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

 

97-1442 Lake Crescent September 1999 looking east from Lake Crescent Lodge area
from p. 55 - Social work-Mariage 1923-30 TEXT CHAPTER TWO Social Work and Greenwich Village Romance 1923-1930 JohnB Barrett Partial sequence of text: summer 1923 Lower East Side NY Edelschick-sausages- doctor. at clinic +cousin+-Hewes and thesis-Pollacks Dorchester- canneries 1925- +ANNETaylor+ Mother- +Hewes-to Clark+ BeckySmaltz p 178- Stokowski- Josephine Dana and Agnes Drummond Spring Garden - cattle -Knitter pasted from #19k Jean Morton - "Pinafore" Dr. Strecker- Almena Dawley -Frances David- +Baltimore+ Emmanuel Lyons- Jack Barrett 27 Commerce Bill Nuremberg law - Esther- sinus- Finn Pappp Brill Abe Perkins Marie Nelson Pete and Jen Woolley= shack Babe-Geetter weddingJune 16 train Macy's Cogswell Hu TEXT #19 New York I was well acquainted with Professor Amy Hewes through her course on statistics & waiting on her table.She secured a job for me with the United Hebrew Charities of New York,where I was to be a family case worker & live in the Christie Street settlement house on the Lower East Side.The job was to be permanent,but a week after the l923 Commencement I received a telegram "Would you accept position as department secretary & my assistant for two years? Letter follows.Wire reply at once.Amy Hewes."I wired acceptance & asked the United Hebrew Charities if they would accept me for summer work only.I did social work in the slums of the East Side & in the evenings taught citizenship for naturalization papers in exchange for board & room. In the morning I walked to Cherry Street to work.The men, women & children had matresses on the fire escapes to sleep & occupied them earlier in the evening to get a breath of cool outdoor air.Women hung laundry on the escapes.I had some photographs (stolen l993) of Christie Street showing the fire escapes crowded with people.As I walked back to the settlement house for lunch,I passed hundreds of pushcarts,which sold everything, usually just parked in the street up against the curb.There were very long thin Italian breads,pungent Italian cheeses & a large assortment of sausages-spaghetti & macaroni in every shape & size-I was amazed at the variety offered. Miss Minnie Edelshick,supervisor of family care work at the United Hebrew Charities in New York City gave me three families to care for-not new cases because I was scheduled to work there only two & a half months.One of my families consisted of a widow & her three children ranging in age from ten to four.Since she complained of stomach pains,my supervisor advised me to get advice at the free clinic for women held from ten to twelve each morning at the Bellevue Hospital.I gave the woman the trolley fare & told her to meet me at the clinic at ten o'clock the next morning,but she failed to appear.I went to her house (very small,dark tenement on Cherry Street) that afternoon-very hot-& she told me that by the time she had gotten the three children up & to the clinic it was closed.Also that her clock was old,unreliable=-that it was slow & she would not agree to meet me at the clinic the next morning because she couldn't see how she could get there on time.She told me that other women in that neighborhood had gone to that clinic repeatedly but had not received treatment because of the crowds.The next morning I went to her home at nine o'clock sharp, found the four of them in one bed,all sleeping in their stockings & underwear.The good-natured mother cooperated with me- they all got dressed-had a little bread & milk,& the four of us went off,by trolley car, to the Bellevue Hospital's free clinic for women where we arrived about ten fifteen. The receptionist gave us a card with a number on it,& we sat down in the waiting room, crowded with women & children pl77 I watched the hands of the clock as the time passed.My woman was patient & pleasant, but the three children were uncomforable & restless-& I don't blame them. About quarter to twelve,the receptionist announced that the doctors would take no more patients that day & told us to leave.I was hungry,hot discouraged & near tears,when I realized that the woman & her children were so much more bewildered than I was.I went alone toward the doctors' offices,& when I saw a woman emerge from one office at twelve o'clock,I just walked into find a young doctor taking off his white, starched robe, getting ready to leave.I asked him to examine my patient,explaining that I was a social worker who had waited the whole morning for service,& that the woman's three young children had waited too.He told me that he had just given two hours of free service to the clinic,wanted to go out to lunch & then to his own office.But I explained that the woman was in pain, told him I had gone to her house at nine that morning- & when I offered to take him out to lunch & pay for it if he would examine her,he smiled (that unbearably hot afternoon),put the white coat on again,& examined the woman.He gave me a prescription for medicine which he said should clear up an acid stomach condition, & I gave the woman the price of a trolley ride home.Then I asked him to take me to a very inexpensive restaurant because I did not know that neighborhood, always had lunch in my settlement house.-p178- and the truth was that I had less than two dollars in my pocket. Again this kindly doctor smiled, took me to a good nearby restaurant, ordered good lunches for two, encouraged me to talk about family case work and the settlement house, paid the bill and the tip, and listened patiently when I said the people were treated like cattle in the free clinics.[then] Consulting his watch, he said he was due at his office, and as we parted in front of the restaurant he remarked, "If I wasn't a married man and if you were not so young and attractive, I'd show you that New York is more than slums and free clinics. Bit if that medicine does not clear up Mrs. ----'s acid condition, I'll see her again at my office free of charge." So we parted, and I did not see him again as the woman's condition improved.I knew no one in New York. I had very little money to spend because I was in debt to Mount Holyoke College, so I spent many evenings just walkng along Broadway and Fifth Avenues looking in the shop windows and watching the people. One evening when I was having dinner in the Settlement House - deserted that hot August night- the cook told me that a young man was there to see me. He explained that he was graduated from Columbia Medical School in June - that he was a new intern at the Bellevue Hospital, that the doctor who had treated the woman and taken me to lunch was his cousin- and that his cousin suggested that he call on me. We had a pleasant visit, and he invited me to see the show"Seventh Heaven". Since I had never seen a Broadway musical comedy, I certainly