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


Sophie Barrett near popular cave Shangtung peninsula near Chefoo, CHINAchapter #62 p 8
Along with her friends Gertrude and Nathalie Rice and Rachel Doughtie - of the very few women family members with gunboat TULSA officers, Sophie traveled south spring l931 on a British freighter when the TULSA went to Asiaitic fleet gunnery and annual fleet exercises.Sophie nearly was stranded in Wehai-Wei after a shopping expedition. She had a pleasant picnic with Gertrude and Paul Rice near Chefoo and visited a popular cave near this photo.She stayed at Wineglass Boarding house, arranged by Chaplain Wiilliam Maguire, later famous for heroism at Pearl Harbor December 7, l941.When Jack helped Fleet Chaplain Maguire with transportation needs of Navy families,he said it was "bread on the water", as Chaplain Maguire had helped Sophie at Chefoo l93l. At Shanghai Sophie met Maimie and Mickey Ashley, Cockeye the Naval Tailor, Ah. Sing Ships' Chandler and other friends of Jacks.She bought Wei-hai-wei pottery-pewter tea set on trip.Letter Sophie BLACK notebook #4 p.nineteen: "5 July 1970 from Martin R. Stone, Rear Admiral USN Retired 1140 Keyes Avenue Winter Park Floria 32789--Dear Mrs. Barrett,I am sorry to hear that your husband has passed on.Yes, I am the Martin Stone who served on the TULSA, but most of my time aboard was under Walter B. Decker as Captain and before your husband came aboard.I do remember him, but if my memory serves me right, he relieved me as First Lieutenant when he reported on board,and I don't remember him as gunnery officer although as you say many years have passed and perhaps I am in error [Sophie Barrett note When SMB Sophie Meranski Barrett joined Jack -JBB- he WAS Gunnery officer of the TULSA, November 1930}. [John Barrett note -Jack's assignment changed several times - he was First Lieutenant, acting Executive Officer until Leonard Doughty reported, and later Gunnery Officer].I am glad to hear that some of the old shipmates are still alive, such as [Dr] Supan and [Col.William] Paca.I have seen Gordon Hall in the intervening years but don't know where he is now.I am afraid there isn't much I can offer regarding my contacts with Jack except that I do remember he suffered pain in the facial area-probably sinusitis.I suppose the weather in northern China had something to do with it.The great majority of my service has been in the Pacific and Far East.The outbreak of World War II caught me in Tokyo as Assistant Naval Attache,- and I returned in the first exchange on the GRIPSHOLM.The rest of the war I was in the Southwest Pacific.Again [I was] in the Far East during the Korean War.I retired in 1955 and have been living in Winter Park ever since.Nice place. It was nice to hear from you, and I wish you success in your project. Best regards. Martin Stone." + "Just before [our] departure Captain and Mrs. Rice asked us if we would spend one night at their home to look after Nathalie while they spent the evening and night in Peking. So we spent the night with Nathalie, and the next morning at breakfast the number one 'boy' [they were adults - this was the term used] inquired of Jack, "Master wantchee eyogg?" Jack had no idea what he was asking about, so the 'boy' repeated this question several times. Finally young Nathalie explained that her father always had two EGGS for breakfast, and the 'boy' was merely inquiring whether Jack wanted eggs for breakfast. He pronounced 'egg' like 'IGG' the "i" being long as it is in "Ike". Jack wanted no part of Chinese eggs, which were always too old for anything but scrambled eggs. Jack liked to tell a [related] story about a man who ordered FRIED eggs in China. The servant said, "Fly - no can do -- scramble - maybe can."
Subject: Sophie near cave Shantung-Chefoo
Year: 1931