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


#1199 p 69 -2415 Ala Wai Boulevard Waikiki 1943
#1199 p 69 This is the best photo of 2415 Ala Wai Boulevard, Waikiki where Commander Jack and Sophie Barrett lived July 28, 1941 to June 4, 1947. Morning of Dec. 7, 1941 neighbor Jim Needles knocked on window to tell Jack all Navy personnel were ordered to duty stations because of Japanese Pearl Harbor attack. The Barretts used bomb shelter toward back of the Needles' deep yard in 1942 night air raids. Mr. Needles was a warden of the Office of Civilian Defense OCD. Landlord Walter Glockner lived upstairs - was interned by military police and FBI Dec 8, born Germany - spent war years Stevens Point Wisconsin -returned 1945. A papaya tree he planted 1941 at east side of house gave excellent fruit.Lawn had tropical species of crabgrass Digitaria. Lincoln Zephyr l937 took the Barretts to Boston via Yosemite and Crater Lake and remained in service till 1954. Lava was used in columns of semi-open garage, where tame pigeon "Quove" roosted 1942. To west at 2411 Ala Wai Mr. Glockner had four apartments, which had various tenants including the d'Auberts with cats and spaniel, Mr. and Mrs Means, Lucy Sanborn, Gerda Busck. At start of war Alfreida Watson age 14 and parents lived in high apartments in back facing Tuisitala Street - on south side of which was the famous Kaiulani banyan where Robert Louis Stevenson read to the Hawaiian princess in 1890 near the royal residence on Cleghorn St. Sophie Barrett was friendly with Mrs. Shapiro, who owned or managed the apartments in back. The Barretts walked barefoot to Waikiki Beach nearly every day - eight blocks southeast. At left of photo behind coconut palm and pink hibsicus there was a variegated panax hedge, interrupted by a red hibiscus bush on the Needles property 2421 Ala Wai. One surviving papaya tree continued to produce much fruit. Lava is visible in small porches below French front windows. The left French window went to a front bedroom with sliding door that disappeared into walls. The other three downstairs windows were on the front of the living room. The family bedroom was at back left near the papaya tree. Mr. Glockner's upstairs apartment had one large window visible here with curved top. The 1937 V-12 Lincoln Zephyr is parked in the open garage, supported by about three lava pillars. Sophie had clotheslines in the back part of the garage space. An open trellis on the west wide of the garage had large openings that John could crawl through up to age nine or ten. Purple-colored passion flower vines grew on part of the trellis. To the right was an orange-pink cement driveway for the 2411 apartments, which Mr. Glockner installed in the fall of 1941 after the Barretts arrived. Close to apartment D on the back of 2411 Ala Wai some foliage of a breadfruit tree Artocarpus appears in the picture though perhaps not recognizable. In the center of the front of 2415 there was a small, very shiny fan palm. Perennial Mexican creeper Antigonon leptopus of rhubarb family Polygonaceae grew on the iron railing of the left porch, and small allamanda and 'elephant ears'ornamental taro were near the front door of 2415 on right side, where there was a small porch, above which the tame pigeon Quove nested for months in 1941-1942. The porch and front door were entered from the west side through the open garage, and further back there was a door to the kitchen. Around the right back corner there was a door to enter the shower and bathroom on returning barefoot from Waikiki Beach, and a spigot to wash sand off feet. Mr. Glockner's entrance was at the center back. Some bright colored ginger was planted in center front of 2411 next door near entrances to Apratments B + C. By this date the Barretts had planted nasturtiums and other annuals. They gradually expanded the flower patch in the center front area, with ageratrum, alyssum, Mexican gaillardias imprecisely called "painted daisies", calliopsis, cosmos, mignonette, bachelors' buttons, and marigolds. Succulent airplant leaves Kalanchoe pinnata of family Crassulaceae were popular both in school and in the neighborhood, and new plants could be propagated from the big leaves, where they sprouted along the edge. In May 1944 John wrote a poem: "Happy Mother's Day -With its break- of-dawn bouquet - For its beauty do not fear - First snapdragons of the year. - And the painted daisy - O, the painter was not lazy, - And in flowers what greater wish - Than nasturtiums yellowish?" Around 1945 after the war ended, Jack began to grow small 'Italian plum' and 'yellow pear' tomatoes despite mildew and mold in the frost-free climate and fruit-flies, which made it necessary to put each small fruit in a paper bag right after flowering. One time a bee landed on Sophie's leg when she was sitting on a rocking chair on the east part of the front lawn near the palm tree. To avoid being stung, she sat still for ten minutes, and finally it flew away. John began doing some gardening for Mrs. Laythe, who lived a few blocks east. Jack kept "the second dollar he ever earned" bringing it to the mainland in defiance of regulations against taking the special wartime "Hawaii" currency out of the Islands. Another neighbor near Liliuokalani Street showed John how to propagate geranium cuttings by "slips" containing a "node", and we soon had fast-growing red geraniums that expanded rapidly in the frost -free climate. Purple bouganvillea bushes grew directly in front of us across Ala Wai Boulevard, and a spectacular big red royal poinciana tree Delonix regia was two houses east of us. Pink, golden, and hybrid coral shower trees Cassia of legume family were extremely abundant and spectacular in Waikiki, and 'African tulip trees' Spathodea had big orange flowers probably adapted for bird pollination. Hibiscus were partly native, though hybridized with many foreign species. For the most part we did not see the rare native Hawaiian flora, but spectacular introductions included true orchids and the legume 'orchid-tree' Bauhinia, bird-of-paradise flower, night-blooming cereus cactus at Punahou School, oleander and Thevetia 'yellow oleander', crown-flower, on which monarch butterflies feed,and Cental American frangipani used in flower leis. Our friend Pauline King brought wreaths of the fragant native maili, and Mrs. 'Tootsie' Distelli brought delicious mangoes from her mother's tree near Manoa Valley. I have recently learned she lived until 1988 to age one hundred years and nine days. Banyans Ficus, monkeypods Samanea, sausage tree Kigelia, gold tree and other Tabebuia species were interesting and familiar. Besides coconuts Royal Hawaiian, date palm, and various ornamentals were familiar. The introduced legume shrub 'koa haole' was a conspicuous weed in forested areas. We enjoyed sugar cane, pineapple, guava, macadamia locally grown.
Subject: Barrett home in Waikiki {H}
Year: 1943