enjoyed myself, and he took me to several shows and movies before I left New York just before Labor Day. -179- Although my path led into statistical research in the field of social work and I never returned to family case work, I always have - and still do - considered it of vital importance. {In notebook one p. 179 Emmanuel Lyons material follows here]. In the summer of l924 the day before my sister Bee married Sam Pollack in Hartford,my sister Esther saw me off for Detroit,where I was scheduled to work for the U.S. Children's Bureau in a study of retarded people who had attended special classes in Detroit's public schools.I lived with Mary Patterson's family. In September I returned to Mount Holyoke College,where I typed book lists,Miss Hewes's letters & the exams-where I was the Statistics lab asssistant,& studied Labor & Psychology & Criminology & in l925 received a Master's degree after oral exams & a thesis: "The Young Offender & the Law in Massachusetts. "Massachusetts innovated in l825, when Reverend Ward, a Rhode Island native, led an effort to segregate juvenile prisoners from hardened older criminals. Around l870 Massachusetts led an effort to reduce prison populations & rehabilitate offenders by supervised probations, and around l906 Judge Baker was active reforming juvenile courts & left money for reseach at a Judge Baker Foundation in Boston. I compiled an extensive bibliography and noted curious ecclesiastical crimes in colonial times. In June l925 working for the federal Children's Bureau I went from Mount Holyoke to Boston to work under Miss Channing,who was making a statistical study of delinquent children whose fathers had police records for drunkenness -she was working there temporarily transcribing at police headquarters information where children were being treated at Judge Baker foundation.We learned about Dr. Healy & Augusta Brenner- two well known personalities in the field of maladjusted children.For two weeks I lived in Dorchester on Canterbury Street with my sister Bee Pollack & her husband, Sam, and this was a chance for me to meet his parents & many of his brothers & sisters - a family of ten, who immigrated from Minsk, Belorussia between l905 & l909. Sam's grandmother Mrs.Hanapolsky led a large contingent when she was over ninety years old, as Sam Pollack's nephew describes in his historical novel, "Yonder is the Dawn," earliest of a sequence.A l920 Harvard Phi Beta Kappa graduate in chemistry in three years, Sam developed the formula for the sweet drink ZAREX & then worked at LaRoux liquers Philadelphia & later at Schenley Liquors in quality control at Cincinnati & later as a vice-president in New York,with an office in the Empire State Buiilding. Bertha & Sam left for a summer cottage on the Winthrop beach, where they rented a small room from a Boston dentist,had kitchen privileges,& ate on the porch. I rented a room at a Winthrop hotel, then was ordered to Washington DC to do statistical work.I was surrounded by congenial co=workers,& I could walk easily from my boarding house,which was a joy.The girls I worked with lived there&were friendly,& the food was excellent- especially the bacon, sausage & the corn fritters.But my Washington duty was very short-lived.Because Caroline Legge had recommended me as an investigator (I had worked for her all the summer of l924 in Detroit) Miss Nathalie Matthews in charge of Children's Bureau research,sent me to Dover,Delaware to investigate the tomato canneries there & in nearby towns.I received my regular salary plus a cost-of-living per diem rate-so financially I was better off that I had been in Boston or Washington.The Hotel Dover was a nice place to live ,but I was lonely.There were two other women investigators in the Dover job,but I saw nothing of them because they were close friends-older than I was & spent evenings in their own room writing up their reports onthe day's findings.The job itself was interesting.I could use public transportation or hire a taxi & be reimbursed.We were interested in the working conditions of the children-their ages,hours of work & wages.The canneries were out in the country as near the fields as possible.The canneries established camps & imported laborers,largely women & children,who sorted.washed & peeled tomatoes.They were engaged by scouts,who sent buses at the beginning of the season (in Delaware about July l5) & returned them home after September 30.When word got to the workers that the "inspector" was present,the children would flee while the women remained at their posts.But often I managed to enter the work rooms before the children got the word,so I saw many of them at work & interviewed many of the older children who then realized I was not there to harm them. Working conditions in Delaware were bad. Women & children stood many long hours on a soggy wet floor-their rubber aprons dripping with tomato juice.The tomatoes are sorted first to remove rotten or green ones,then sorted according to size & peeled before going to the sterilizing & canning machines. Many had cuts on their fingers from the sharp knives they had to use to peel & cut out rotten spots. When I asked one woman how she & her three children could sleep on the blanket that served as their bed in a tent,she answered, "We can't sleep good.It's too tight."We had no legal right at that time to inspect the canneries & talk to the women& children.The proprietors always admitted me.They feared Congress would forbid the employment of women & children in canneries that refused to allow Children's Bureau agents to enter. We always asked permission to go through the plant,& I was never refused.About the fifteenth of August I went to Indianapolis Indiana to inspect children's & womens labor in the corn canneries. My mother had had surgery in l92l for gall bladder cancer, which was mis-diagnosed for a long time, & it was too late to save her. She was told she had "adhesions."Her health gradually declined,though she enjoyed my Mount Holyoke graduation l923 & contined to feed & look after her husband & large family & regular guests, including Julius Aronson,whose mother had passed away,and an Irish boarder who used to sing.Her brother Jacob had some sort of speech problem-perhaps hearing related.He came with her from Austria via Hamburg in l890 or a little earlier, possibly with the Witkower family April l890. The Meiselmanns were also acquaintances from Brody.Judge Saul Seidman of Hartford is a Meiselmann descendant.After my mother passed away, my brother Ben furnished information that her parent's first names were Abel & Bertha, probably deceased before their children emigrated. After my mother's death September 8, l925 - for which I was completely unprepared, I was desperately lonely under the travel and working conditions as a child labor inspector for the Children's Bureau on the eastern shore of