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

 


Jack early years p 76? #1259

 

In 1888 Sister Mary Joseph Barrett in San Francisco selected the middle name Berchmans,which was given to Jack, born August 28, l888 at 654 East Sixth Street, South Boston.His sponsor or godfatherwas named Andrew Dailey- pssibly a relative of his father's mother Catherine Daly, who died l863.It was not possible to identify this Andrew Dailey in Boston directorys - an Andrew Dailey had been a cigar-maker on W. Seventh St. South Boston some years earlier but does not appear in directories near l888. Saint John Berchmans was a Belgian child canonized l887. Sister Mary Joseph sent pamphlets telling his history.Until l993 we had a photo she sent of the convent where she served in Sonoma in the l890s and several photos of her.Sh was born l852. Discrepancies appear in records as to the birthdate of her sister Kate, possibly l855 or later, as records indicate l855 but leave an insufficient gap after birth of her brother John Robert November 29, l954. They lived in l859 on Goddard Street, formerly in Dorchester but part of the "Washington Village segment annexed to Boston in l855. The house where John Robert was born is the second door west of Lark Street on the south wide of West Eighth Street - a house still standing with blue shingles in the l990;s.It was owned by Michael A. Ring,who started in the junk busainess, but expanded to paper and "gunny cloth" according to directories. Robert Barrett a milkman, died of lung disease December l8, l859 and his wife the former Catherine Daly in February l863. Michael A. Ring's will many years later shows the division of his property among twenty-four grandchildren. One of his sons Thomas Ring was a founder and trustee of the Saint Vincent de Paul in boston. A neighbor Mrs. Welch took an interest in the family. and her photo appeared in John Robert Barrett's photo albums. Her brother Michael Thompson was a baker with one of the oldest houses in South boston at 640 East Seventh Street, and John Robert Barrett went to lived there and is listed at that address in the l870 census. He went somewhere in the Middle West for a time probably early l870's to work with his older brother Michael in the meat or cattle business. Little is known of Michael, but an excelllent timtype photo of his remained, and we have good copies though the original disappeared l993.Cousin Robert Mehegan wrote in l9ll that Michael Barrett had returned to visit Boston "when the Grand Army were having their convention" but he was probably not a veteran, as city records indicate he was probably born September l850. Mehegan stated that in the early l890's Michael was in Somerville New Jersey near Princeton,. Around l9l5 Jack Barrett wrote his aunt Kate in San Francisco saying he heard Michael had been in Lewes, Delaware, but sahe replied, "It's news to me." Nothing further is known of Michael. Jack did considerable in probabte records l967-l968 and found some indication that Robert Barrett's sister Mrs. Ellen Mehegan of 630 East Fourth Street near I had taken her two niece Mary and Kate Barrett in l862 to live with the Mehegan family, while their mother was still alive but ill with tuberculosis. From l862 to l871 they grew up in the household of John and Ellen Mehegan with their cousins Catherine Mehegan born l854 (later Mrs. Craig of Joy Street Boston, and Robert born l857 printer at the Boston Herald. In l871 they traveled on the recently completed transcontinental railroad to San Francisco to live with their aunts Margarent Barrett and Johanna Hession and the Hession faMILY. MARY SERVED IN THE PRESENTATION NUNS FROM 1871 UNTIL HER DEATH November l923. One of Ma Lane's brothers Tate was a very large and strong person who went to the Pacific and was killed on an island there in the 1890's attempting some prodigious rescue of a team of horses froma dtich. Several of the other brothers were plasterers in Melrose: A brother Bill had five children, Myles, John, Frank, Bill junior and Eileen.Myles played baseball for Huntington School, played football and hockey at Dartmouth class of l926, became one of the first United States natives to play professional hockey- he was with the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers around l930 - attended Boston College Law School, served in the Navy in World War II and became a New York state judge.The remainder of the Lane family remiained in Melrose.A sister of Ma Barrett, Kate Kernan became Mrs. Kernan and had two daughters.My husband was very fond of the Lane family and frequently visited them and his own Buckley relatives in Melrose in his youth and also knew John Lambert, a second cousin of the Lanes and Lynches who was a newspaperman in Portsmouth New Hampshire and adviser to Calvin Coolidge.The Lamberts resided in Portsmouth in the l920's and l930's.Jack attended elementary school in South Boston and then the Frederick T. Lincoln School in greade four through nine with Maurice White as principal, and master William E. Perry, who was laterprincipal. Of his classmates, Edward Illingworth continued along with Jack in the Boston Latin class of l906. Illingworth was graduated from Harvard in l9l0 and studied piano and organ with the composer Ferruchio Busoni. He became a professional organist, married Eilabeth York of L Street South boston, and moved to West Roxbury around l9l6 and lived at 64 Hastings Strret until he was killed crossing Centre Street in November l978. One of his two daughters Geraldine was a piano teacher, and his son was a physician in Springfield Massachusetts. Of other classamtes, John Murphy was active in South boston affairs including the Saint Patrick's Day parades and lived to age ninety untio about l988. As a resident of the Soldiers Home in Chelsea, w he was able to identify more than thirty members of the l902 class in their ninth grade photograph.Teachers at Lincoln School included Josephine Simonton, and in the fifth grade Vodisa Comey, who had a dstinctive method of making students pound therir chests on key points when they practiced elolcution.Dr. James B. Moloney had many of the same teachers four years later. Bill Barrett participated in a performance of Julius Caesar, and his classmate John Vaccaro recited a program about "The Three-Legged Goose." Jack attended choir during these years at Gate of Heaven church but was expelled when his friend Joe Buckley was found with Jack's water pistol. They were both held responsible.A stolen tintype showed the four Barrett children in the back yard at 634 East Seventh Street around l90l, with Jack formally dressed and weatring a hat, and his father holding Kate, the baby.Jack felt a very fine residential area could have been developed in South boston if houses had been planned with larger yards to avoid overcrowding.Next door at #642 the Kinnaly family arrived in l911 in a house that was moved from a location near Broadway and Fifth Street, to make way for a new School Building.Houses were frequently moved in the neighborhood. Horses and icemen were common until the l940's. There was a streetcar line on Eighth Street, which passes south of Dorchester Heights. East Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Streets are cut off at G Street by Dorchester Heights.Mr. Kinnaly was a plumber. His eldest son Edward became a seaman.Danny worked in the post office and he and his wife Emily later lived in West Roxbury and Roslindale, as did their younger sister Katherine, a close chum of Mollie Barrett's for many years.Katherine would often accompany Mollie on weekends visits to see Bill Barrett and his son Billy in Darien after Billy's mother died in l945. One of the Kinnaly cousins was a secretary in Washington DC first to Boston Congressman Gallivan and then for many years to House of Representatives Speaker John McCormack, who lived on Vinton Street. A maternal cousin of the Kinnalys was Father Harrington of New Hampshire.


 


part of Ivan letter + Anthophyte Clade p 76-w1260

 

. Ivan McCormack letter on Brody, east Europe -Aug 29, l973 Ivan McCormack letter notebook Eight received from storage June 26, l998- +You asked to know what I know about Brody! I did have a map of the ukraine,and Brody was on it.- in- I believe - the vicinity of the Bug river. It was in the territory ceded to Poland, and the inhabitants were Ukranian, Polish, and jewish. They all went to different churches and di ot integrate until they arived in Brooklyn and intermarried. It was in the areas of Kiev, and Lvov or Lemberg. There once existed in the Kiev area a horse-back riding tribe known as the Brodniki which survived by fishing, horse trading and thieving.The Brodniki welcomed the Mongols and a few centuries later fraternized with the Turks.-but never integrated with Poles or the Moscow Russians.This tribe was a forerunner of the Dneiper Cossacks. The Ukrainians were God-fearing, flower-loving and musical. In their early history it was illegal to sell bread because they considered bread was God given. Eventually the fertile Ukraine became the bread basket of Europe. I knew Teddy Diadio, prnounced Ja ++ Recently in weekly Science magazine, W.L. Crepet of Cornell cited molecular studies interpreted to show angiosperms as an outgroup distant from a taxon of gymnosperms plus Gnetales. I do not have all the data, but the level of similarity of DNA sequences in pre-Cenozoic branchings of vascular plants is low - only a few percent similarity at most.Generation time of various species and higher categories is very likely one factor affecting molecular rates of change, and others should be investigated, particularly those that might cause a misleading "fast clock" in angiosperms. One possible factor that might accelerate genetic change in flowering plants and their ancestors is haploid pollen competition, which arguably increased with flowers and entomophily and permitted rapid selection of environmentally advantageous genotypes. Angiosperm meristems could have adaptations that permit advantageous mutants to get in position to replicate themselves. An early Triassic common ancestor of Gnetales and gymnosperms is barely conceivable, but the Permian would seem more probable for the common ancestor. How much further back would be the branching of angiosperms from other living seed plants, if the anthophyte clade is refuted? Did Cambrian trilobites pollinate the first angiosperms? Double fertilization has been considered one of the most robust characters linking Gnetales and angiosperms in an "Anthophyte" clade. Michael Donoghue is among those who have studied this character, which has been used by Peter Crane and other leading botanical cladists. Further study of genetic or morphological details should have priority to resolve probability of strict homology or parallelism - it is barely possible but unlikely that double fertilization could be very ancient and lost secondarily in gymnosperms. Another character of importance has been suggested by Bruce Cornet in his study of Sanmiguelia of Carnian age, Upper Triassic - the pollen tube transmission tissue,- a character in which Cornet places Sanmiguelia closer to angiopserms than Gnetales. In 1984 Klaus Kubitzki and otto Gottlieb published two important papers on biochemistry of early angiosperm groups. The earlier published [Taxon, August 1984] was on the shikimate pathway in Magnoliiflorae superorder of the Dahlgren classification, which permits a great variety of fragrances and oils, probably related to beetle pollnation and other scent-pollination. I have read elsewhere that plants of this group need relatively high soil nitrogen, and that specialized plants with large anthers for large beetles to not appear until about sixty million years ago, in the Paleocene. However, it does seem plausible that odor-and-beetle-pollinated flower groups are without exception old -beetles are invading few new flower taxa in the Cenozoic- arguably the evolution of the shikimate pathway was slow and complex. If the recently discovered Laioning Chinese fossil of Sun and Dilcher is in fact a Jurassic angiosperm with many magnolia-like characters, it could suggest that Kubitzki and Gottlieb are correct that the shikimate pathway developed in common ancestors of angiosperms, although early branches such as Ceratophyllum demersum, monocots, Piperales lost these characters. Then the "rosid" dicots would have branched relatively late from the magnolia-like ancestor. The last paragraph is something of a digression into relations within angiosperms, but after reading the Taxon August 1984 paper, I had an exchange of letters with Kubitzki, who mentioned another paper he and Gottlieb published in October 1984 - possibly in "New Medica Materia" if I remember the journal title correctly - it was in the Economic Botany library periodicals collection. This other paper compared biochemistry of angiosperms and Gnetales and found that an OXYGEN linkage was different in many comparable biological molecules of the two groups. Except for this difference, the phytochemistry of Gnetales had striking similarities to Rosid angiosperms, though both show less versatility than the Magnolioid angiosperms. I believe this paper could be very stimulating to researchers with proper backgrounds in cladistics and phytochemistry. I wonder if you know of anyone [particuarly at Harvard} who would care to look up the paper and read it - perhaps tell me if I remember correctly that the journal's title was "New Medica Materia?" It is not possible to jump to conclusions whether Gnetales and angiosperms are sister groups in which the oxygen linkage was somehow altered in otherwise homologous chemical pathways, or if selection produced a substantial convergence. But this is an important line of evidence whether an Anthophyte clade exists or is an artefact produced by convergent environmental needs


 


#1261 p 76 ENDANGERED FISH

 

