usually one year at this date.They received higher pay- $900 annually versus $500 for the regular [222]cadets. In the class of l9l3 Jack had one close friend, William Rupertus- later a Marine General at Guadalcanal-Tulagi.Rupertus married the sister of his Coast Guard classmate Gorman-but she & their daughter died of an unusually virulent scarlet fever epidemic at Peking when Rupertus was there l929-l93l working on new gunnery methods.I met Rupertus there November l93l when Jack was sent to Peking for a physical examination for his promotion to Lieutenant Commander.Another famous member of the class of l9l3 was Stone,who flew the Atlantic via the Azores from Newfoundland to Lisbon, Portugal as co-pilot of an airplane. This was the first heavier-than-air crossing of the Atlantic, although it did not capture the imagination of the public as much as the later non-stop flights of the British co-pilots Alcock and Brown and the highly publicized 1927 Lindbergh solo flight. These three appear in the 1910 ITASCA photo, and so does the well-known "Iceberg" Smith of the Ice Patrol. Yeandle 1911 and Von Paulsen 1913 were later distinguished aviators._- 48 Revenue Cutter service : Admiral Derby recalls him (Jack Barrett) as a pleasant outgoing personality with moderately reddish hair.Many of his friends called him"Redhead," though the consensus of his earlier acquaintances is that his hair was not a really bright(light) red (it photographs dark- a dark red as far as we have been able to determine).Admiral Sexton recollects that Jack had a special interest in history & would sometimes talk at length on ancient military campaigns. Apparently this was the influence of Pennypacker,Henderson, and Grace & Botsford & Selah Howell of the Latin School.Jack visited the Naval Academy at Annapolis in l9l0.He came home for Christmas l909. A plumbing acquaintance of Jack's father was in the Navy at this time & sent Mr. Barrett postcards from Malta & other ports.His name was Ben. He had worked for Jack's father & claimed to be aboard the fastest ship in the Navy (the .....?) Joe Buckley of South Boston often sent postcards to Jack as did Jack's family.His aunts in California had a highly favorable opinion of Jack & took great interest in his cruises.Jack's address books from this period indicate he had more or less "code" Greek names for several girl friends: (Greek letters " Helene" was Helen Cochrane of South Boston of Girls Public Latin School, who he l905-6 dated & perhaps thereafter- she was a neighbor on East.Fourth Street of Mollie & Anna Manning,, who later came to West Roxbury- Helen sent Jack a note when her mother died in l937) One of the others was "Athene." At the Overseas Transportation Office Pearl Harbor he often used Greek letters to keep confidential or secret information from being seen over his shoulder by unauthorized passers-by. From this period dates a friendship (probably not romantic) with Ora Whittlesey Sterry, who married Edgard Waterman & lived at Camaguey,Cuba, where Jack visited several times in l920's when stationed at Guantanamo. They had two daughters Bonnie & Garda Waterman.Jack had a very good relationship with Academy Superintendant John E. Reinburg, who unfortunately for Jack left in February l9l0 because of tuberculosis.His successor W.V.E. Jacobs played an important role in Academy history, but Jack did not have as easy a relationship with him.


girls and Revenue Cutter cadets


#897 p 33 probably Jack Barrett at right


grandpa Barrett seated outdoors philadelphia


#898 p 33


Sophie & grandpa outdoors PA


#899 p 33