Maryland. My best friend there was a Goucher graduate Anne Starr Taylor, who had grown up in State College Pennsylvania. She had to write her child labor reports in the evening, and she was anxious to finish her assigned investigation as soon as possible, because she had an apartment in Greenwich Village at 27 Commerce Street in New York City, and she wanted to go back and find a job in the area. Impulsively I resigned my job and went home planning to take care of my widower father and brother Ben and two sisters Esther and Babe still living at home. In late 1925 for a time I became an unpaid maid, but I did cook the meals and keep the place clean. However, my evenings were a problem. Esther was not allowed to bring her non-Jewish boy friend Charlie Bardous to the house, though they had a serious relation many years and worked together as bookkeepers at the meat company, which became part of Swift and Company. Babe was nearly nineteen and recently out of high school and speding most evenings with her future husband Dr. Geetter, and my brother Ben was unwell. I had been away at college and at work so long [six years] that I had few close friends left in Hartford. [Classmate Joe Paonessa was losing a battle with tuberculosis]. I thought I owed it to my thesis advisor Miss Amy Hewes of Mount Holyoke College to explain why I had resigned the well-paid job she had gotten for me with the Children's Bureau, and I thought she would praise me for looking after my family. I was amazed by the speed with which she answered my letter.She advised me to employ a housekeeper at once and get out of there.She told me to go to New York City to see, by appointment,Miss Mary Augusta Clark, a [1903] Mount Holyoke College Graduate, Statistician for the Commonwealth Fund's Division of Mental Health, and also to see a man who wanted a statistician in the New York Association for Improving the condition of the Poor. I was offered both jobs and took the one with the Commonwealth Fund as Statistical Recorder in the Philadelphia [Demonstration] Child Guidance Clinic. When I wrote to my classmate Rebecca Glover Smaltz of Mount Airy, Pennsylvania to ask her to locate a temporary residence for me in a YWCA or in any inexpensive [p58,181 notebook one] l78 place, she answered immediately that she would meet me at the station in Philadelphia,& drive me to their home,where I could stay until I found permanent quarters.So I lived in their spacious home in Mount Airy, where Becky drove me to work in South Philadelphia every morning & drove me home at night. One evening we we went to hear thePhiladelphia Symphony orchestra-with Leopold Stokowski - the first symphony concert I ever attended. It was a wonderful Stokowski weekend.Although the Smaltzes were perfect hosts,who seemed in no hurry to have me leave,I kept searching for an inexpensive place to live.One of the students at the Child Guidance Clinic,Marion Pierce was living in a Settlement House in South Philadelphia within walking distance of the clinic,& as there was room for me there,I moved in,& received room & board in exchange for some evening tutoring of men about to apply for citizenship papers.Mine was a solitary job-I read records of problem children & made cards fom the records-cards to be used later in statistical studies of maladjustment.Our rooms in the settlement house were tiny.Social life was impossible there.There was no social or recreation room for thee residents.Most of the students living there had to study evenings when they were not on duty. When Josephine Dana & AgnesDrummond, who lived in the Settlement House & worked for the Children's Aid Society asked me to share an apartment with them,I was glad to. It was a small furnished apartment on Spring Garden Street;the three of us were congenial & tried to make it homelike.Josephine invited me to spend a weekend at her family home in Windsor, Vermont,where her elderly mother lived alone. Josephine hitched up the horse & buggy Saturday morning & drove it to a sale of cattle at which her two brothers were present,& they were among the bidders for the cattle auctioned. It was a new experience for me from beginning to end that I always remember wirth great pleasure. They were descendants of Richard Henry Dana author of the Pacific adventure "Two Years before the Mast." It was so interesting to listen to the auctioneer tell the cow's age,weight, when it freshened-milk production- & then listen to the bids.The bidding was lively & competitive. Another time -183-Josephine asked me if I'd like to go with her to Cape Cod for my week's summer vacation. She reserved a place for two at the private home of the Bearses in Centreville.The Bearses were very cordial old Cape Codders who gave us excellent food and played whist with us in the evening. We were within easy walking distance of Craig's Beach, one of the finest beaches in the world.On Saturday evening Walter Washburn drove to Centreville from Windsor,Vermont to visit with Josephine. -184- Soon after our return to Philadelphia, Josephine gave a tea at which Walter was present and at which she announced her engagement. After the party I left for Cleveland to work temporarily at the Cleveland Child Guidance Clinic to help clear up back statistical work piled up by the illness of their recorder. In that clinic I met two well-known psychiatrists, Drs. Carl Menninger and Dr. Lawson Lowry, who were friendly.I had a good time socially there, and when I left Dr. Lowrey, director of the Cleveland Clinic, gave me an unsolicited recommendation. When Josephine Dana married,Agnes Drummond and I continued on at the apartment. Another social worker - from the Children's Aid- joined us. Her name was Helen Goldsborough, and she came from the Deep South.She wanted to see New England in the winter, so Josephine invited Helen and me to spend a weekend in Windsor, Vermont. It was very pleasant, but Josephine gave us a large sled to use on a steep hill. Helen sat in front to steer and unfortunately steered it into a fallen log, throwing me from the sled and injuring my knee. Not long after moving into the apartment I had a telephone call from Carl Knitter,who was introduced to me by my former student at Mount Holyoke, Frances Manning, who became an economist.Carl was a Rutgers graduate attending Hahnemann Medical School, in his senior year.He was an avid fisherman, made his own colored flies for bait and often brought flies to the apartment for me to admire and brought his violin to play. We spent many pleasant evenings and weekends together, but my young sister Babe's boy friend Dr. Isadore Geetter warned me that the Hahnemann was a homeopathic medical school, not then recognized or accredited by most medical institutions such as Jefferson Medical School where he was then studying. After graduation from Hahnemann,Carl went to Oregon,to practice medicine and to