I began researching Endangered Plant and Animal Species in 1984 with encouragement of ant-specialist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard, who encouraged me to join their "Friends of Museum of Comparative Zoology" and use their fine library partly to consult their "Redbooks" of Endangered Species, published by IUCN. These were very good for land species of vertebrates, but at that time there was no coverage of endangered ocean fish or invertebrates generally or "lower" non-vascular plants - mosses,liverworts, algaae, or fungi, which are now considered a "kingdom" separate from plants. One of my first interests in animal conservation was the lobe-finned COELACANTH, first known as a fossil - then in 1938 South African ichthyologists discovered a single specimen that strayed to their country from the Comoro Islands near Madagascar. No more were seen until 1953, when the breeding grounds were discovered in brackish water near lava seepage of two small islands of the Comoro group. As of 1984 about a hundred specimens were in museums, but none had been brought back alive, as they are adapted to high pressure hundreds of meters deep in the ocean. I began asking specialists their estimates of the total population and began learning about molecular data by which the museum specimens might give clues to the total population - how much genetic variation might exist. More recently a German diving group led I think by Fricke has studied the live Latimeria deep in the ocean and is involved in a conservation effort, and a second species turned up off Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1997. Fish and other organisms of coral reefs are also highly endangered by pollution and climate change. Below is a list of endangered vertebrate fish from Internet. I was also involved in efforts to preserve an ancient flowering plant Lactoris fernandeziana of Chile's Juan Fernandez Islands - it grows on a single cliff there = and molecular data in 1990s clarified its relationships to Aristolochia "wild ginger" or "Dutchmen's breeches" and to Piperaceae the black pepper family. Many commercial fish are severely depleted, at a time when fish is nutritionally important. On the list of endangered species below, the ancient Yangtze River paddlefish Psephurus gladius is interesting and important - much larger than the related Mississippi River paddlefish. --John Barrett Class ELASMOBRANCHII (SHARKS AND RAYS) Order Lamniformes Sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) Order Carchariniformes Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) Class ACTINOPTERYGII Order Acipenseriformes Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) Common sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) Syr-Dar shovelnose sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi) Small Amu-Dar shovelnose sturgeon (Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni) Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi) Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) Order Cypriniformes Twee River redfin (Barbus erubescens) Petropsaro (Barbus euboicus) Border barb (Barbus trevelyani) Sardinita bocagrande (Cyprinella bocagrande) Barred danio (Danio pathirana) Sardinita quijarrona (Dionda mandibularis) Charalito saltillo (Gila modesta) Charalito chihuahua (Gila nigrescens) Clanwilliam sandfish (Labeo seeberi) White River spinedace (Lepidomeda albivallis) Bagangan (Mandibularca resinus) Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea) Cahaba shiner (Notropis buccula) Cape Fear shiner (Notropis mekistocholas) Sardinita de Tepelmene (Notropis moralesi) Bitungu (Ospatulus truncatus) Yag baligi (Phoxinellus anatolicus) CiÁek (Phoxinellus handlirschi) Berg River redfin (Pseudobarbus burgi) Maluti minnow (Pseudobarbus quathlambae) Pait (Puntius amarus) Baolan (Puntius baoulan) Bagangan (Puntius clemensi) Disa (Puntius disa) Katapa-tapa (Puntius flavifuscus) Katolo (Puntius katalo) Kandar (Puntius lanaoensis) Manalak (Puntius manalak) Tras (Puntius tras) Palata (Spratellicypris palata) Cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus) Order Siluriformes Smoky madtom (Noturus baileyi) Scioto madtom (Noturus trautmani) Barnardís rock-catfish (Austroglanis barnardi) Cave catfish (Clarias cavernicola) Incomati suckermouth (Chiloglanis bifurcus) Order Salmoniformes Swan galaxias (Galaxias fontanus) Barred galaxias (Galaxias fuscus) Clarence galaxias (Galaxias johnstoni) Pedder galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis) Shortnose cisco (Coregonus reighardi) Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache) Ala balik (Salmo platycephalus) Order Percopsiformes Alabama cavefish (Speoplatyrhinus poulsoni) Order Gadiformes Skulpin (Physiculus helenaensis) Order Lophiiformes Spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus) Order Atheriniformes Sentani rainbowfish (Chilatherina sentaniensis) Lake Wanam rainbowfish (Glossolepis wanamensis) Glass blue-eye (Kiunga ballochi) Charal de Alchichica (Poblana alchichica) Zona (Rheocles wrightae) Red-finned blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis) Order Cyprinodontiformes Leon Springs pupfish (Cyprinodon bovinus) Cachorrito de Mezquital (Cyprinodon meeki) Cachorrito Cabezon (Cyprinodon pachycephalus) Pecos pupfish (Cyprinodon pecosensis) Cachorrito de Dorsal Larga (Cyprinodon verecundus) Cachorrito de Charco Azul (Cyprinodon veronicae) Sardinilla Cuatro Cienegas (Lucania interioris) Opal goodeid (Allotoca maculata) Mexclapique (Girardinichthys viviparus) Guayacon bocon (Gambusia eurystoma) Molly del Tamesi (Poecilia latipunctata) Molly del Teapa (Poecilia sulphuraria) Platy Monterrey (Xiphophorus couchianus) Order Beloniformes Duck-billed buntingi (Adrianichthys kruyti) Poptaís buntingi (Xenoopoecilus poptae) Order Gasterosteiformes Ellinopygosteos (Pungitius hellenicus) Order Syngnathiformes River pipefish (Syngnathus watermayeri) Order Scorpaeniformes Boccacio rockfish (Sebastes paucispinus) Pygmy sculpin (Cottus pygmaeus) Order Perciformes Giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) Speckled hind (Epinephelus drummondhayi) Jewfish (Epinephelus itajara) Warsaw grouper (Epinephelus nigritus) Asprete (Romanichthys valsanicola) Apron (Zingel asper) Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) Dikume (Konia dikume) Konye (Konia eisentrauti) Myaka myaka (Myaka myaka) Damba mipentina (Paretroplus maculatus) Kotso (Paretroplus petiti) Trondo mainty (Ptychochromoides betsileanus) Pungu (Pungu maclareni) Fissi (Sarotherodon caroli) Unga (Sarotherodon linnellii) Leka Keppe (Sarotherodon lohbergeri) Kululu (Sarotherodon steinbachi) Nsess (Stomatepia mariae) Mongo (Stomatepia mongo) Pindu (Stomatepia pindu) Otjikoto tilapia (Tilapia guinasana) St. Helena dragonet (Callionymus sanctaehclenae) Elizabeth Springs goby (Chlamydogobius gloveri) Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius squamigenus) Dwarf pygmy goby (Pamdaka pygmaea) Poso bungu (Weberogobius amadi) Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) Order Pleuronectiformes Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus)


 


PAGE 76 item #1262 Bill BARRETT letters

 

NOTEBOOK IV-[p91] August 23, 1922 Hotel William-Wallion? Philadelphia [to] Miss Catherine Miley, Dorchester Dearest Catherine, My address will be 508 S. 44th Street instead of Ardmore. I liked Ardmore very much indeed, but it has now served its purpose, and I am moving back where things are more convenient. As for business matters, I have decided not to enter the brass foundry business. First, because to operate as we could, there wouldn't be enough money in it for the effort expended. Second, To secure equipment to operate in production - production machines would require thre times as much capital as we have. Third A study of the costs at the foundry I was to take over, and talks with people intimately associated with the business convinced me that to enter the business would give one the privilege of working for oneself as a moulder and earning a moulder's pay only. I talked with the President of the Ajax Smelting Company, the President of the Metal Manufacturers Association, and the head of a moulding machine manufacturing company, and they showed me by logical argument that under the conditions of competition found in Philadelphia - cutthroat in the brass game- I would save time, money, and worry by staying away. I could go on and show cost data to demonstrate the inadequacy of the charges possible with the competition,but the above is sufficient. But why did it look so favorable and everyone seem so enthusiastic- even people who were in a position to know - until these three men I struck at about the same time and who knew the game from A to Z? Evidently they [the others]did not know that due to the relatively small amount of capital required to enter the business, there are a large number of small shops, -seldom heard of- throughout the city and they are all out for business and will take it at almost any price. The head of Ajax said he did not know of any brass founder who had become rich from the business.While I was willing to dig in, I could not see moulding for the rest of my days. Everything considered, I concluded that it was best to stay out, even at the expense of ridicule, slams, and the like. But it hurt me and still does, for your sake, to give it usp. However, I know now that it's the best thing. Now, as to the future. I shall occupy my time with Crane Packing, who have been good enough to say, 'Come on'. But I have put out lines in other directions and shall hold out until they materialize. Under the circumstances you may do as you think best in this matter of the future. I had hoped this would settle me on my way and expected it would work out so we could be on our way together. I know now that it would not. While this was indeed discouraging,I'm not down yet and don't intend to be.As soon as this disturbance is over with and I get settled, I'll let you know how things stand for the future if you care still.- Most affectionately yours, Bill." {Not long before this Bill had helped Jack withdraw stock proceeds from Fuller stock investment company in May or June 1922. Jack was at sea on the MARBLEHEAD, and the brokerage was slow in paying out for a stock he sold. Bill went around and collected the check, so Jack avoided losing his money in the bankruptcy.] [p72] "Washington, November 11, 1931 [from] William J. Barrett The President's Commission on Unemployment Relief 1734 New York Avenue, Washington D.C. [to] Lieutenant John B. Barrett c/o Postmaster Seattle, Washington USS TULSA Asiatic Station Dear Jack,- I'm anxious to do anything possible to assure your making the grade on your promotion. I know that under ordinary circumstances there would be no difficulty, but this economy move struck me as a possible interference. I'm here in Washington for reasons I'll soon tell you, and I think I'm in a position to get things done. Senator Walsh of Massachusetts is on the Naval committee of the Senate. Tell me immediately when the time is right, and I'll see that there is everything done possible. Since the first of March I've been loaned by the Metropolitan to President Hoover's committee on unemployment. At first I was working under Colonel Woods, -now under Mr. Gifford, President of American Telephone and Telegraph Company. My job is to bring out any ideas which will make for greater stability of employment and for better future planning against such depressions as the present. I've had interviews with everybody worthwhile so it seems in the country - I had a fine talk with President Hoover - about twenty minutes in his office - then referred to his confidential advisor for a further thirty minute talk. I appeared before the LaFollette Committee of the Senate as representative of the president's committee. It's been lots of fun, and I've enjoyed every minute, although there's plenty of work trying to hold down two jobs. From the foregoing I'd like to see what we could do down here to be sure you get that half-stripe. I'll do anything you suggest. I'll go to Senator Walsh right away after hearing from you and tell him what we'd like done, and I'm pretty sure we can get it. If necessary, cable me the time when - at my New York office. Everything at home has been fine. They enjoy, as I do, hearing from you, and I know it would add ten years to Pa's life if we could tell him that you had made the promotion - besides everybody else is expecting you to make it. I'm back in New York for this week, and I'll close now and expect to hear from you soon. Regards, Bill" [John Barrett note: Jack consistently told Bill that the Navy resented any political efforts at influence on promotions or assignments, and that they usually backfired. Nonetheless, he appreciated Bill's sincere friendly intentions, especially as regards the possible effect on their elderly father. The issue came up again in 1938,w hen Jack was ordered to serve as Executive Officer on the tanker TRINITY, traveling to PHilippines and East Indies. Bill argued that it would be traumatic for their then eighty-three year old recently widowed father to be separated from Jack, Sophie, and his two-year-old grandson. Nonetheless Jack wanted sea duty and urged Bill not to interfere.] [p 66]postmark November 23, 1933 The Shoreham, Washington, D.C. [to] Lieutenant Commander John B. Barrett USS HANNIBAL Navy Yard Norfolk, Virginia Dear Jack, I received the Army-Navy tickets, and they are very good. I got tickets fort the Princeton game and went last Saturday. They were also excellent. Had a nice interlude after the game as Doug Brown a Princeton professor asked us to come to tea after the game at his home- just what you need after sitting out in the cold. Also, the nice box of candy arrived, for which I thank Sophie and you - here again I have no manners for not telling you long ago. I had planned to go to Boston after the Princeton game, but certain changes down here made it necessary to come back right away. I think I'll go up there this weekend after Thanksgiving. This work down here will probably end as far as I'm concerned about December 15. It's sure a merry whirl now, with lots and lots of activity. I want to get down to Norfolk soon and had hoped to before this. Last Saturday was the first I've had off for ages. Some Navy Lieutenant from your ship called me last night. I tried to tyake him to lunch, but he was apparently too pre-occupied. It's time to go to work. Regards to Sophie. Bill" [SOPHIE note: This letter seems to prove that Jack and Sophie went to Norfolk in the fall of 1933. We stayed at the Heart of Ghent Hotel in Norfolk- then lived in an apartment in Portsmouth, where Pa Barrett visited, also Mollie Barrett and Eileen Lane. At the Heart of Ghent we saw Bill Keester and Mrs. Keester of the Coast Guard, and visited them at their home in Norfolk soon after - then we moved to Portsmouth. On Christmas Day 1933 we were at 640 East Seventh Street, South Boston - stayed four days- and then were at Geetters' in New Britain New Years Eve 1933 and New Years Day 1934. We returned to Portsmouth the day after New Years Day. I remember stopping at the Shoreham in Washington to see Bill for lunch on our way down to Norfolk in the Buick in the fall. He had been loaned to the National Recovery Administration NRA by the Met and was offered a full time job in the Roosevelt administration but preferred to return to the Met.There was also a letter from Captain John Nelson at Boston Navy Yard to Jack on the HANNIBAL in Norfolk in the fall of 1933 and he sent regards to me. Captain Nelson was Jack's immediate superior at Boston Naval Shipyard 1932-1933.] [p34] New York City January 22, 1935 Dear Jack and Sophie, Sophie, if you'll let me know the exact silver you want, I'll get you quotations. My friend says that he can get the real inside at Gorham's, so all I'll have to supply is the patterns and quantities. I see by the papers that you all have arrived at your stations. I was home over the weekend, and the Times of Saturday announced the arrival of the HANNIBAL at Balboa. Everyone is fine at home. They are still talking of how much they enjoyed your visit- Pa is talking so much of Sophie that I think we have just cause to be jealous. Skippy was asking for you and semed to wonder why she didn't get more food from the seat against the wall at the kitchen table. I am enclosing [William] Perry's address [master of Lincoln school] but I know it's too late as Jack always rushes off and writes immediately about state troopers who rescue him in the rain - and why --- Perry's address is 49 Addington Avenue Brookline, Massachusetts, and he always was so fond of "Reddy". Shall I tell him to expect the letter? How is the Canal looking this year? Let's hear, but mostly, let's know how's everything. -Bill" [p53] to Lieutenant Commander J.B. Barrett USS CLAXTON c/o postmaster New York [from] Milwaukee August 11, 1936 Dear Jack, I've wired you from here today but wasn't quite sure where you'd be, so this letter. I'm on one of the U.S. Steel lake cargo boats - five hundred foot, carrying coal Detroit to Milwaukee this trip. I'm guest of Fred Erb of Detroit. It's been a beautiful trip and a wonderful vacation. Now - to get to the point. It is most important, if you can arrange it, in any way that Mr. Fred Erb get aboard the boat for the trip you are fixing for me. I'd like to have him along, and I know he'd love to go. He is the President of Eaton Erb Company of Detroit, an important subsidiary of the Eaton Manufacturing Company of Cleveland. He is a prominent citizen of Detroit and a great friend of mine.In fact, he is largely responsible for the success of the foundry survey - my first job with the Met, which I think had a lot to do with my getting known in the company. What I'd like to have is that he and I board the CLAXTON at New York Monday August 24, 1936 and go back to Norfolk and Annapolis with you. If at all possible, do this favor for me. If you get an answer before Friday, wire me c/o Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Group Division, General Motors Building, Detroit. I expect to be back there Thursday. I'm returning to New York Monday August 17. See you next week. Regards, Bill" [p 51]"July 1, 1942 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company William J. Barrett, manager Policy Service Bureau [to] Fourteenth Naval District Honolulu Hawaii, Dear Jack, I have been planning for so long to write you a letter that I am going to have to dictate it if I expect to get it to you soon. You will please excuse this. Today Mr. Frank Midkiff came in to see me at your suggestion, and I very much enjoyed my visit with him. He is an extremely well informed individual, and in fact he is well acquainted with a lot of my personal friends. We had all too short a visit. I had hoped that he could stay a little longer, but apparently having such a brief time in this country, he has practically every minute taken. It was interesting to hear that you have been asigned with Admiral Bagley. This must make it very pleasant for you. I was up home recently and found everything in good shape. Pa is holding up very well. In fact, I found him much better than I thought he would be in view of the apparent shocks which he suffered last year. He is naturally weak now and is very restive at the fact that he cannot do what he used to do, but under the circumstances I think he is in pretty good shape. We bought a house in Darien as I felt it was most advisable to hedge against what is to come and to know exactly where I was as far as the rental factor was concerned. This is not as large a piece of land as the other house, but has about an acre. It is a more practical house in many respects. I received your photographs and was very happy to see everyone looking so well. I learned tht your furniture is in Boston, and I understand that it is still on the pier, apparently there being no instructions as to what storage place to put it in. If there is anything I can do, let me know. Best regards to Sophie and John. As ever, Bill."


