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


launching of Superdreadnaught ARIZONA at Brooklyn Navy Yard p 41-957
photo published l917 p 445a On May 23, 1971 Lucile Poland wife of Jack's 1906 Boston Latin School classmate wrote to John from Camden, Maine, "Dear John, Thank you very much for the photograph of the Boston Latin School class, including my John when he was a youth. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in having the picture copied for me, and I hope you will overlook my negligence in not thanking you sooner. I do not know any of John's Latin School classmates. I met Dan Lyne once, and your father when you three called on us here in our home. [When John was a guest at Mrs. Poland's home in Camden one month after receiving this letter - June 1971 - Mrs. Poland told him that she had gone out to Hawaii to visit Dr. and Mrs. Austin Cheever. He was a 1906 classmate of John Poland at the Latin School. Maybe Mrs. Poland didn't realize he was a BLS classmate - thought of him only as an old Boston friend.] I have heard John speak of several of the others, so their names are familiar to me. You may be interested in having this late class reunion picture. I wonder if your father is in this picture [yes]. John is seated directly in back of number ten. I do not wish to have the picture returned. What a pity that John and I have no sons and daughters to cherish some of our intimate belongings.We found each other too late. When we were married in 1944,I was 49 and John was 58. At that time I suggested that we adopt a little boy or a girl or both, but John said, "No we are too old; it wouldn't be fair to the children." - and we have done many things to help other people's children. In so doing, we have derived much pleasure and satisfaction. "I do have many friends here in Camden. My roots are firmly planted here and I should hesitate to leave the home where John and I spent the happiest years of our life. The house is big, but I love it. I was glad to hear of the activities of the West Roxbury Historical Society [Jack was a member of this Society, and Sophie later joined.] One reason for my delay in thanking you was that I wished to go to the attic to look among John's things for Latin School memorabilia. I found a box marked "Boston Latin School" containing papers and photographs- one large class picture mounted on cardboard. Your father's picture is in the group, and I think there are three or four of the teachers. [John brought this picture home and had reproductions made for the surviving classmates, as John Poland had named every boy in the photographs.] Now then you offered your help, and I am going to accept your offer: My thought is this: Maybe you could ask some friend to take a drive with you some pleasant day this early summer,- drive to Camden- and pick up these things: I have a guest room with a big double bed if you wish to stay ovenight." [ Sophie Barrett notes:John went to Camden by bus to visit Mrs. Poland and returned with a big box of Boston Latin School materials and items for the West Roxbury Historical Society. John also saw Haskell C. Todd from the tanker TRINITY 1938-9 and his wife at Belfast Maine. Mrs. Poland drove John to Mount Megunticook where Edna St. Vincent Millay had the idea for her best-known poem. From the Boston Globe librarian I learned on June 7, 1971, that David K.Niles (Neyhus) died on September 28, 1952. The Globe carried the obituary on September 29, 1952, in the A.M. edition. It was on the front page (John made a copy) at the Boston Public Library, where the paper, going back to 1872, is on microfilm. Lucile Poland's first cousin Pauline Walker was the West Roxbury Branch Librarian in 1950s and 1960s. Lucile lived to age 94, corresponded with the Barretts and West Roxbury Historical Society to 1988 or later, and went to a retirement home in Ossippee, New Hampshire, where she grew up.]
Subject: battleship ARIZONA