fish. About a year later he wrote asking me to go out there and marry him. I refused. Not long after that he returned to New Jersey and telephoned inviting me to dinner at his parents' home. He had given up his practice because of violent headaches.Later I heard that he had died from a brain tumor. Jean Morton, of Morton Avenue, Morton, Pennsylvania,was Executive Secretary of the Child Guidance Clinic.Her father was a doctor. One evening she invited me to be her guest at a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan,in which both she & her father sang.I knew nothing of Gilbert & Sullivan but was charmed by that amateur production of "Pinafore." & have since attended many Gilbert & Sullivan productions,especially at Camp Kabeyun,,Alton Bay,New Hampshire in the l950's.Jean & I usually had lunch together at Hughes cafeteria, where I never tired of the egg salad sandwiches. The head of the Child Guidance Clinic,Dr.Allen,encouraged me to attend Dr. Strecker's class in psychiatry at the Pennsylvania Medical School.I attended without cost & learned a great deal from that well-known psychiatrist,who was conscientiously teaching young medical students.He usually had one or two mental patients from the Pennsylvania Hospital at the class to discuss their symptoms & treatment.Although I was a statistician, not a psychiatric social worker,Miss Almena Dawley,head of the department of social work in the clinic,gave me a real case to handle-from taking the application & the social history,to arranging for psychiatric interview & the psychological tests through carrying out the treatment measures.The child guidance clinics in Philadelphia,Cleveland,Baltimore & Los Angeles were two year Demonstration Clinics paid for by the Commonwealth Fund of New York & administered by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (also supported by the Commonwealth Fund).The Commonwealth Fund had the income of Mr. Harkness's thirty-eight million dollars to use "for the betterment of mankind."Each clinic had the services of two or three full time psychiatrists,two psychologists,six psychiatric social workers,an executive secretary, a statistical recorder,a telephone operator,& a staff of clerical & stenographic workers.The director of each clinic, a psychiatrist,had the responsibility of trying of trying to get the community to support a child guidance clinic after the demonstration clinic closed in two years.The Philadelphia clinic had a social worker & two students from the Smith School of Social Work in Northampton,Massachusetts.The clinic examined & treated children up to sixteen years of age= delinquent children & children who had personality difficulties & bad habits.These children were referred to the clinic either by their parents, by their school, by a social agency or by a juvenile court judge.A social worker investigated the family history & home & school conditions - a psychiatrist gave the child a thorough physical examination, a psychologist tested the child for I.Q., mental age,& school attainment,& the psychiatrist gave the child a careful psychiatric interview.Then there was a staff meeting of the social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist & chief social worker-also the statistical recorder, and the treatment of the child was initiated.Our Philadelphia clinic was taken over by the community on a reduced scale,& one of my Mount Holyoke classmates, Frances David, took over my job as statistical recorder as an unpaid volunteer. She had put together when we were undergraduates a collection of comic songs,"l923 College Crackers." Two I often sang for my family were: "I had a fat twin brother.We looked like one another.You ought to see the way he'd laugh At the lickings I would get. He tought it very funny To go & borrow money & watch the people chasing me do make me pay his debts.The girl I was to marry Couldn't tell us two apart.She went & married brother Jim & she nearly broke my heart.But you betcha I got even With my brother Jim.I died about a week ago & they went & buried. him." 2."Pull the shades down,Mary Ann,Pull the shades down Mary Ann-Last night by the pale moon light I saw you I saw you You were combing your auburn hair On the back of a Morris chair.If you want to keep your secrets from your future men, Pull the shades down,Mary A-aan." p.182] It was while I was working at the United Hebrew Charities l923 that I met Mr Emmanuel Lyons.He lived in Jersey City , commuted daily to his mid-Manhattan office, where he worked for an advertising firm. (He lost money publishing two books, "l00l Retailing Ideas" and its sequel "2222 Retailing Ideas") Lost photos showed me in deep snowdrifts February,l926 at his western New Jersey farm in Pittstown, New Jersey.The farm had two farm houses,one for the tenant farmer & one for Mr. Lyons & his guests.Each summer he offered the United Hebrew Charities a chance to send a family to live at his farmhouse, & on weekends he took a few social workers to the farm with him.One Friday afternoon I joined him at the railroad station with two other case workers.He paid our fare to Pittstown.where we walked from the station to the farm,where we had an abundance of fresh vegetables & milk & enjoyed good conversation at meals.It was a most welcome change after the heat & pavements of New York City,& when I wrote him a thank you note, he answered, ""For bread and butter you return cake." He became a close friend (much older) of both myself & my future husband Jack Barrett, especially when I returned to live in New York City in l927,l928, l929, in in l930 he selected my diamond ring after I hurriedly married two hours before Jack left for the Philippines.Mr Lyons visited in Philadelphia at 1927 New Year's Day, when we saw the mummer's parade, an annual Philadelphia tradition with huge numbers of festive floats. Becky Smaltz's paternal aunt "Auntie" invited me to [1926] Thanksgiving dinner at her home and also invited my brother Pete to come up from the University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore, where he was in his second year. "Auntie" Smaltz had an excellent cook and maid, and after dinner we were taken to a football game - my first "big college" game. While still in his first year at Medical School in Baltimore, my brother met his future wife, Jeanette Goldberg. Since he wanted me to know her, he invited me to a formal dance at his fraternity house - I wore my sister Babe's white formal gown with feathers at the bottom, and I stayed as a guest in Jen's home. I liked her and her family very much. I thought and still do that she should have attended that dance together. They were very much in love, and it was a real sacrifice for both of them not to be together [that evening]. {John Barrett note- earlier there is an account that spring 1925 Pete attended the Mount Holyoke Senior Prom with one of the Patterson