 


Chapter One end Mount Holyoke and songs 1919-1923=1925

 

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 - continue on 1923-1930 Excerpts #19-20] WILL BE CONTINUED -total about l50,000 words. It is hoped text can be published with 200=300 photos.. Inquiries to John B. Barrett ll3 W Third St., Port Angeles WA 98362-2824 E mail meranski@hotmail,com __New March 27'98:Note by John Barrett /Sophie's father & mother and sisters Esther & Babe Rebekah rented a car to attend the l923 graduastion 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 Meiklehjohn, 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, Massachuseetts & 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 Rurh 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.'"' _ ' _ 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 Reatarded -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.


 


Arthur Meranski L-E-T-T-E-R-S letters to his aunt Sophie Barrett 1264w p 76 [incorporated in w1272]

 

Arthur Meranski l973 letter to Aunt Sophie Barrett Notebook Eight VIII p. 145 Excerpt from letter from Colonel ArthurMeranski 15 Oct l973 Stephen Linda and Amy Lisa live in Havre de Grace, about eight miles from us. You ask me about such things as the Inchon landing,but after twenty-three years, all I retain are a sewer of impressions.I do remember a British cruiser (HMS JAMAICA?) firing overhead with me wishing the noise would stop, and then when it did cease,hoping it would start again. (It did). Then the landing craft didn't land, so we dove off it into shallow water before reaching shore. I also recall all of us trying to stop the milling around and finally getting our armored vehicles into a column and moving inland.That night on shore we split our time between shooting at North Koreans and trying to stop the local civilians from massacring supposed collaborators. My most vivid memory is of a Military Police officer who came to our outpost line the next day and said he was going to check out the next town to the south.He was told the next town was definitely not ours,but chose not to believe it.Later that day we attacked, captured the place, and got his jeep back.Never found a trace of him. More on our family. The frau, Betty, is quite tall for a woman and was red-haired before it turned gray.Our children are all somewhat outsized.Steve and Hank are both over six feet and slender. Tommy, one twin, is also tall and very solidly built, going close to two hundred pounds. His twin, Paula, is as tall as her mother and is on a fairly constant diet to keep her weight down. As for me I ended up at six feet, and my weight has never varied much fron one hundred ninety pounds....PRIOR LETTER: pages 136-138 Postmarked l Oct l973 received 3 Octobor l973 The Rouse Company Columbia, Maryland 21043 Mr. Arthur M.Meranski Rural Route 2, Box 505, Aberdeen, Maryland, 21001 Dear Aunt Sophie, Needless to say, I was quite surprised to receive your long, interesting, and informative letter. Upon reflection I don't think I have seen you since childhood, and I have never seen your son.So many years have passed, and so much has happened.My record as a correspondent is no better than yours, and my handwriting has never improved,but I do want to answer your letter.It is very difficult to find a place to begin, but possibly the best way would be for me to briefly review my somewhat unusual life since World War II. I came out of the war as a Captain - Armor- and got myself out of the Army in July l946 with several decorations, two wounds, and a gorgeous case of hepatitis, as you know. For a while I took a fling at the restauant and bar business in Bantamm, Connecticut, but it had no appeal.Thereforee, it was back to the Army in l948 at Fort Bliss, Texas.While in Bantamm,I met a female from Texas who was working in Hartford,and on 21 September l949, we were married at Fort Bliss. So,a week or so ago we celebrated our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary,which strikes me as an awfully long time with the same woman.We have quite a brood, of whom more later.From Bliss we moved to Fort Lewis, Washington State.Then my luck caught up with me- two years in Korea from the Inchon landing on. Another wound.Then two years in San Francisco on ROTC duty, three in Germany, many at Fort Sill, Oklahoma,where I was a gunnery instructor and a battalion commander.From there I weent to Laos,where I nobly contracted hepatitis again and was rewarded by going to Vietnam. I put in three years as Chief of Combat Instruction at the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir (spelling?) Virginia and three years as Inspector General at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Twenty-eight years all told in the Army. sounds dry and matter-of fact, but I enjoyed every minute except for those all too frequent periods when I was scared silly. Anyway in l968 I got orders for my fifth war. Right then and there Betty and I decided that the Colonel business had no future.I flat-out retired.Since then, I have been working as a manager for theRouse Company in Columbia. It is as different from the Army as anything can get.I have an interesting job with an even more interesting salary.My responsibilities include scheduling about twenty million dollars in construction plus handling all remodelling, telephones, movies, microfilms, and blueprints.I have seventeen people to do the work. The company is very large, progressive, and interested in the personnel.We live on an acre lot just outside of Aberdeen.Our house is a five-bedroom brick rancher. Trees and a brook in the back of our lot. Very pleasant, and we enjoy it.Most importantly, we have four children: Stephan Michael aged 21, Harry (Hank) aged l9, and twins Paula Jane and Thomas Arthur now eighteen. Tommy is a senior in high school. Paula is a freshman at Harford Community College and intends to teach.Hank is in the Army, having enlisted a year ago. He will not make a career of it - just serve his three years.He will probably marry a local belle, Linda Jones next June. Stephan, the oldest, has an excellent job with a home construction firm.He has been married quite a while - almost four years.His wife's name is Linda too, and we are proud to have her as a daughter-in-law.Not only that, but we have an extremely beautiful granddaughter, Amy Lisa, who will be three on October 25th.She is the biggest morale-boosterI have ever known, totally charming, well-behaved, and humorous. A living doll, even from a very prejudiced grandfather, which of course, I am. So there you are.I have led a full and interesting life with very few regrets.I would indeed like to hear from you again- even to enter a regular correspondence. We understand you are writing a book about Uncle John.This would interest us tremendously, and we would appreciate hearing from you on it.From all eight of us to you and your son John,the best of everything,and please let us hear from you.If you wish, we will have some photographs of our tribe taken and send them to you.By the way my mother saw her great-granddaughter many times before she died, and we are very grateful for that. Again, Please do write. The address: Rural Route 2,Box 505, Aberdeen Maryland 21001. Also should you come this way we'd love to have you. Just call (301) 272-4516 Your middle-aged (but spry nephew - Art (Meranski)- John Barrett note - Arthur was in Normandy invasion June l944 France in fast-moving tanks under General Patton. His parents were Harry Meranski and Sarah ("Sade") Taylor of Hartford.He called his wife Betty "The War Department" and "the Ball and Chain" He letters tells of working for Rouse Construction Company, and he later was a fraud investigator for state of Maryland. He wrote humorous letters to his aunt Sophie until she passed away in l987. His granddaughter Amy Lisa invited John Barrett to her graduation from Aberdeen High School May l988, and John met cousin Arthur and his wife Betty and their sons Tom and Steve and Steve's family at that time. Sophie was invited to Hank Meranski's wedding to Sylvia October l985 but was unable to make the trip.


 


B-R-O-O-K-L-Y-N H-A-W-A-I-I Brooklyn -Hawaii 1265w p 76

 

