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


Benjamin Franklin Meranski, l892-l961. p 6 #42 {F}
Sophie Barrett's brother Ben in Hartford l920's. As a teenager he worked in a drug store, whose owner promised his father to teach Ben the business, but some time later his father David Meranski came round and found Ben was "still sweeping the floor." Ben (and the whole family) loved music and vaudeville, and his ambition was to play the saxophone. Eventually he quit the job at the drugstore, and his father threw him out of the house for a time, but Sophie would bring him food (with her father's tacit knowledge according to a l973 letter to Ivan McCormack), and eventually he was allowed home again. He and brothers Harry and Abe were drafted in the U.S. Army in the summer of l9l8. Their youngest sister Rebekah Geetter related this event and made their mother so nervous that as she was making jelly she used salt instead of sugar. A photo of Abe at Fort Devens near Shirley Massachusetts was mailed to Ben at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The war ended before they could be sent overseas, but Harry had severe influenza, which affected his health thereafter, and probably Ben also. Ben worked for some years at G. Fox and Company Hartford and later as a hotel desk clerk. When his mother passed away September 8, l925, he furnished information that her parents names in Austria were Abel and Bertha Goldfeld, which apparently was not recorded elsewhere. He remained interested in music and theater, but had no financial success. He used to participate in family round robin latter, in one of which he commented Jack Barrett would probably become a Rear Admiral (intended hummorously). He and Abe met Sohphie's ship in New York when she returned from eighteen months in China via the PRESIDENT PIERCE and VAN BUREN. Ben visited the Barretts in Brooklyn in l940 and was photographed with the Geetter family at "the Shack" about l941. The family added middle names to their original first names - Harry became Harry Uriah - Ben became Benjamin Franklin- Sophie became Sophie Ruth - she loved the book of Ruth in the Bible - Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David -the younger brother Israel born l903 became Israel Peter - known to Sophie at "Pete" - to college friends as "Izzy". Uncle Jacob Goldfeld's name is changed in Hartford directories to Goldfield after l9l5.
Subject: Benjamin Franklin Meranski
Year: 1924