girls of Detroit, at whose home Sophie lived summer 1924. Her fiance was too far away to attend, and Pete had an opportunity to see Mount Holyoke - this was in the year prior to meeting Jen. In the summer of 1927 -184-185- I transferred to New York City to Miss Clark's office on Forty-Second Street near Fifth Avenue. I was then in Publications. We worked on statistical data for the Division of Mental Hygiene of the Commonwealth Fund. My research at the Philadelphia Demonstration Clinic was the basis of Miss Clark's book "Statistical Reporting Techniques for Child Guidance Clinics". Although we remained good friends, and my assistance was acknowledged in the introduction, I did not get formal credit, and it was largely my work. I was unable to use the material as a subject for a doctoral thesis at Columbia University as I had planned, because they considered the material had already been published under Miss Clark's name.I also assisted on other projects, including proof-reading a textbook "The Problem Child at Home" by another author, who was grateful for the many typographical and other mistakes I removed. For a few days I occupied the apartment of one of Miss Clark's friends in Brooklyn, but the friend was returning Monday, and I had to leave. I remembered that Anne Taylor, who had worked with me on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, said she had an apartment in New York. I found her in the telephone book Saturday evening, and when I telephoned to ask her if she knew of a place where I might live, she said she could not think of one at that moment but that she would come out to see me in Brooklyn right way and bring her date with her.She came with Ivan McCormack,and when she heard my predicament,she explained that she had a small apartment with only two bedrooms- one very small. She occupied the large bedroom- her sister Eleanor occupied the small bedroom, and her sister Betty slept on a couch in the lving room.But she helped me pack that evening,saying that I could sleep in the bed with her until we found a suitable place for me. Anne worked as Executive Secretary of the Joint Vocational Service. As Anne was to be married in two weeks, Eleanor a schoolteacher and Betty a nurse moved into a tiny apartment on Twelfth Street.I liked it with Anne at 27 Commerce Street, Greenwich Village, and didn't diligently search for a place to live. Anne married, went off on her honeymoon,and when she returned I was comfortably located in Eleanor's [former] small bedroom, and Anne agreed to let me stay there for half the rent- just the room and use of the bathroom- no food and no kitchen privileges. I was very glad to stay there. Soon after Agnes Drummond called me up inviting me to join her and two men for dinner.Her -186- dinner partner was an old friend from her home in St. Louis, while my dinner partner was Bill Nuremberg, a lumber salesman with an office in the Grand Central Terminal Building.My loneliness then came to an end. Bill's office was very near mine, so we had lunch together every noon- a much better lunch than I could afford.Often we had dinner together, and every Sunday he drove me over Storm King Highway to an inn where we enjoyed dinner and then drove home in his big Packard.Bill N'irnberg (Nuremberg) owned a moving picture camera & wasted many expensive films & much time taking my picture. He ws everlastingly telling me to act natural & was very critical of my dress,which he considered too short & too stylish.He hung a sheet in Anne's apartment,where he showed us his movies.He lived at the McAlpin Hotel. But Miss Clark moved her office to Fifty-Seventh Street into the quarters of the division of Publications of the Commonwealth Fund and took me with her- too far away for me to have daily lunch with Bill,although I continued to see him every Sunday and had dinner with him two nights a week.Miss Clark was writing a book "Reporting and Recording for Child Guidance Clinics". I wrote the first draft of nearly every chapter of that book because I had the first hand knowledge of the subject from my work in the Philadelphia and Cleveland Clinics.Miss Clark re-wrote the material in her own style, and the book was ready for publication in June 1928. Miss Clark had written the book at the suggestion of one of the first statistical public health epidemiologists, actuary Dr. Louis Dublin of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, who made early contributions to understanding tuberculosis, industrial safety, and venereal diseases. From time to time as I was working on the book, the Commonwealth Fund loaned me to the New York Board of Education to advise them on records too.I also served as chairman of the committee investigating the qualifications of New York Social Workers [and developing standards]= a study being made for Walter West of the New York Association of Social Workers and for Ralph Hurlin of the Russell Sage Foundation.Harry Hopkins was a valuable member of my committee. He was then working at the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor in New York City. I began to wonder what I was going to do next, but Miss Clark was ahead of me in planning for me.Unknown to me she had interviewed Mr. [Taylor?] Smith, director of the Commonwealth Fund; and had interested him in me so that they offered to pay my salary and my tuition for the summer session of 1928 at Columbia University, - and when the summer was over I was to be a statisticain at the Institute of Child Guidance in New York, operated by the Commonwealth Fund. So I entered summer school, registered for a Ph.d and took courses in Advanced Statistics and Social Science. Anne Taylor had a young friend Harold Nelson, who came to the apartment nearly every evening lookng for a bridge game.Anne told me that Harold was the brother of her social worker friend Marie Nelson,who came from Charleston, South Carolina,and was now Mrs. Harman Rowe of Philadelphia.One Saturday afternoon late in August 1928 I was at home in my room studying for a final exam Monday morning. Anne told me that she expected Marie Nelson Rowe and Jack Barrett that afternoon- just for the afternoon, as Marie and "Barrett" expected to join another couple for dinner and the evening.