Brooklyn-Hawaii1940-41 from"BlackNotebookOne" We just missed getting acquainted with the Roche family in August 1939 for they moved in downstairs in November having arrived from Newfoundland not long before that.Nora the maid slept in the small room off the dining room. Although the wire hair terrier Skippy was a very active dog, she was very careful with John. We were still at 640 when Bill called up with the news of the birth of his son William Joel August 26, 1939. Since Bill's name is William Joseph Barrett, they are both "William J. Barrett", but Billy is not "junior". His oldest son [1960s] is therefore William Joel, junior. All the Barretts were delighted with Billy's arrival. Jack had been at work for several weeks at the Branch Hydrographic Office in New York and -62-had rented an apartment and unpacked and arranged the furniture at 9615 Shore Road. He now came back for us, and we made the train trip to New York and taxied to Brooklyn. --After bring settled in Brooklyn I wrote a letter to the Head Red Cap, Los Angeles Railroad Station, telling him the exact time and date when our train left Los Angeles and explaining why we failed to tip a most helpful red cap who had to jump off a moving train. I asked him to try to locate the red cap so that I could pay him. Very soon after we received a letter telling us the name and address of the red cap. I sent him a letter of appreciation and of apology and a check for five dollars. We received a thank-you note from him. The stores on Third, Fourth, and Fifth Avenues in Brooklyn were about five blocks walk up 97th Street from Shore Road. This was also the route to the subway. Jack rode the subway to work at the Custom House Tower. There was a good meat market on Third Avenue where we bought rib roasts, chopped sirloin, and other cuts. We soon made the acquaintance of the Rooney family on the first floor and became very good friends. For recreation we would walk to Fort Hamilton, or drive to Prospect Park or Owl's Head Park to see the squirrels. Later on we made more ambitious trips to Jones, Beach, Coney Island and the World's Fair. -63-In 1940 Bill called up to give me my first news of Jack's promotion to Commander. He had also been the first one to read the news in the New York Times when Jack made Lieutenant Commander in 1932. At Thanksgiving 1939 we drove to Overbrook, Pennsylvania, to see my sister Bee. Sam worked for LaRoux Liquers making cordials, and their two children Jason and Thalia were somewhat older than John. My brother Pete and his wife Jen drove -64- up from Baltimore. After a fine Thanksgiving dinner we all left for home. Around this time my sister Esther in Hartford had successful surgery for abdominal cancer. John was interested in the snow in the back courtyard at 9615 Shore Road, after the mild winter the year before in the San Diego area. The paved courtyard behind the building used to have curious little whirlwinds produced by the shape of the building, and his father would point them out and talk about low pressure systems. Jack had many years studying winds and hydrography - came through a Carribean hurricane September 1935 on the trip of the HANNIBAL north from Panama to Virginia- Mollie had taken photos of the September 1938 hurricane damage at Carson Beach, South Boston, and around this time Gershom Bradford was developing his theory that low pressure waterspouts west of the Azores caused the abandonment opf the New Bedford fishuing schooner MARY CELESTE in November 1872. Jack used to recite a verse about hurricanes -"June too soon- July stand by- August - look out you must - September - Remember! - October, -all over -" - but then he would tell he knew of a bad hurricane in November. -- There was a small patch of poison ivy on the fence, and Jack would tell us how his father once met some tourists who were collecting bright-red three-leaved autumn bouquets of poison ivy foliage contrary to his advice. Jack's father also advised passengers to sit in the middle cars of subway and railroad trains, as accidents usually damaged the front or rear end. Jack's father gave up his plumbing shop in 1926, but later would be called out from time to time as a consultant when a leak occurred because he had an exceptional knowledge of the complex mains and pipes underground in Boston. He later said he might not have retired if he had known he would live so long. His wife had diabetes, before insulin was available but she survived to age eighty to January 1938, requiring considerable care, while grandfather himself remained strong and active nearly until his death in August 1942 at age eightry-seven years, eight months. Jack grew and photographed many amaryllis, ranunculus plants, anemones,, and begonias, but never had any luck with freesias. Both Christmases at Brooklyn we devoted considerable energy to decorating small Christmas trees. One year there was a considerable problem with a leak in a tub of water that was used to prevent the tree from drying out. We have photos from both Christmases, and Joan Rooney from downstairs appears in many of the 1940 Christmas photos.We still [1970] have much of the Chinese furniture that appears in pictures at the Brooklyn apartment. Jack fashioned clothesline swings on the roof for John. In early 1940 there were spectacular displays of the five planets all visible shortly after sunset in the western sky across the Narrows,-65- This grouping of the five visible planets occurs less than once every twenty years. We spent many hours watching them. We had a large Tinkertoy set and began to accumulate the Beatrix Potter series of books Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, the Flopsy Bunnies,Mrs. Titmouse, Squirrel Nutkin,Pigling Bland, the Tailor of Gloucester, Tom Kitten, the Roly-Poly Pudding, the Two Bad Mice,Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,Ginger and Pickles, and the rest. Jack began to invent his own sequels to these stories. A little illustrated child's story of a dog "Sniffy" and a cat "Mitzi" provided us a name for the toy cat our maid Nellie Kelly gave John in Philadelphia. In May 1940 Mitzie appears in one of John's better photos in the fields across Shore Road. The koala bear the Craig family sent from Melbourne was one of the most unusual of John's big collection of toys. Jack had a porcelain kookaburra [bird] from New Zealand. Grandpa gave a white toy horse, and Bill gave a rocking horse while we were in Coronado 1938. A candy company gave away toy Peter Rabbit bunnies with boxes of Easter candy.We added"Saucy Squirrel", several more rabbits, a toy dog,a bear, a panda, and a cow. The Tinkertoys made good windmills and derricks,and there was a spring motor, we spent many hours with these. In the Brooklyn newspapers we used to read "Napoleon and -66- p66- Uncle Elby, Maggie and Jiggs in "Bringing Up Father" and "Mutt and Jeff." John learned to read by watching the page as we read stories and would puzzle over the Culbertson bridge columns. During the summer of 1940 we visited Mrs. Conover in Ossining, New York. She was a friend from the [PREDISENT] PIERCE Voyage of 1932. She prepared good meals despite unfortunately hot weather. Her son Frank sold antiques at home. About July 1940 we went to see Bee and Sam in Atlantic City. Jack said John needed no swimming instruction but instinctively dog-paddled, treaded water, floated, and tried to head for Europe. By the time we returned to their house, Sam and Bee had gone out for the evening, and John was so tired, we went right to bed. Jack was tired too, and although he meant to stretch out to rest for a short time, he fell asleep for the night. The next morning he found a police ticket in his car for having parked illegally overnight. One time Jack was caught in an eight or ten foot wave at Jones Beach [where we went frequently on south coast of Long Island.] Fortunately, he saw it a moment before it hit, grabbed a deep breath, and rolled around with it until it passed by, - without serious effects. After that we used the children's area to swim at Jones Beach. Kay Trufant of Mount Holyoke [1923 classmate] made on trip to Jones Beach with us, as did Anne's sister Eleanor Taylor. p. 67- Anne and Ivan McCormack came to Sunday dinner at Shore Road, and we returned their visit at Patchen Place. Anne gave John a Hershey bar, which would have been the first candy he had, but I found the bar unopened by John, and when he failed to ask for it for several days, I ate it. We saw the film Pinocchio in Brooklyn.The color [Technicolor] was considered advanced at that time. We visited Macy's [Stores] several times, and August 28, 1940, Jack bought a Baldwin Spinet piano there on his fifty-second birthday, for about seven hundred dollars on sale. Chester Swanner, his old friend from the ZIZANIA from the Lighthouse Service in Maine in 1912 was with him that day while he was in Macy's buying the piano. Later Mr. Swanner had dinner at 9615 [Shore Road]. He was a Mississippian, very much interested in cattle raising- and planned to study the cattle exhibits of the New York World's Fair. His special interest was Ayrshire cattle. He declined an invitation to tour the World's Fair exhibits with us because he preferred to concentrate on the cattle exhibits. He had written Jack from a freighter in Tamipaulis, Mexico in 1923 and had a daughter born about 1920. Mollie Barrett could not locate him when she visited Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in 1961 [Mollie went to see Mrs. DeSta, mother of her brother Bill's wife Margaret, whom Bill married in 1958]. The wild apple blossoms were one of the attractive features of the spring flowers on the undeveloped slope between Shore Road and the ocean waters near The Narrows leading to New York Harbor in front of our apartment at #9615 Shore Road. Mollie came to 9615 Shore Road only once, and that was a quick trip during a visit at Bill's in Darien. My sister-in-law Ethyle Meranski and her son and daughter Carol Jane stayed one night in the apartment when they were our guests at the World's Fair. We bought a pencil -p . 68- sharpener which we still have [1970] and another one as a gift for Ted. I was struck by the length of time Ethyle cooked the hamburgers; theyt wanted them crisp and well-done for their lunch the day after they went to the Fair, before leaving for their home in Hartford. On one occasion Sam Pollack had business in new York and brought his family. I think he was arranging to transfer to the Schenley company, which wanted him in its management.Not long after this he joined their staff in Cincinnati and later came as a senior executive to the home office in the Empire State Building. Young Thalia stayed with us. Friday she went with us to the World's Fair, where we enjoyed seeing the Borden cows milked mechanically. My brother Harry's sister-in-law, Marion Taylor, was a nurse at the Green Point hospital, Brooklyn, at this time. I invited her to dinner, and I spent a lot of time making roast chicken, which I had never served to my family before. Jack, John, and I were enjoying the meal when Marion said, "I don't like chicken." She ate it like a good sport. Helen Miller lived in Brooklyn and came to the apartment once to help hang curtains and draperies. She was still working for Mary Augusta Clark in the Commonwealth Fund. I talked with Mrs. Edward Beach on the phone early in our stay in Brooklyn, when she called up to invite me to dinner. I had to decline, however, as we had no baby sitter, and she felt it would not be an appropriate dinner for John. As a result I have not yet met those very good friends of Jack's from the battleship WYOMING [is it destroyer TOUCEY 1921?] I voted for Willkie, in November 1940. It was the first time I voted. The State of New York used to discriminate against voting by military personnel, so my husband could not vote. They also tried to collect 1939 income taxes, though he resided principally in California that year. A mistake by the Navy in sending data to New York required much correspondence to straighten out. Jack had also to explain the situation to Massachusetts Tax Commissioner Henry Long, who was later [1951] to become his good friend as his teacher in Taxation at Northeastern University Law School. We toured the Perisphere and Trilon at the New York World's Fair, and Jack was proud of a lighted night view of the Perisphere, which he took with his Voightlander camera. We enjoyed the Borden cows and milking exhibit. I especially enjoyed a restaurant where we got tender rare roast beef and a wonderful dessert of cake and ice cream with fudge sauce. We had a lady come in twice a week to vacuum the floors and furniture. She also took my aprons home to wash, and I gave her a great many of John's baby things when she said that her daughter was going to have a baby. We used Bill Barrett's dentist Dr. Ellis on Fifth Avenue, New York. Jack was not particularly anxious to retire in 1940, though he had thought of continuing law study. However, officers were. . p 70 being encouraged to retire under a policy that gave an extra grade of rank to those that applied for voluntary retirement - a so-called Irish promotion. Very reluctantly about February 1940 he submitted his request for voluntary retirement. Unexpectedly, instead of being retired, he was promoted to Commander.He would have gone on the Retired List June 30, 1940 while in fact remaining on duty in charge of the New York [Branch] Hydrographic Office. On June 12, eighteen days before his scheduled retirement, all voluntary retirements were cancelled, and he stayed on the active list for six and one half more years, thus giving him an opportunity to qualify for thirty years active service, which he attained in mid-1943. There are some good family photos in Owl's Head Park with the Rooneys in September 1940. They latter part of our stay in Brooklyn they became close friends. We saw a lot of them around Christmas, l940 and in June 1941. On our last day in our apartment Mrs. Rooney gave us a very good lunch - chicken, potatoes, and peas just before we caught our train for the West Coast. Mrs. Rooney died during the war, but we saw George Rooney and his second wife in 1958 in their same apartment after the wedding of David Geetter and his wife Joan Trouboff. Mr. Rooney said his daughter Joan was studying nursing. In 1941 Admiral Chester Nimitz [then of Bureau of Navigation] sent orders for Jack to leave for Pearl Harbor in July. It was rather painful to tell Grandfather Barrett and Mollie. Grandpa guessed the news, but Mollie did not. {In our 1937 Lincoln Zephyr] we took a tour to Springfield and Greenfield, in western Massachusetts, drove near Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and stopped in for a night in South Boston without explaining the reason. It was a slightly awkward visit, as Mollie did not expect us and did not guess we were to be away for six years. Later on a visit to Darien we told Bill and Virginia we were leaving, and Bill and Jack took pictures of John (age five) and Billy (twenty-one months). In early July after a goodbye lunch with the Rooneys we took a train for the West Coast. We took a northerly route because of our previous experience with summer weather. We crossed Nebraska. Around daybreak at five AM Jack called us as we passed into Colorado at Julesburg on the northern border of the state. We were onl;y in the state a few minutes. Then we went across Wyoming and were a mile high in Cheyenne, as Jack told us then and used to recollect in later years. We got out of the train there briefly. At Salt Lake City we changed trains and headed South through Utah to Las Vegas and southern California.Probably there was a little less hot weather than on the Arizona route.. We were to catch the Matson Line LURLINE at Wilmington, California near Los Angeles about July 10 and arrive Honolulu July 15. The Pardees saw us off and were very impressed with the suite we occupied on the LURLINE. I think C.J. Todd [former Revenue Cutter School classmate] may have been there also. p.72- An elaborate sendoff with many colored long paper streamers from the ship to the pier was provided After a pleasant five day voyage on arrival at Honolulu, many people purchased flower leis, and Gertrude Rice came with her daughter Nathalie to meet us and put one of the frangipani flower leis around my neck. Another was presented to me by Captain Knowles, the officer in charge of the Pearl Harbor War Plans office where Jack was to work. Gertrude Rice, her daughter