-188- "Barrett" was an old friend of the Nelson family from his Naval duty in Charleston, South Carolina in the early 1920s on the USS TOUCEY. Ordinarily I would never be at home on a Saturday afternoon in New York City,but I was determined to study all weekend for the two courses,as the exams were on the following Monday & Tuesday.So I took off my street clothes after lunch (out- as I took no meals with the McCormacks with whom I lived .I put on a deep red, long kimono sent to me by a Mount Holyoke college friend who made it for me,and I told Anne McCormack that I planned to spend the afternoon in my room working on my course.Anne then told me that she expected her friend Marie Nelson from Philadelphia at any moment, because Marie was to meet "Barrett" there & go out with him later for dinner & for the evening.Hardly had I begun to work when when Anne came in to tell me I had a male caller,and she was immediately followed by "Van" - husband of one of my social worker acquaintances. I was surprised to see him,,as he had never called before, & neither he nor his wife were particular friends of mine.Also I was embarassed to be caught wearing a kimono as I rarely stopped long enough to put one on.He explained that his wife was on vacation ((like Irving Berlin's l9l0 "My wife has gone to the country=hurray,hurray! She thought it best I take a rest & so she went away.") -& that he had a bottle of Prohibition whiskey,which he would be glad to share with me. When I explained that I did not drink,I thought that he would leave,but he was lonesome & lingered without drinking or urging me to drink.As we talked,Marie arrived-I had never seen her,& a little later I heard them greet "Barrett."When Van finally decided to leave,I walked to the door with him at the exact moment that Marie & Barrett arrived at the door to depart,&I saw a beautiful Charleston (South Carolina) belle attended by a sweet looking slender redhaired man.Neither one spoke to me as they followed Van out.Van had wasted most of my afternoon & it was hot,so I went off for a walk & had my dinner before returning home for a little serious studying in my hot room.On Sunday morning I slept late,donned an old cotton dress & decided to sweep the kitchen floor about noon-anything to keep from settling down to study. As I was sweeping,the doorbell rang,& I called,"Come in."In stepped Barrett, amused to see me sweeping the floor, but I merely said to him,"Anne & Ivan are not home."Whereupon he told me that he was calling on me &that I seemed to be very much at home. Desperately I told him how pressed I was for time,how embarassed I would be if I failed those two courses,but he calmly sat down in the kitchen & took out his wallet & showed me a picture of a child about five years old, saying, "This is my baby."I was surprised, as I believed he was courting Marie Nelson,& I said,"I didn't know you were married." He said,"I'm not married,but this is an Australian child,Sheila Craig.whom I knew in l925 whe I made the Australian cruise on the Marblehead,& I have kept in touch with Dr Craig & his family ever since."He visited for some time,& when I inquired about Marie,he said she had gone back to Philadelphia.Nothing would get him out of that apartment as he insisted I would have to have Sunday dinner somewhere, sometime-so why not with him? after which I would be free to study.Whe I told him I believed he was courting Marie,he told me that Marie was married,separated from her husband,but not free to marry anyone.Barrett was living uptown at the Knights of Columbus Hotel. he was in his second year at Fordham Law School uptown campus.In the early fall of l928 I saw little of Jack. I returned to work & steady dating of Bill Nuremberg,who had spent most of the summer in Europe, which explained why I was free to go to dinner with Barrett that Sunday afternoon. But occasionally Barrett dropped into the apartment about ten o'clock at night after school & once or twice took me to dinner but complained bitterly that he couldn't spare the time from his studies to entertain me at night.So he began to appear at the subway exit nearest my office before nine most mornings, would walk to the office with me & then telephone to me during the morning to make a luncheon date. .One weekend early that fall Bill Nuremberg told me he planned on doctor's advice to spend the weekend in bed because of an ulcer.I spent the weekend with Frances Manning (Mount Holyoke l925) in Maplewood New Jersey & returned to New York after dinner Sunday evening.As I was close to Bill's hotel,I telephoned to ask if he was well enough to have me call on him,& Bill said"Yes." His tone was not cordial-his greeting was not enthusiastic,& before I could ask him how he was, he complained that someone named Barrett had telephoned twice to try to find me & wanted me to telephone him. After a short visit,I went home,& Anne also told me Barrett wanted me to call him.It was eleven o'clock.On the telephone I said, "This is Sophie,"- he sleepily replied,"What do you want?"I told him both Bill & Anne said he wanted me to telephone,but he was just too sleepy to make conversation.In December or January Barrett moved into a small sixty-dollar-a-month apartment very close to me at 48 Commerce Street.He shared it with a mouse,which he rarely saw but which certainly lived there,because it always helped itself to peanuts Jack kept in a copper bowl. The mouse would leave the empty peanut shells. About the only furniture besides the couch was a set of nested carved Chinese tables from the Jack's Shanghai visit on the MARBLEHEAD in 1927. One afternoon he telephoned to say he was feeling too poorly to go to school that night & wanted to meet me in front of my apartment, that evening at 5:30 so we could eat dinner in the Village & he could go to his hotel room to bed.So we met as arranged, & as we stood there discussing where to dine,Bill (Nuremberg) drove up in his big car & had a male guest in his front seat. Evidently Bill planned to take me to dinner,but when he saw me talking to Barrett,he stepped on the gas & took off fast, & after more than a year of dating I never saw Bill again.Jack had tried to be friendly. My father had called on Bill & liked him, but I considered him too old to be a good marriage for me. One time he gave me an excellent investment idea: he asked for a thousand dollars to buy me stock in General America Insurance Company & returned half, as it was fully subscribed. The name of the company was later changed to Safeco of Seattle.I held the stock, which in the l960's suddenly soared in value. My initial five hundred dollar investment was sold for over thirty-two thousand dollars in l972. (A l976 letter to Ivan McCormack says that Sophie's father opposed marriage of his daughters outside the Jewish faith.Sophie's sister Esther for many years had a very happy romance with a fellow accountant at Swift & Company Hartford. but "Pa" Meranski would never let him come to the house at Wooster Street. His opposition would not have prevented Esther's marriage, except for the fact that his elderly mother was highly dependent & possessive & feared any interference with her relation with her son.Her objection was not religious - she lived to a considerable age, & Esther had a long friendship with the son but never married.She lived with her brother Abe's family on Hawkins Street for many years & after World War II with the Geetters when they moved to 92 Fern St. & Babe had five young children to look after with a