Nathalie, and John and I sat in the patio of the Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach while Jack rode off to Pearl Harbor with Captain Paul Rice. We stayed a long time, and when Jack failed to return to us, I inquired at the desk at the Moana, and I was told that my husband had registered us there, and I was given the key to a double room, which had a child's cot in it. Gertrude went home for lunch, saying she would see us in the lobby of the Moana hotel after dinner. John and I found the glare of Waikiki very trying [the sun was nearly overhead in July] , and we found the tropical heat to be exhausting. Both of us were glad to be indoors, and even after a nap we stuck closely to the large lanai, which was covered against the afternoon sun. That evening out in the large patio Gertrude and Paul Rice were with us when we saw our first hula dancers and listened to the high voices of the Hawaiian male singers. The waiter made fancy forms out of toothpicks to amuse the five-year-old John, and the trunk porter Jake Oberholzer really adopted John. The first Saturday we were there Jack took us "around the Island" [Oahu] and the dining room was just about to be -p73- closed when we returned, but the kindly head w let us in, and we were glad to eat and go to bed. The three of us found the climate enervating at first. I had to wear dark glasses, and an allergic skin condition on my hands. which I had in China in 1931 soon returned. In spring 1942 at night during strict wartime blackout I was painfully stung in the scalp by a very large centipede, which left two large fang marks. We had shipped our furnture from Brooklyn to Pearl Harbor, because we were told before we left New York we would have government quarters. About a week after our arrival, before our furniture got there, Jack drove us to Pearl Harbor to see our new home. I was sick at heart to find that our quarters were not far from the oil storage tanks [a huge main Naval facility at Makalapa] and that the houses being built were much too large for our small family of three people. The living room was twice the size of any home I had had before, and my gold living room rug - nine by twelve feet- and my ancient Kassiu rug would be lost in those spacious rooms. Moreover, I owned no dining room furniture, and my one bureau and one chest of drawers could not fill three large bedrooms. Since I expected to stay in Pearl Harbor only two years- maybe three- I couldn't imagine buying curtains and draperies for all those windows. When I arrived, Gertrude told me it was just about impossible to get a cook or maid in Honolulu, and I couldn't imagine how I could take care of that enormous house alone. Also I considered the monthly rent of one hundred twenty-five dollars extravagant. When Jack told the Fourteenth Naval District Paymaster that I didn't want the quarters, the paymaster told Jack that he would assign them to a doctor with a large family.So we stayed at the expensive -p74- Moana for both room and meals and began looking for a place to live, without any success. Still I did not regret not living near those oil tanks and not having that big house to furnish and decorate. Knowing that I was concerned about the expense of the Moana and getting a bit tired of the constant singing and dancing there, Gertrude Rice took me to the agent who had rented her an apartment in Waikiki. He told us about a small furnished apartment at 2415 Ala Wai Boulevard, Waikiki, which would be vacated the next day [July 28] and rented for ninety-five dollars. That was the only furnished place he had listed. So we went with him, and the little family of Navy Lieutenant Bailey there were enthusiastic about the place they had had for only two months, - but they had to sail to the mainland because the husband had been ordered to a ship on the West Coast. She sold me two couch covers, green with white ships, an inexpensive table lamp, and a heavy frying pan, - and I rented the apartment joyfully, paying the rent in advance and the agent's fee. The next day we moved in,carrying our bags up Kaiulani Street to the Ala Wai. I expected to stay there until my furniture arrived and until I found an unfurnished place. On the day I moved in, Mrs. Bailey was scheduled to sail. She had left the door unlocked while she did a few last-mimute errands. When I left the apartment, I carefully locked the door so no one would steal my things and her suitcases. When I returned several hours later, she told me that I had locked her out without her door key, but her son got in through a window. They soon left for the ship. Very soon after we moved in, our next door neighbor at #2421, Mrs. James Needles (Edythe) dropped in, and told me that she had furnished the place for our landlord and had also furnished the four small apartments next door at #2411 Ala Wai Boulevard, which also belonged to Mr. Glockner. He dropped in after his work at the brewery and complained that I had moved in before I signed an inventory of the furnishings. I shrugged it off, saying I would go over the inventory with him at his convenience- but we never did -and I never signed anything for him. I just rented the place on a monthly basis and stayed six years. My husband worked in War Plans at Pearl Harbor when he arrived. About five o'clock every evening we went to the nearby Waikiki Beach to swim- a delightful experience. We would walk a long block east on Ala Wai Boulevard past shower, poinciana, and Bauhinia "orchid" trees and then seven blocks down broad Liliuokalani Street, named for the 1890s Queen of Hawaii, who spent much time in Waikiki. We would pass Mountain View, Cleghorn, Kuhio, and Koa Streets to Kalakaua Avenue, the main business route along Waikiki Beach. Often Captain and Mrs. Rice would swim with us and come to our house for dinner afterwards. The talk betwen Jack and Paul Rice invariably turned to war with the Japanese. Although many civilians and service personnel doubted the imminence of war with Japan, both Jack and Captain Rice believed it was a real possibility. Not long after my husband expressed the view to his superiors that the battleships were sitting ducks for bombing - one bomb could hit two ships in the Pearl Harbor lochs- he was transferred to head the Overseas Transportation Office - with title of Assistant Personnel Officer in October 1941. 75-76 Theoretically he was assistant personnel officer under the Personnel officer Captain Lewis , but in practice the transportation duty took practically all his time. He held the post throughout the entire duration of the Pacific War and a couple of months afterwards. He office was near the south corner of the first floor of the Administration Building at Pearl Harbor with two doors, one on each side of the left front corner of the building. The public entrance was on the front of the Administration Building facing east, while there was a less-used access to Jack's inner office around the corner on the south lanai. Persons having business with the Overseas Transportation Office usually walked in the door on the front side of the building into a large room where the staff of ten or twelve military and civilian employees had their desks. Commander Barrett's private office adjoined the main room and had windows and a door on the left side of the building. John used to visit frequently from late 1942 onward, usually on weekends or school vacations = Jack worked every day including Sundays and took no leave during the war.. Jack's Assistant Lt. Commander USNR Martin Williams from Kentucky frequently visited us in Waikiki to swim and have supper. We got into a discussion one time of Jack's work at the Office, and John teasingly remarked, "All he does is sign his name and bawl people ouit." One of the best photographs we have of Jack was taken at his desk in the private office by a Navy photographer in 1943. Unfortunately we have no record of his name. In 1941 a kamaaina resident of the Hawaiian Islands named Jimmy Murray was his first assistant. Later Martin Williams a Reservist from Kentucky arrived and was a close friend and associate from July 1943 through October 1945. Wilfred Pang, with shipping and personnel experience and Catle and Cook and Matson Navigation had great knowledge of passenger ship procedures and spent much of his time running an office in downtown Honolulu that serviced the transportation of wives and fmaillies. other workers such as Robert Choy, Violet Ho, and Philip Dolan were also very good friends. Jack was fortunate in his staff. Although my furniture arrived and was at Pearl Harbor, I could not find an unfurnished house and did not try too hard because we were comfortable in the little house which required very little housework. Walter Glockner lived in the one room apartment above us. The first few months we had more free time than we did after the war started in December 1941 and after John started school in September 1942. The main business street of Waikiki is Kalakaua Avenue, which runs past the hotels and is zoned for business. Eight blocks inland the Ala Wai Boulevard built about 1922 is a scenic route more or less parallel to Kalakaua Avenue, which is on the shore. Ala Wai Boulevard has houses only on the "makai". (seaward) side, On the other p77 side of its two-and-a-half mile length is a row of carefully planted palm trees and purple-flowered bouganvillea bushes and then down-about six feet the cement-walled Ala Wai Canal, which drains an area that formerly was marshy. Although the water is somewhat polluted, and the sides are barnacle encrusted, it provides a splendid sight from a little distance. Beyond it was a very fine golf course and spectacular view of the mountains and valleys of the volcanic, two thosand foot Koolau range, which forms the backbone of the Island of Oahu along the windward northeastern shore. The moutains rise virtually from sea level In the foreground in the view from our house from left to right were Round Top, Manoa Valley, St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, and Wilhelmina Rise. Many houses were visible on Wilhelmina Rise, and their lights would be visible at night above the neighboring residential area of Kaimuki. A small number of houses were visible on St. Louis Heights. In the background the higher peaks of the Koolau Range were visible.behind the foreground features, and these mountains frequently were covered by rain clouds thrown up against them by the Northeast Trade Winds. These mountains sharply divided Honolulu from the windward side of the Island. In the old days only the Nuuanu Pali road crossed the mauntains, and it did so at an altitude of more than a thousand feet. Later a shore road was developed around Koko Head at the southeastern end of the Island. - the Kalanianaole highway with spectacular views of the "Blowhole" and other surf features. p. 78- In September 1941 Jack took many pictures of our Ala Wai house, lawn, car, and views of the mountains, palm trees, andthe AlaWai canal and the beginnings of our garden there. Fortunately we got a considerable group of photographs of him on our lawn in his white uniform at this time. In October we went to the Kapiolani Park and Zoo at the eastern end of Waikiki not far from the prominent crater of Diamond Head, which nearly everyone uses to identify photographs of Waikiki Beach. The Diamond Head crater was off limits to tourists and ocupied by an Army Fort, whose searchlights we would see at night. Kapiolani Park had a very large collection of spectacular tropical birds. We found an African crowned crane probably the most interesting exhibit. There were also birds of paradise. peacocks, a penguin, an Australian cassowary, toucans, storks, and other more familiar varieties. A large pigeon cage was open at the top, and thousands of white pigeons were free to stay in the cage or try their luck outsideas they preferred. There were numerous goats and monkeys, and after a while some Australian wallabies were added an became a favorite exhibit. There were many acres of trees - ironwoods, coconut and date palms, banyans, monkeypods and well-kept grass and a bandstand area where I frequently attended Sunday afternoon band concerts, usually bring John. Jack worked seven days a week at the Overseas Transportation Office at Pearl Harbor making a daily drive of twelve miles each way. In back of our house one block from the Ala Wai was a famous banyan tree known as Kaiulani's banyan. Banyans are very broad tropical trees whose heavy spreading branches send down tendrils that reach the ground and form new roots at a distance from the central trunk. They provide excellent shade, and on the north side of this tree there is a stone seat where the poet Robert Louis Stevenson often sat in 1890 with the young princess Kaiulani of the Hawaiian royal family. The Polynesians called him Tuisitala - the teller of tales. The street is called Tuisitala after Stevenson, an a plaque commemorates Kaiulani's banyan. In Waikiki we remember the Piggly Wiggly store near the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Liliuokalani Street. and N. Aoki Limited near the corner of Ohua Street. These were two stores where we bought groceries, vegetables, and meat. Bird's Eye frozen foods were becoming available., such as spinach or peas. Later we bought most of our groceries at the Pearl Harbor Navy Commissary. Whole wheat bread was hard to find, and we began to make trips to a bakery on Kapahulu Street in Kaimuki where we would get it fresh from the oven. Jack was consistently pessimistic and ready for the worst as far as Japanese war intentions were concerned. War warnings had been received November 27 by the top commanders in the Army and Navy, and at this date Jack was glad not to be in War Plans at this stage in view of the prevailing complacency, which he had been unable to influence. We recommend a book entitled "The Week Before pearl Harbor " for an accurate picture of what went on. An enlisted sailor in Jack's Transportation Office asked permission to fly to one of the outlying islands [probably Maui or Molokai] over December 6 and 7 when he was off duty. Jack insisted that he file formal leave papers. "You never can tell what may happen." This precaution kept this individual from being AWOL [Absent Without Official Leave] when his return was delayed by the starts of the war. -80- We had become familiar with the Liberty House store in downtown Honolulu, and on Saturday December 6 we made numerous purchases there and at Woolworth's of Christmas presents, hardware, dishpans, kitchen strainers, oilcloths, and many items that became extremely scarce as soon as the war started. On Monday December 8 people cleared the shelves, and the stores were closed December 9. We had been taking Sunday morning swims about 7:30 AM before breakfast the last few weeks.,but on Sunday December 7, l941 it was an unusually cool, dark day, and we were thinking about skipping the swim and began breakfast. About 7:50 AM Mr. Needles rapped on the screen window on the left side of the house and told John and me that all military personnel were ordered to report to their stations because of a Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor. Jack was in the bathroom when I told him about the attack, and before he could get dressed, Mr. Needles was back again urging hm to hurry. Jack proceeded a short way with John in the car,- saw the Japanese planes- realized that it was indeed no drill- bought a Sunday newspaper, and dropped John with it at home. He thinks the slight delay may have saved his life because he drove over a spot on his route with "Hot ashes" from a bomb [or probably U.S. antiaircraft fire from the ships] . Several people had been killed there, so he was glad not to have been there a few minutes earlier. He came home in the December dark about six PM that night for supper but then had night duty at Pearl Harbor for three or four nights consecutively, and he was working day and night for the next several weeks. That Sunday morning he left in civilian clothes but came home in uniform with gun and ammunition belt. --81- About ten AM an Army Jeep passed through our section of Waikiki telling people to stay indoors, for all military personnel to report to their stations, to boil all drinking water, to refrain from using the telephone, to observe a six PM to six AM blackout and a ten PM curfew for citizens and a seven PM curfew for aliens. We had never had a trial blackout. About ten Am December 7 Gertrude Rice came by in a taxi. She had left her apartment on Lewers Road, which was about a mile west of us near the Army Fort DeRussy. She planned to stay with friends in the hills away from the waterfront area, and she wanted us to go with her for safety. I declined, because Jack would have no way of knowing where we were, if he returned or telephoned. Our little house was in a relatively safe location twelve miles from Pearl Harbor and over a mile - probably two miles from Derussy, the nearest Army fort. We had made a wise or lucky choice. John and I had an early dinner and the place was fully dark and blacked out when Jack returned with the horrifying news of the Pearl Harbor disaster in ships and in men, telling me to say nothing about my information as we were anxious to keep the Japanese from knowing how successful they were. He did tell me secretly, "They [the Japanese] did a 'sweet' [highly effective] job." He felt they missed an opportunity by not hitting our ship repair facilities and the oil storage tanks. Halsey's carriers were at sea, though on that Sunday two thirds of their airplanes were temporarily unavilable for action. {As Japanese planes were fast and highly maneuverable, and Americans at that had little experience finding their weaknesses, some people including Admiral Nimitz since have wondered whether Halsey;s planes could have counterattacked effectively even if they had been available. Later American pilots did learn that the fast Japanese attack planes could indeed be destroyed, and Halsey would have liked to have had the opportunity December 7] T he ship repair facilities remqining intact saved us several months in the war effort. They were under the command of Admiral William furloing and Cilliam Calhoun and Captain Gillette. Captain Paul Rice was involved in managing civilian workers. Because we were a military family of moderately high rank, many of our neighbors gathered in our home in the early evening to find out what they should do. Jack was very careful to give -82- them no information, though he minimized the likelihood of invasion of Oahu. An invasion force required far greater logistic support than the December 7 airstrike, and Japan clearly could not sustain her war effort without concentrating her major energies on the immediate capture of the indispensable oil resources of the Dutch East Indies. Therefore an attempt to capture Oahu appeared beyond her capability. He was kindly and patient with all the concerned peole and their questions. About midnight Captain Paul Rice called up and asked if we knew where his wife was. I told him that she had stopped by my house that morning saying she was going to the home of friends in the hills, but I didn't know what friends or what hill. Very early the next morning December 8, Paul and Gertrude appeared at my door, and we arranged to have Gertrude sleep with us as Paul and Jack would be working day and night. Nathalie had gone to school [college] on the mainland in September. Gertrude slept with us for about a week. Paul returned nights to his apartment after that. After Jack left us for several days on the morning of December 8, the FBI came around looking for our landlord, Mr. Walter Glockner. He was a thirty-four year old American citizen whose rights were flagrantly violated over the next several years by the FBI and the military government of Hawaii because he had been born in Germany. The military governor of Hawaii was fined five thousand dollars for contempt of a habeas corpus order of the -83- civilian courts of the Territory of Hawaii in this cases and the related case of Mr. Saife, but the fine was never paid as President Roosevelt pardoned Governor Richardson. In a similar case from Hawaii [[Korematsu v. United Sttes]] the United States Supreme Court decided in 1946 that the military authorities had clearly acted unconstititutionally, and it is to be hoped that American citizens will be spared such hardships in the future. Mr. Glockner was confined for some months in 1942 at Federal immigration facilities at Sand Island in Honolulu Harbor. The military availed themselves of his talents as a brewer on several occasions preparing beer for the troops. He remained cheerful and was a loyal American but sought legal counsel to obtain his freedom. He corresponded with me about the care of his property and assisted us to various repairs to the sink and other matters and asked me to put moth balls in the suits in his apartment. He hoped my husband would act as a character witness on his behalf at the hearing, but Jack had known him only a brief time and was cautious, not knowing enough about him to be certain, though he was a fine landlord and considerate. After some months the military, wary of the growing indignation of the civilian authorities in Honolullu, made a deal with Mr. Glockner. They agreed to release him in Wisconsin, and he had no objection to leaving the Islands for the duration of the war, though it involved some hardship. He sold several real estate properties in Oahu in which he had invested,- but kept the two houses on Ala Wai in view of the fact that I paid my rent regularly. Another property in Kahala he sold because collections had been difficult. He earned a good living as a brewer in -84- Stevens Point, Wisconsin 1943-1945 and sent us photographs of himself and his dog. He also had a pet fox. The Hawaiian Trust Company acted as his agent concerning the property during the early part of the war. Later the Maier Realty Company took over. Mr. Glockner returned to the Islands in 1945 when the war was over. Barbed wire soon appeared along Waikiki Beach and along the row of palm trees on the north side of Ala Wai Boulevard across from our home next to the Canal. It also appeared in other shore locations that might afford landing places in an invasion. After a time a zig-zag path was opened that permitted swimmers to get down to the water through gates in the barbed wire at Waikiki Beach. When the wire was removed a year or two later, there was still a hazard in walking on the beach because of rusty pieces of barbed wire that would turn up buried in the sand here and there. John went barefoot most of the time as was the general custom. We had tetanus shots and boosters. Most of the sand at Waikiki Beach was imported from Kaneohe, but it was still an atrractive beach inside a breakwater and relatively calm. As I was walking from the bus with John to take him to the Honolulu Art Academy on Beretania Street one rainy afternoon, my priceless black unbrella was caught in the barbed wire and sustained a large hole. Umbrellas were impossible to obtain in wartime Hawaii. I remarked, "That's the only thing that the miles and miles of barbed wire in Honolulu ever caught." We received telegrams from Jack's father and sisters in South Boston, my sisters Bertha Pollack and Babe Geetter, and from Dr. Craig in Melbourne concerning our safety after the Pearl Harbor attack. We also received some especially fine presents from the Craigs in Australia in 1941 and 1942. Besides the usual books at Christmas and geographic "Walkabout" magazine, they sent a toy koala, a white wool rug, and a beautiful paperweight of Australian opal - primary color light azure blue, but with prismatic oranges, greens, and purples from different angles of view. Mr. and Mrs. Needles next door gave us some very special Christmas present in 1941 which we have treasured ever since - the most unusual was a ten-inch-long electric light bulb made in Japan and designed as a Santa Claus, in a red suit with a white beard, with green and yellow ornamentation and Japanese facial features,- probably for use by Japanese Christians or Japnese-Hawaiians. We used this light sparingly, and it has continued to light up [until given to Hallahan family of West Roxbury in 1993 still in working condition]. Mr. and Mrs. Needels also gave us several other small Christmas ornaments including a sleigh with reindeer and a cloth Santa Claus on a little plastic stand with a walnut in the sack on his back. The Needles' property at #2421 had about the same frontage as our house at #2415, but it had a deep back yard going in most of the distance from Ala Wai Boulevard to Tuisitala Street to the south. It was fine for croquet and other games. A coconut palm tree, pink and red hibiscus bushes, and a long variegated panax hedge had been planted along the property line when the houses were built around 1922. A large prickly pear cactus stood at the southwest corner of the Needles property. Shortly after we arrived,Mr. Glockner planted four little papaya trees, but only the one furthest from the street near our back bedroon survived. It eventually grew eight or nine feet tall and produced many delicious papayas, which we regularly consumed. Mangoes were our favorite tropical fruit- less regularly available, though our neighbor Mrs. Distelli and sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Hazleton on Kuhio street occasionally gave us excellent fresh ones. We never developed much of a taste for breadfruit, though there was an attractive-looking breadfruit tree on Mr. Glockner's property between our driveway and his apartments next door at #2411. Bright yellow and orange ginger plants bloosomed in fron of #2411. There were blue passion flowers growing on a trellis which served as the open west wall of our garage, whose roof was supported by heavy pillars of lava rock at the corners. Our living room and kitchen doors opened into the garage on the right [[west]] side of the house, and there was a shower door at the right rear corner of the house, ideally designed for coming back in to take a shower after swimming at Waikiki Beach. Directly behind the house at 2415 was the stairway to the upstairs apartment. Mr. Glockner lived there in 1941, and several war workers later occupied the apartment. -86- Finally a young Samoan woman with two small children lived there at the end of the war and remained when we left in June, 1947. A fence divided the Glockner properties from a two-story apartment building on Tuisitala Street behind our house. Bomb shelters were soon built in the back part of the Needles' yard and in the vacant lot between the Glockner apartments at #2411 Ala Wai and the corner of Kaiulani Street to the west. Mr. amd Mrs. Needles started a victory garden on top of their bomb shelter and managed to grow some carrots and other vegetables there.. There were several air raid alerts in early 1942 , and we used the Needles' bomb shelter several times most at night,though in fact only a very few stray Japanese planes actually came near Oahu after the war started. During one late night air raid alert we stayed home and watched the powerful searchlights from Diamond Head instead of going into the dreary shelter. We had 1941 Christmas dinner over at Gertrude Rice's apartment near Lewers Road and Fort DeRussy in west-central Waikiki. We walked there, carrying our gas masks, and she served a delicious dinner-= brandied pears served with the turkey. Jack was working Christmas Day, loading passengers at the dock, but he came and joined us after we had eaten, but Mrs. Rice saved food for him, and a grand time was had by all. [[There was a discussion of how much brandy the fruit contained - John thought the pears were delicious and asked for a second helping- Gertrude mentioned a time when she had a drink that seemed to keep her awake, "My heart beat, beat, beat all night" and Paul Rice replied, "You're lucky it didn't STOP beating!" [They lived to ages ninety-five and one hundred two-and-a-half]] Jack drove us home around three o'clock and returned to the docks as three transports were leaving that day December 25 with wounded and other high priority departing personnel. Movements were top secret, and his office had to notify departing personnel and dependents [families], who were not to tell their friends when they were leaving but stand by and be ready to go on twenty-four-hour notice. His assistants Wilfred Pang and Violet Ho and others handled many of the secret identifying phone calls. Dr. Paul Withington, Chaplains Thornton Miller, William Maguire, and Walter Mahler,. and Port Director Martin Derx worked closely with Jack and became good friends. This was probably the most important duty of Jack's career, as he had contact with thousands of persons. There was also considerable liaison with Honolulu shipping interests- a prominent businessman Frank Midkiff worked closely with Jack. Midkiff was in charge of civilian evacuation. He had lunch with Jack's brother Bill at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Manhattan during a 1942 trip. Future Hawaiian Governer and Mrs. Samuel Wilder King, and Riley Allen, editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, became Jack's friends and appreciated the personal attention he gave many of their suggestions and requests. Jack worked under the Fourteenth Naval district Personnel Officer, Captain Lewis, who was a kamaaina permanent resident of Honolulu., who had been recalled from retirement. One of the first native Hawaiian social workers was Clorinda Low Lucas, whose father was a famous cow handler on the Parker cattle ranch near Mauna Kea. She gave Jack and the Transportation office advice on special needs of local people for evaucation., and we became acquainted when Jack told her of my previous experiene in social work. She also was involved in education and trusts administering native Hawaiian lands.Soon after the war started,the order came out for all Navy dependents to be evacuated. An exception then was made for those who declared Hawaii their permanent legal domicile and gave up any right of government transportation, so we made this declaration about June 1942. when more than ninety per cent of families had already been evacuated. In January 1942 Our family did not want to be separated, and our only home on the mainland would have been with Jack's eighty-seven-year old father.I received a letter from our old friend Mary Boyd, whose husband had served on the HANNIBAL 1933-1934. She mentioned her friend Madeleine Wagner, a Navy wife, and inquired if I knew anything about their safety. I called up Madeleine Wagner in Waikiki, and she was very glad to hear from me, as a friend of a good friend. She became very friendly with John, and before leaving gave him a favorite book,- Edward Huey's "A Child's Story of the Animal World", full of tales of the New Zealand sphenodon and other unusual animals such as hyraxes and poetry explaining how to tell antelopes from canteloups. At first Madeleine wanted to stay in the Islands and asked Jack to defer her evacuation. Then when her husband Dan Wagner got new orders, she requested evacuation and left. The great majority.. of military dependents were eager to leave Hawaii as soon as possible. A minority had special reasons for wanting to stay in the Islands - usually permanent residents.We fell in the latter category,having no place to go on the mainland unless we tried to move in with Jack's sister and eighty-seven-year old father. We were dismayed by the order for all military dependents to leave the Islands. From our point of view it was fortunate that dependent evacuation was a relatively low priority matter, and the scarce shipping was needed for wounded, special hardship cases, and military personnel reassigned to other stations. Even so, over ninety per cent of the military dependents in Hawaii on December 7, l941 had left through Jack's office within six months. Jack tried to stay out of sight of Admiral Bloch, and John and I stayed away from Pearl Harbor and hoped no high-ranking officer would "get after" Jack and force him to hurry up and send us off. One of the Admirals did inquire after us several times to Jack's discomfort. After the Battle of Midway [June 4, 1942] the orders concerning dependents were liberalized, and those families who chose to be considered permanent residents were permitted to file declarations that they did not want transportation. Therefore our family was able to stay together during six years in the Islands. We missed the rigor of mainland food rationing although certain items were scarce such as the common mainland fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods we used included Campbell's chicken soup, Bird's Eye fresh frozen broccoli, peas, and corn, mangoes, weekly roastbeef, baking potatoes from the Navy Commissary, fresh oranges when available, and ground Chase and Sanborn coffee. We switched from percolator to Silex in 1942.