busy doctor husband(David l933) Albert l935 Thalia l938 Harold l940 Suzanne l942.) Pa Meranski often came to New York to buy merchandise for his grocery, & one time he was robbed of considerable cash after visiting his son Pete & wife Jen in Baltimore in l929 or l930.He often stopped to see me, I that time I had to lend him money to get home. Jack had sinus trouble & trouble with his tonsils & planned to enter the Navy Hospital in Brooklyn for surgery.To my amazement he gave me a copy of his will in which he bequeathed to me the proceeds of his ten thousand dollar government life insurance policy.It was unbelievable.But he had the surgery & I visited him in the hospital.One night he was very uncomfortable because he was propped up too high with two pillows - the extra pillow was placed there for supper, buit the nurse forgot to remove it later - but he had good results & relief of his sinus difficulties.One of Jack's professors was John F.X. Finn. The proximate cause doctrine in torts was a subject of active study, as the New York courts had severely restricted plaintiffs' rights. Judges Carzozo & Cuthbert Pound were influential. Ivan McCormack in later years sent us news of some of Jack's law school friends, especially Joe Brill, who once tried to date me, =in later years he was associated with Roy Cohn. Another classmate John Papp, helped us find an excellent apartment overlooking the Narrows in southwest Brooklyn in September l939.Late in l928 when I chaired a committee on standards for social workers in New York City for an American social workers' association, I got to know Harry Hopkins (Roosevelt friend), who took a great interest & did a lot of work.Ann Taylor McCormack my friend and landlady kept in touch with him for many years.She was with Travelers Aid later, Ivan eventually bought a pig farm in Salem, New York, near Arlington, Vermont, where John visited Anne & Ivan in June, l97l) Although I no longer dated Bill,I had other escorts & often came home to find that Barrett had preceded me & left a note inviting me to a late supper.I usually accepted,but then he complained bitterly I was using up his time & his grades were suffering.On Saturday nights we went to movies in the Village & once he took me to a long play on Broadway "Strange Interlude" but most nights he went to Fordham's law school campus school far up in the Bronx - the school declined to let him transfer his second year to their Manhattan campus-and he studied long hours as he seriously wanted to be a lawyer- probably a Navy lawyer in the Judge Advocate's office.Jack's work in New York was concerned with War Plans & the training of Reserves,& he often went off to nearby communities & to Washington,New Haven & even to Hartford, where he called on my father & my brother Abe & became acquainted with most members of my family..When in Washington DC he addressed a letter to me which he mailed with only my name & "27 Commerce." No city at all was on the envelope,but I received it in a few days. I accused him of drinking,but he said he had been interrupted when addressing the envelope & then failed to complete it.(He liked to quote the opening of Oliver Wendell Holmes "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table": "I was just going to say-when I was interrupted. At the Institute of Child Guidance my work was too simple and routine, although my salary in 1928-1929 was seventy-five a dollars a week. It was a small statistical office with only a director and another girl who planned to go on working after marriage., I was there only a few weeks when I received a telephone call from Mary Langhead, a social worker I had known in the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic,-who told me that she was working in Macy's and that there was an opening for me as Director of Personnel Research . I went at noon to see Mr. Walker, the Personnel director,- later Sales Manager at Macy's, and I was hired. I had two excellent assistants, Ms Willie Kennedy and Mildred Forman - also a labor turnover clerk who was most efficient. My primary concern was labor turnover - how to reduce it and keep the figure low. After Jack left for the orient, Willie Kennedy sublet his apartment, and I attended her 1930 marriage to Marshall Verniaux. Anne and Ivan kept in touch with them up to the 1970s. They also kept track of our friend Jimmy Jemail, who wrote the "Inquiring Reporter" column for the New York Post and became an editor there. Willie Kennedy visited me in Boston in 1932 when Macy's sent her to brief Filene's executive Lincoln Kirstein on the methods we had developed to improve employee motivation and reduce turnover. When Jack's orders came through in May l929 for duty on the destroyer Truxtun in the Philippines,he asked the Navy for a year's delay so that he could complete his law course,which he was taking at his own expense.But the Navy refused,& Jack was so upset he tried to get a civilian job with the Department of Labor & applied to Frances Perkins (a Mount Holyoke alumna later President Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor),but she had no opening for him at the time.With his full time job with the Reserves & his evening law course & his effort to compete with my "dates", the man was fully occupied & now knew he was scheduled for two-and-a-half to three years sea duty in the Orient.He went over to Philadelphia to see Marie Nelson one weekend. On Sunday June 9, l929 I went alone to Baltimore to attend the wedding of my youngest brother Pete,who had just been graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School.Pete & my youngest sister Babe's fiance Dr. Isadore Geetter had been classmates at Hartford Public High School l9l7-l92l, where Pete was active in debating, & at Trinity College l92l-25, where Pete was graduated l925,but for some reason his picture appeared in l926 yearbook. He was active many years in Trinity Maryland alumni. In l925 Pete visited Mount Holyoke college as senior prom escort for one of the Patterson sisters from Detroit,because her fiance was too far away to attend.