 


p 76-1266 Michael Greger on mad cow + prion diseases

 

Michael Gregor was one of the first scientists to speak out strongly about the presence of mad cow disease in the US cattle populations, the risk of transmissions to humans, and the on-going government and media cover-up. His influential 1994 Web page asserted that, as a public health risk, bovine-CJD was a "worse threat than AIDS," a seemingly radical view that was quickly affirmed upon reading his meticulously documented essay. Two years later, Greger's views are widely shared within the biomedical community. However, the media blackout continues as before. Greger has just published a major update to his original article. Michael Greger is interviewed below by Dr. Thomas Pringle, scientific advisor to the Sperling Biomedical Foundation. ---- Question 1: Michael, how was it possible for you as a junior at Cornell to know more about the dangers of BSE and prion disease than full time experts at USDA, APHIS, and CDC? Answer 1: I didn't do anything but bring together work that was already done. It was all there; it was in the literature, it was in the British press weekly and perhaps monthly in the world press. it just wasn't available to the American public. The US officials knew it all they just didn't think it necessary, I gather, to invite public debate on the subject. Look at Marsh's findings. They were like a decade ago. They were just ignored; all I had to do was some digging. This is important because by taking credit (one editor called it the "Greger Theory"; it's not a theory and it certainly isn't mine), it would undervalue the people in this field like >Dr. Richard Lacey (the microbiologist, not the National Cattlemen's Beef Association President!) who were the real pioneers and truly deserve the recognition. ------- Question 2: As a medical student at Tufts, have you learned anything that would lessen your public health concerns vis-a-vis transmission of BSE to humans in America? Answer 2: The first two years of medical school are basic science, most of which I've had in undergrad. If anything, it's just given me a better understanding of some of the underlying pathology, anatomy, biochemistry. I'm going to be speaking at the medical school this Wednesday. I am hopeful that it will stimulate heated debate in the medical and veterinary complex here. The only news of late that would seem to minimize the threat is the as-of-yet-inconclusive transgenic mice experiments. - Question 3: Over the next 7-10 years, do you see the CJD incidence in the US from all causes staying at the alleged 1 per 1,000,000 per year? Answer 3: It was never 1 per million per year and everybody knows it. As I go into in my article CJD is seriously underdiagnosed/underreported. Since we don't even know what the rate is now it would be hard to discern future trends. This NY woman is puzzling/troubling. British cutlets in 1987, symptoms in 1991? Pretty short. The question, though, is do I think there's going to be a rise in incidence. I think it is inevitable *if* indeed BSE is causing CJD and we don't change the way the industry does business (how about first taking the WHO's recommendation of a ruminant to ruminat feed ban). YEs I know the FDA promised one (like it did years ago). But how about an *immediate* ban (not 12-18 months) with some strict enforement. Is it too late already? No one knows. What are the chances anyone is in danger from eating BSE infected tissue? No one knows. And that's the scary part. And the public is not being provided with the information people need to make their own risk assessments while the respective governments keep their fingers crossed. [[The transgenic mouse experiment is one way of testing whether the infectious bovine agent can cross the species barrier into humnas. Because it is medically unethical to experiment on humans with an incurable lethal disease [unless you are a government agency or beef producer!], a strain of mice has been constructed genetically whose prion genes have been replace by the human sequence. After inter-cerebral injection of infected bovine brain tissue, the mice are watched for up to 700 days to see if they acquire the disease. They are at day 300 now. The experiment, in the last analysis, is on mice, not humans. Oxford scientists just published a study based on molecular evolution, concluding that bovines can infect humans. -- clarification by webmaster]] ------ The Public Health Implications of Mad Cow Disease by Michael Greger Peter Hall showed the first signs of depression around Christmas, 1994. In five months he was in a wheelchair. He died at age 20 of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, a relentlessly progressive and invariably fatal dementia [95] which usually attacks people in their sixties[33]; cases under 30 are exceedingly rare[112]. Around the next Christmas, an uproar ensued when leading British neuropathologist Sir Bernard Tomlinson refused to feed his children burgers out of fear that they might contract this disease f rom infected beef[102]. His fears were realized on Wednesday, March 20, 1996, when the British government announced that the most likely explanation of Peter's death and 9 other recently diagnosed cases of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease among English young pe ople [41] was exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy(BSE)[71]. 'Very unhappy' were the words British vet Colin Whitaker used to describe the dairy [12] cow who became the world's first documented case of BSE on a fine spring morning in 1985[123]. Dubbed Mad Cow Disease by the British press[53], BSE has by now a dec ade later stricken over 150,000 cattle [106]. The fear now is that through the consumption of infected beef Britain may be on the brink of the largest public health calamity since the Black Death[121] with worst case scenario estimates involving the deat hs of millions of people[101]. Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) is a human spongiform encephalopathy[70] whose standard clinical picture involves weekly deterioration[67] into blindness and epilepsy[59] while one's brain perforates like swiss-cheese[105]. The World Health Organizatio n recently agreed with the British government's conclusion that there is a new variant of CJD whose appearence is best explained by the BSE epidemic in cows because of a number of consistent unusual features.[136]. Other than being extraordinarily young[ 41], the human victims also had atypical EEGs[96] and took twice as long to die[33]. The real clincher came, though, when their brains were autopsied[108]. Along with unusual psychiatric symptoms[80], the brain pathology was found to be vividly reminisce nt[69] of Kuru, a disease found in a New Guinea tribe of cannibals which ate the brains of their dead[46a]. In the words of Germany's leading expert on CJD "everything suggests that BSE is the cause..."[93]. The probable [107] link between BSE and CJD, viewed by Britain's Chief Medical Officer as "cause for serious concern", came as a complete reversal of the position the government held for a decade[58]. The next day 5 European countries banned the importa tion of British beef[37] and 10,000 British schools dropped beef from their menus[30]. That Friday McDonald's stopped serving British beef[29] and by Monday, Burger King[119] and Wendy's[125] stopped too. And Tuesday, less than a week after the announc ement was made, the European Union decided to quantantine the island, voting an immediate and indefinite worldwide ban on the export of British beef[87]. The same day in one of the biggest operations in decades, Ireland deployed extra police with troop s on standby to seal off its border to prevent cattle smuggling [94]. Finally, two days later, British beef was banned in Britain, but only from cattle considered to be higher at risk[117]. The debatedly [70] novel[3] infectious agents that cause spongiform encephalopathies like CJD and BSE evoke no immune response [50] and consequently may slowly accumulate[14] for an invisible latency period of up to 30 years.[60] No one knows how many people have already been infected. John Pattison, Dean of the University College of London Medical School and Chairman of the British government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), thinks there could be 500,000 people already incubatin g CJD[27]. "At this stage," he adds," we have to say it's totally unpredictable."[88] Needless to say, he does not feed beef to his grandson[82]. Microbiologist Steven Dealler, secretary of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Research Campaign, places the po ssible death count at 2 million people[118]. Professor Pattison reportedly agreed with this worst case scenario assessment.[118] This could mean up to a half million deaths a year as the epidemic peaks into the next century according to Richard Lacey[64] , a microbiology consultant for the World Health Organization and child health specialist.[68] Called the "most intriguing, unsolved puzzle in modern biology"[141] it is now close to being generally accepted that the cause of both the disease in humans and cows isn't a virus or a bacteria, but a "prion", an infectious protein.[78] Not only is it not known how they replicate[6], the whole concept challenges the basic tenets of biology.[45] Because of their unique makeup, they are practically invulnerable. They are not adequately destroyed by cooking[13], canning[14], nor freezing.[40] Chemicals or enzymes which degrade nucleic acids[55], proteolytic enzymes of the digestive tract[49], and usable doses of UV or ionizing radiation[40] are all ineffective in destroying their infectivity. Even heat sterilization[40], domestic bleach[59a], and formal dehyde[14] sterilization have little or no effect. In fact, the only way to ensure that one's burger is safe is to marinate it in Drain-O (or other concentrated alkali).[59] They are the smallest[9], most lethal self-perpetuating biological entities in th e world.[74] In six years, BSE has gone from the most serious threat ever posed to British agriculture[44] to what the Prime Minister calls the worst crisis to confront the government in general, since the Falklands War.[72] Widespread fear first struck in 1989[19]. Only months after the government concluded that the disease probably wouldn't spread to other species[1], Max, someone's pet Siamese, died of a hitherto unknown feline spongiform encephalopathy[68]. BSE-infected pet food was "overwhelmingly the most li kely explanation."[36] And then zoo animals started dropping dead.[4] Together, this sparked a public uproar[19] with unprecedented media attention.[50] Fearing its spread into the human population, hospitals[34], nursing homes[34], and over 2000 schools[ 21], affecting over 750,000 school children[7], stopped serving beef or restricted its consumption. By May 1990, a quarter of the population reportedly refused to eat beef.[38] In six months beef prices dropped 10[5]-25%[3], devastating the cattle indust ry. The final blow came when Australia[43], Israel[43], and a dozen other countries[24] banned the importation of British beef because of the BSE epidemic. After a $6.5 million advertising campaign touting red-meat consumption, from Britain's Meat and Livestock Commission[34], though, and the Minister of Agriculture munching burgers with Cordelia[100], his four-year-old daughter for the TV cameras[16], the schools put beef back on the menu[50] and beef consumption regained semi-normal levels.[38] Despite continued warnings from scientists like Lacy, the European community had lifted its ban and most other countries had greatly relaxed their trade restricti ons[7] until news of these first human deaths recently broke.[90] Now with the worldwide ban in effect, Britain has been forced to agree to kill and incinerate[26] (or perhaps mince and bury)[103] millions of cattle[75] at a total cost of billions of dollars[11]. The decision is supported by the Minister of Agricultur e[119] and the National Farmer's Union[119], while admitting the mass slaughter would be 'too horrific to contemplate.'[120] In response to the proposed slaughter, an Hindi group in India offered the afflicted cows sanctuary while a Cambodian newspaper s uggested that the cows be used to detonate the country's buried landmines.[145]. The extermination may not have eliminate the epidemic, though, as evidence exists that prions can remain infectious for years in the soil[61] and/or may be harbored by insec ts.[76] A better solution would seem to be to finding out which cows were actually infected instead of just indiscriminate killing. Such a test for detecting BSE in live cattle was offered to the British government seven years ago by Harash Narang, a cl inical virologist with the public health service[85]. Dr. Narang was subsequently fired, and reportedly had his tires slashed five times, his home broken into, and his brakes tampered with[126]. Critics presume the government did not want the public to know how much infected beef was entering the food chain[126] and therefore discouraged such tests to protect the $4.6 billion beef industry[85] In fact Dr. Lacey claims that the British government has at all stages concealed facts and corrupted evidence beyond much reasonable doubt[68]. The Labor Party charged the government with a "reckless disregard for public health"[119], "seriously complacent decisions"[121] historically and a "pathetic"[90] response to the current crisis. Others echoed similar charges of procrastination and delay [85]. A New Scientist editorial explained how the British government "tried to push scientific advice aside when it did not suit them."[106] An editorial in The Lancet criticized the government for making the error of equating the absence of evidence of risk with evidence of little or no risk.[82] Statements like "There's no way of predicting..." seemed to transform in the halls of government into "There is no evidence..."[107]. British agriculture minister Angela Browning's January pronouncement that her government's stance was "ultra precautionary" [115] bears a certain resemblance to similar statements now coming from the United States government.[116] Six months ago Britain's Prime Minister was still asserting that there was absolutely no co nnection between BSE and CJD[115] and still attempts to reassure the public that beef is safe to eat to this day[82]. Likewise the USDA continues to adamantly parrot day after day that there is no BSE in the USA[130]. The United States has the highest per capita beef consumption in the world.[65] and 100,000,000 cattle[8] Traditional bovine spongiform encephalopathy hit North America in 1993.[15] The first cow discovered to be infected, one of many imported from the UK before both Canada and the US banned the importation of British cattle, was found on a ranch in Alberta, Canada.[8] Of the 499[116] British cattle imported into the US before the 1989 ban, 188 of them have been melted down into lard and protein[8] (pre sumably for other livestock to eat) and 35 remain unaccounted for.[116] One of the imported bulls slaughtered had a "central nervous system abnormality" of which the USDA reported, "There is no definitive evidence that [the bull] either had or did not hav e BSE."[8] Although the importation of British beef has been banned from the US for a decade due to an unrelated disease[7], over 13 tons of meat and bone meal, which has been implicated in the birth of the British epidemic, has come into the US from Engl and between 1982 and 1989.[2] "BSE was 'almost certainly'[10] caused by feeding cattle ground up, dead, diseased sheep"[18] infected with an ovine spongiform encephalopathy known as scrapie.[20] In modern agribusiness, cows are no longer herbivores. "Protein concentrates" (or meat an d bone meal, both euphemisms for mashed- up bits of other animals left over from the slaughterhouse) are fed to dairy cows[22] to improve milk production,[65] for example. The real problem now, though, is not that we've made cows meat eaters but that we'v e turned them into cannibals as well; the recycling of the remains of infected cows into cattle feed[60] has probably led to the epidemic's explosive spread.[42] An editorial in the British Medical Journal described BSE as resulting "from an accidental e xperiment on the dietary transmissibility of prion disease between sheep and cows."[57] A subsequent experiment of this kind, with humans, probably occurred in England in the late 1980's when meat contaminated with BSE entered the food chain.[57] The res ult of this experiment is awaited "as we live through the incubation period" over the next decades.[57] Indigenous conditions here conducive to a BSE outbreak include the presence of scrapie in 39 states.[54] The 40-year[52] USDA Scrapie Eradication Program has been deemed a "dismal failure"[63] and even implicated in the recent rise of scrapie-infected sh eep.[54] Admitting defeat, the USDA scrapped the Scrapie Eradication Program 2 years ago and replaced it with an "entirely voluntary" control program.[21] The proportion of sheep to cattle in the US is dramatically smaller than in the British Isles though , which helps minimize the risk of an outbreak.[65] This is a moot point, however, if BSE is already here. Since 1947 there have been 25 outbreaks of Mink Spongiform Encephalopathy (also called TME) on US fur farms.[22] This perplexed researchers who were unable to orally infect mink with scrapie-infected sheep brains.[49] A clue came in 1985 when TME wiped o ut a population of minks in Wisconsin who hadn't eaten any sheep.[35] Their diet consisted almost exclusively of dairy cattle called "downers,"[54] an industry term describing a syndrome in which cows mysteriously drop down and are too sick to get up. The possibility, then, that US dairy herds were harboring some form of BSE intrigued University of Wisconsin veterinary scientist Richard Marsh.[65] To test this, Marsh inoculated US cattle with the infected mink brains.[49] As predicted, they died.[49] And when he fed the brains of these cows to healthy mink they too died of a spongiform encephalopathy[54] providing what he thought was the missing link.[66] Marsh hypothesized that the proposed BSE strain indigenous to the US manifests itself as more of a do wned cow disease than a mad cow disease.[49] With about 300,000 cows going down for unexplainable reasons every year in the US[65], this has frightening implications on a grand scale. The downer cow is then melted down in a process called rendering into feed and her bones are boiled[128] (along with her skin and cartilage)[77] to make gelatin, a main ingredient in Jell-O and marshmallows. The critical experiment came when Marsh inoculated scrapie infected sheep brain into US cattle.[63] If you do this i n England the cows go mad, twitching[16] and kicking into a rabid frenzy.[12] But in America, cows instead stagger to their deaths like downer cows do[65], supporting the belief that a form of BSE is already here in the United States. By 1990 the USDA had 60 labs monitoring US cattle herds for BSE.[7] In 1991 APHIS, the governmental agency which ensures the health of the nation's livestock, concluded that the "possibility of BSE appearing in US cattle is extremely low."[21] The assump tion made by APHIS and others[2], however, was that "scrapie infected sheep were the only source of the BSE agent."[21] This is certainly questionable in light of the evidence for an indigenous BSE agent. Likewise, the USDA surveillance program (described as slow, clumsy, and ineffective)[66] began looking for the rabies-like symptoms of the traditional British strain of BSE[52], in effect ignoring Marsh's findings.[21] In June 1992 a USDA consultant group continued to disregard the available evidence, de ciding that changes in the research program to accommodate the possibility that BSE was already present in the US were "not appropriate at this time."[21] No surprise really, when one realizes that this panel included representatives of the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Renderers Association, The American Sheep industry Association and the National Cattleman's Association.[21] According to a newspaper report, though, in 1993 the USDA finally backed down and started testing downer cows[6 5]. In all, 2,660 brains from 43 states have been examined by APHIS[116] with plans to increase the number[92]. They report that no evidence for BSE has been found[116]. Unfortunately they were evidently relying on standard techniques used by British offic ials[129]. As reported in the April 1994 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases not only does the suspected American version of BSE differ in outward appearance, the affected brain also looks different than the British variety. Reportedly only a sm all percentage of the few thousand brains are therefore even being properly tested.[131] Even, however, if the more sensitive techniques were utilized in all the cases, Marsh feels that this number would be insufficient to impart a sense of security[129] . There is also suspicion that the USDA might try to cover up any suspected cases in an attempt to protect the $36 billion[129] beef industry from collapse.[47] In Germany, for example, scientists have admitted that there have been many cases of BSE that were not reported[124]. When the monetary compensation given to the British farmer whose infected cows were incinerated by the government rose from 50% of mark et value to full compensation, the number of reported cases shot up 73%.[59] Presumably, the earlier economic disincentive persuaded farmers to overlook a few mad cows. In general in fact British BSE cases have been severely underreported with as few as 60% of clinical cases reaching UK government statistics. It was reported in the Sunday Telegraph that "British officials believe that some European countries concealed or ignored evidence of 'mad cow disease' for fear of the consequences for their own farming industries."[124] The problem, as many English pundits saw it, is that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food represents the interests of both consumers and the beef industry.[78] A similar conflict of interest exists in the United States. The mandate of the USDA is to promote agricultural products but also to protect consumer health. In Britain, at least, it would seem that the government's attempt at protecting the beef industry by concentrating more on PR crisis management than on d oing anything substantial ended up not only hurting the industry, but consumers, farmers, and the government as well.[98] With scientists like Marsh saying "The exact same thing could happen over here as happened in Britain,"[35] and with beef consumption already at a thirty-year low,[34] the USDA is justifiably worried. There was even a complaint filed with the FDA concern ing a woman with CJD who had been taking a dietary supplement containing bovine tissue.[4] Like England, we have been feeding dead cows to living cows for decades.[7] In fact, here in the US a minimum of 14% of the remains of rendered cattle is fed to oth er cows[49] (another 50% goes on the pig and chicken menu).[2] In 1989 alone almost 800 million pounds of processed animals were fed to beef and dairy cattle.[115] Partly because of this, the USDA has conceded that "the potential risk of amplification of the BSE agent is much greater in the United States" than in Britain.[8] To make things worse, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of animal protein in commercial dairy feed since 1987.[35,49] The recent introduction of bovine growth hormone will only increase the need for rendered animal proteins in the rations of dairy cattle--of whom we eat 2.6 billion pounds of annually[8]. According to top encephalopathy expert Joseph Gibbs, one out of every million cattle naturally develops BSE.[65] A single teaspoon of ingested high infectivity meat and bone meal is thought to be enough to cause BSE in a cow[80]. Between this and eviden ce that prions may be able to adapt to their hosts and become more virulent with time[22], it would seem absolutely necessary to enact the ban and stop recycling this disease through US cattle. In June 1993 the Foundation on Economic Trends, a Washington public interest group[191], petitioned the FDA to ban all feeding of ruminants (cows, sheep) to other ruminants as the European Commonwealth had done three years before[23]. The legal petition was largely ignored[115]. The next year the FDA did propose to at least stop feeding sheep offal to cows, but it was blocked by vehement protests from the rendering and livestock industries[83]. A week after the Britain's recent admission that people m ay be dying from eating burgers, another public interest group, the International Center for Technology Assessment, filed a similar legal petition[115]. Leading consumer group Public Voice for Food and Health Policy has since also called for a ban[[135]. Three days after the latest petition was filed the meat industry announced a "voluntary" ban on feeding cows to cows[115]. In Britain they tried a similar voluntary ban; it failed miserably[115]. In the US the same rendering industry promised to stop feeding sheep brains to cows years ago; the FDA confirmed that this failed also[84]. On April 3, 1996 the World Health Organization called for a worldwide ban on feeding animal tissues to livestock[134] The FDA has promised to "expedite" such regulation s.[132] This is expected to mean that putting a formal ban in place will take 12 to 18 months[132]. Even with the law in Britain, though, surprise random inspections last year showed half of the English slaughterhouses in violation of the cow to cow ban regulations[91], but it is better than no law at all[105]. US officials admit that it is "very difficult" to verify compliance with the current voluntary ban[32]. In fact weeks after the "voluntary" ban was announced by the industry the feeding of rumi nant protein was still continuing at rates of million of pounds a day[115], supporting the director[104] of the Center for Media and Democracy John Stauber's contention that the oxymoronic voluntary ban was just a "worthless PR sham".[132] A spokesperson for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), admitted 3 years ago that his industry could indeed find economically feasible alternatives to feeding rendered animal protein, but that the NCBA did not want to set a precedent of be ing ruled by "activists"[Food Chemical News, July 5, 1993]. Another NCBA spokesperson, Gary Weber, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show this April[131]. Clearly alarmed and disturbed by the fact that cows in the US are forced to eat cattle remains, Oprah swore she would never eat another burger again[131]. Our government knew that the such feeding practices would be "vulnerable to media scrutiny" as portrayed in an internal PR crisis management document.[115] After Oprah tried to remind the audience tha t cows were supposed to be herbivores, Dr. Weber defended the practice by stating "Now keep in mind, before you--you view the ruminant animal, the cow, as simply a vegetarian--remember that they drink milk."[131] Cattle prices plummeted after the show aired.[97] The president of the National Cattlemen's beef Association called Oprah "a cheerleader for...anti-beef propaganda."[203] "We're not going to sit back and let trash TV trash a vital industry..." said the Texas Agriculture Commissioner in a prepared statement.[97] Texas agriculture officials are planning to bring a lawsuit against the opposing guest on the show, Howard Lyman, a cattle rancher turned vegetarian under a 1995 state law that prohibits unfoun ded comments about perishable food items[97]. These are among the same Texas officials that responded to the tragic news of the human deaths in Britain by staging a mocking April 4 publicity stunt cook-out.[115] On the show was Beryl Rimmer, whose 16 yea r old granddaughter lay in a coma, blind and dying, one of the ten diagnosed with the new variant of CJD[131]. A doctor from the government's CJD surveillance unit reportedly told her not to make her granddaughter's plight public; she should "think of the economy and the Common Market."[68] In the same show Weber asserted that no animal could ever enter a US packing plant displaying BSE symptoms[131]. Even if this is true, the majority of infected and infectious cattle become beef before clinical symptoms arise.[58] In fact, for every "mad " cow incinerated in the UK, there may be hundreds slaughtered and sold to butchers before any overt symptoms develop.[51] Narang estimates that a third of all English cattle going into the food chain are infected with BSE.[133] Because of this, it is estimated that every adult in the UK has eaten on average 50 meals containing tissue from infected cattle[126]. In the Journal of Public Health Medicine, Dealler, the microbiologist, wrote that in all probability most humans who have consumed British bee f since the start of the BSE epidemic will have been exposed to the infection.[58] In America it may be even harder to stop infected cattle from entering the food supply since it has been argued that dairy cattle are routinely culled earlier than in Britain.[135] Within a week the National Cattlemen's Beef Association prepared a position statement which stated that "Scientific evidence indicates that beef (meat) and milk do not present a risk as there is no evidence that the agent that causes BSE is present in me at and milk"[114] First of all, even the USDA has stated that "the safety of British beef cannot be demonstrated for 20 or more years."[21] As retired professor of clinical neurology WB Matthews put it, "Claims that British beef is entirely safe to eat.. .are scarcely scientific when the question has not been tested and is, perhaps, untestable."[28] The NCBA is probably attempting to refer to a study based solely on mice in which no detectable infectivity was found in muscle, but beef is not just muscle; it's laced with peripheral nerves and lymphoid tissue[39] which have both been shown to be infectious.[39] And it is possible that muscles do in fact harbor sufficiently deadly numbers of prions; spongiform encephalopathies of goats, minks, and hamsters can be transmitted through muscle alone.[55] No tissue, though, concentrates the pathogens more than brain or spinal cord.[46] In the slaughterhouse, beef is recovered by mechanically sawing down the corpse, which may imbed brains (which at this stage h ave the consistency of pudding)[59] throughout the meat.[55] In addition, the prions are thought by some to continuously accumulate in one's system, so that even small doses could build up with time.[14] Milk, however, is safe according to the World Heal th Organization[62]. So although BSE is more prevalent in dairy cows, the potential danger is probably in their quick retirement into hamburger, not their milk[48]. There is a cluster of CJD in eastern Pennsylvania, however, which was linked to cheese consumption and there is a case description published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrating that milk from a Creutzfeldt-Jacob diseased woman was indeed infectious[25]. Just because someone consumes an infectious dose of BSE, though, does not mean that they will necessarily get the disease. There is still no direct proof that BSE can even cause CJD in humans.[112] The recent deaths in Britain may turn out to be unrela ted to beef consumption. One experiment which is currently underway is to do further studies of the autopsied brains called strain typing which could provide strong empirical evidence of a BSE-CJD link[86] Results will not be forthcoming for at least 18 months, though, and may not even then provide definitive answers[112]. The preliminary results from another study involving mice genetically engineered to express human proteins seem to minimize the risk to humans, but are not yet conclusive[102]. Simi larly it will be a year and a half before firm conclusions can be drawn[112]. BSE has been able to infect and (therefore) kill cats, antelopes, and even ostriches from presumably eating infected protein, though.[1] Eighty cats have now since followed Max to the grave[101]. Experimentally, one can give BSE to monkeys[56], pigs, ch impanzees [8] and thirteen other species[58]. There really is no reason to believe that BSE will not similarly infect humans.[8] So far, in fact, BSE has proven more infectious than most other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.[39] The latest dat a has come from the comparing of the cow and human prion proteins. Two striking similarities were found between gorillas, chimpanzees, humans and cows which might have "predisposed" higher primates to cattle prion infections[97], a finding that "can onl y be interpreted as worrying."[102]. This could explain why people could develop CJD from eating meat[97]. So what are the odds that humans are susceptible? No one knows. When Dealler was recently asked by a member of the British Parliament what the c hances of any particular person contracting CJD from BSE-infected meat were he replied "Between zero and 100 percent." Incidentally, cows aren't the only possible source of prion disease. Paul Brown, medical director of the NIH neurological disorders institute with the US Public Health Service[17], believes that pigs and poultry could be harboring BSE and passing it on to humans, adding that pigs are especially sensitive to the disease.[103] "It's speculation", he says, "but I am perfectly serious."[103] On March 20, the British government banned farmers from feeding processed cattle blood, bones, fat, and offal to pigs and poultry.[31] A week and a half later they even halted the use on meat and bone meal as agricultural fertilizer[113] and we in the United States can't even get them to stop feeding cows to other cows. If indeed a form of BSE is in the United States and causing disease among American meat eaters, one would expect to see an increase in Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease incidence. CJD, however, is not a reportable illness in this country[131]. Because the Cen ters for Disease Control (CDC) does not actively monitor the disease [32] a rise similar to the one in Britain could be missed[32]. Other than the cheese-associated five-fold expected rate in the Lehigh Valley[139], a striking increase in CJD was reporte d in Florida[143], and there is anecdotal report of an cluster in Oregon[144]. An analysis of death certificates in a number of states, though, showed a stable and typical CJD incidence rate from 1979 to 1993[81]. Just recently the CDC initiated an ext ensive study of death certificates in four states[138]. Death-certificate diagnoses are well known to be not always accurate, though.[140] CJD is seriously underdiagnosed at present[70]. The most common misdiagnosis of CJD is Alzheimer's disease[70]. Both diseases show overlapping symptoms and pathology[70]. There can be spongy changes in Alzheimer's and amyloid plaques in CJD.[70] In f act the brains of the young people who died from the new CJD variant in Britain look like Alzheimer's brains[83]. Stanley Prusinger, the scientist who coined the term prion, believes Alzheimer's may even turn out to be a prion disease[115].The true prev alence of prion diseases in this or any other country remains a mystery[70]. An informal survey of neuropathologists registered a theoretical range of 2-12% of all dementias as actually CJD[70] whereas the official rate in this country is less than 1 cas e in a million per year. Compounding the situation, autopsies are rarely even performed on atypical dementias[70], because medical professionals are often unwilling out of fear of infection[68]. Four million Americans are affected by Alzheimer's[115]; it is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly in the US.[142] Epidemiological evidence suggests that people eating meat more than four times a week for a prolonged period have a 3 time s higher chance of suffering a dementia than long-time vegetarians[79]. A preliminary 1989 study at the University of Pennsylvania showed that over 5% of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's were actually dying from a human spongiform encephalopathy.[21] That means that as many as 200,000 people in the United States[21] may already be dying from mad cow disease each year. In an examination of the risk of a major CJD epidemic in Britain, one of the government advisors wrote "I can't imagine it will just stop at ten cases..." It seems he was right. By the end of March the number was revised to an unconfirmed 12[27] Then came two women in their 30's dying in Germany[48]. A 26-year old man just died in France[109]; French authorities concluded it was "exactly identical" to the ten in Britain after consulting with health officials there[114]. The latest suspected victim i s a 24 year old woman in New York who may have contracted the disease years after receiving a Christmas gift of British beef cutlets[137]. And by the end of April another English girl was diagnosed with CJD[110]. At age 15 she is thought to be the world 's youngest victim of the disease[113]. After the diagnosis of BSE pattern CJD was confirmed, leading neurologist Peter Behan made the controversial announcement that she "picked it up through hamburgers."[113] Assuming a ten year incubation period, all of the young people dying of this disease in Britain over the last few months were presumably infected when there were but only a few hundred infected cows being turned into beef. In the year 1990 alone, it is estimated that 250,000 BSE-infected cows we re eaten, which of course begs the question how many people might be dying at the turn of the century[111]. In the United States we are left with an industry that continues to risk public safety and a government protecting that industry's interests over those of the consumer. A clue as to why the government has been so stubborn in enacting a ban on feeding cow and sheep remains to cows and sheep can be found in a 1991 internal USDA document entitled "BSE: Rendering policy" retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act.[21] It weighed the costs and benefits of a number of preventative measures including a total ban on feeding ruminants to ruminants.[21] The supporters of this option felt that this minimized the risk to public health.[21] APHIS, however, goes on to explain that the "disadvantage" of this approach is "that the cost to the livestock and rendering industries would be substantial"[115] The lost revenue to cattle producers of such a ban is estimated at a dollar per cow[89]. The document continues, asserting that such a policy "could pose major problems for the US livestock and rendering indust ries."[21] After all, the rendering, feed, and cattle industries do rack up annual sales of only $1.2 billion, $20 billion, and $60 billion, respectively.[8] The Archbishop of York recently blamed the BSE epidemic on greed and profit.[127]. Other than simply corporate profiteering, I think this crisis shows to what length governments will go to prevent financial harm to powerful lobbies in general, and in doing so risk immeasurable harm to those they claim to represent. ----- May 5, 1996 Please feel free to use and/or distribute in any way -- Michael Greger --- 1. J. of Nutritional Medicine (1992) 3:149-151 2. Animal Health Insight (1992) Autumn:1-7 3. Moscow Indiana Daily News (1993) December 22:1A,3A 4. Consumer Policy Institute Testimony before Joint Meeting of FDA FAC and VMAC (1993) May 6:5-6 5. J. of Agricultural Economics (1992) 43(1:96-103 6. 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