(I had stayed at their parents' home summer l924 when I worked there for Children's Bureau U.S. Department of Labor.) On the train going up to Hartford for the wedding Sunday June l6 of my youngest sister "Babe" (Rebekah} to Dr.Isadore Geetter, who had just graduated from Jefferson Medical Schhol & was to study anesthesiology,we were greeted by Mary Woolley the l90l-l937 president of Mount Holyoke College, who was widely traveled as a speaker & one of the ten most admired women in the country according to polls. She had made an extended visit to China in l922 & later was appointed by President Herbert Hoover to a naval disarmament delegation of the United States at Geneva. Miss Woolley recognized & greeted me as I had been junior faculty l923-5 in the Statistics lab, Department of Economics & Sociology. Jack had met many of my Mount Holyoke friends during our ten months acquaintance, & he remarked to Miss Woolley, "These Mount Holyoke women are wonderful- you could put them all in a bag & pick any one, & you'd do all right."Miss Woolley replied,"That isn't a very INDIVIDUAL compliment for Sophie." Babe & Geetter had a wedding reception at "the Shack" (Snug Harbor)- a property near the FarmingtonRiver in Windsor, which my brothers Ben & Abe & their friend Julius Aronson then owned, & which the Geetters later kept in the family.Besides Jack & myself, the guests included the large Geetter family,of which Dr.Geetter was the eldest son, my brother Harry & his wife Sade (Taylor),and their son Arthur & daughter Pearl, my brother Abe & his wife Ethyle (Berenson) & their son Ted & their friend Julius Aronson,my sister Esther, my sister Bertha & her husband Samuel Pollack, a l920 Phi Beta Kappa Harvard alumnus in chemistry and their young son Jason & my newly-wed youngest brother Pete & his new wife Jen Goldberg of Baltimore,whose family had helped Pete greatly at University of Maryland in Baltimore.They were on their honeymoon. Jack was scheduled to leave New York for Chicago & San Francisco on Friday June 2l, so when he was at my sister's wedding, he invited my brother & his bride to have dinner with him at Longchamp's Restaurant on Fifth Avenue on Thursday evening June 20,as Pete & Jen had theatre reservations for that evening in New York City..We had a pleasant dionner,& when Pete & Jen left,Jack & I walked the few blocks to my apartment building when he said goodbye as he was leaving the next afternoon & still had a lot of packing "I'll be at your office at noon sharp to take you to lunch before I shove off at three."I had recently changed jobs & became Director of Personnel Research at Macy's stores at 34th Street.Jack came into my private office as my assistants were out to lunch that Friday noon..Without a word of warning he asked,"Will you marry me?" Unknown to me he had previously obtained a marriage license, listing his occupation as "seaman." He told me about the vicissitudes of the service for the wife of a Navy line officer, saying he liked the life at sea, but that frequent separations were hard on many wives and that he had seen the marriages of some very fine Navy line couples founder on the rocks, principally because the wife had to make so many adjustments.If she had a profession or a job, she couldn't readily follow him from station to station, and if she gave up her job, she had too much leisure. Also if she refused invitations to social events when he was at sea,the Navy wife suffered intolerable loneliness. He warned too that Naval officers pay was very moderate and that his expenses for white uniforms and for blue uniforms were prohibitive. Even more important than any of these causes was the uncertainty of the line officer's promotion and his ultimate retired pay.But he did say a Navy wife could have a lot of fun and adventure if she had the right attitude and zest for adventure.Though he candidly discussed many frustrations and problems in the lives of Navy wives,he convinced me to marry him,& I made no reply except to suggest that we go to lunch.We went to the Hotel McAlpin. Suddenly he got up,paid the waiter,took me by the hand. It was 1:30 in the afternoon, and he was to leave for Chicago by train at three p.m. to make connections already reserved for San Francisco, where he had to sail on the NITRO for Manila on June 25. We rushed off into the subway for New York City Hall, where we were married about two o'clock, with two strange passersby as witnesses. Then Jack rushed for the subway for the railroad station, arriving at 2:45. He had to get his suitcase and spent a few moments telephoning his brother at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York. He told Bill that he was leaving for China but did not say he was married. As he emerged from the booth, the porter was yelling "Last call for the three o'clock train for Chicago". Jack grabbed his bag and rushed off.He left without a kiss or even a handshake. I returned to Macy's secretly Mrs. John B.Barrett. I did not see him again for for nearly seventeen months,until November l3,l930 at Chingwantao in desolate North China, near Manchuria,(& when I finally arrived there, he told me that his ship would sail again at crack of dawn the next day for several weeks of fleet maneuvers.)Dazed after Jack left New York.I took a walk around and then returned to my office, where I said no word about my marriage until I resigned in August,l930.But my younger sister Babe read in the Hartford paper that I had married a seaman named Barrett,& they sent best wishes.Romantic-no! But after we really joined forces,life was one long romantic adventure,I would do it again if given the choice. So my sister in Hartford knew I was married,but very few of my friends in New York knew of the marriage except Anne and Ivan and Mr.Lyons. People asked me for dates - I declined to date Jack's law school classmate Joe Brill,- but a young dentist persuaded me to have Thanksgiving dinner 1929 at his mother's home. The lady took a liking to me and tried to promote a romance, so I cut back on accepting social invitations. In my work at Macys, I had considerable contact with Jesse Straus & one of his brothers,who together managed the store at that time. They advised & assisted New York governor Franklin Roosevelt on many projects.Their parents Mr. & Mrs. Isador Straus were victims of the sinking of the TITANIC in l9l2 when Mrs. Straus would not go in a lifeboat without her husband, & he refused to take a seat from young women & children.A sister of my Mount Holyoke l922 friend Harriet Cogswell was working at Macy"s & corresponded with Harriet who was teaching at Gin=Ling missionary college Nanking & later married consular diplomat Paul Meyer.Jack Barrett later met Harriet & her fiance when the destroyer TRUXTUN was at Nanking on Yangtze River patrol in February-March l930,. & the TRUXTUN officers were guests at the American embassy.One of Harriet's students Dr. S.Y. Hu later did Ph.d work at Radcliffe on hollies & became Harvard's herbarium curator of Chinese plants for many years & wrote widely on Hong Kong flora,daylilies, & Chinese food plants & the rediscovered Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Harriet's sister in l980's gave Mount Holyoke College twelve boxes of historically interesting photos of Chinese live in l920's & l930's. mainly around Nanking & Peking.In May l930 the New York Times published an extended article on the personnel policies of Macy's stores. The main objective was to increase efficiency by reducing employee turnover.The report quoted psychologist Dr. V.V.Thompson on the effort to match the employee talents to the job & not "put a round peg in a square hole."
Year: 1999