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


99-1455 This may be the Asian deodoar cedar of Himalayas genus Cedrus I thought it was the native western larch Larix deciduous in its mountain habitat there is a convergence in short shoot structure but these trees are widely planted and evergreen in Oly
photo at Forks high School ++++ from web p 79-1287 + 8 Liangs visit T-U-L-S-A 1287w p 79 CHINAchapter +photo captions We invited the Liangs to dinner -just Mr. and Mrs. Liang and Grace. The mess steward had given the word when Mr. Liang would be aboard for dinner, and when we approached the ship that evening we had difficulty getting aboard because of the crush of Chinese people on the dock hoping to get a glimpse of Mr. Liang. Since Grace left soon after to be married in Shanghai we never saw her again. We understand that she has been teaching in Connecticut at the Central Connecticut State College, New Britain, Connecticut.--Altho the Court Hotel was reputed to have the best food in North China. food was definitely a problem because we dared not touch milk, butter, fresh vegetables or Chinese grown fruits.My husband grew tired of the steady diet of rice and snipe but managed to wash it down with liquids. I lived on toast with marmelade,rice, snipe, pot roast, cooked dessets and tea. Captain and Mrs. Rice occupied a furnished house and most graciously invited us to dinner fortnightly. When we wanted to return their hospitality and to entertain the new Executive Officer and his wife, Lieutenant Commander and Mrs. Leonard Doughty, we invited them to the Court Hotel for dinner.One evening Rachel Claude Doughty, who came from Washington D.C. regaled us with tales of her mother's friend who came to the Claude home in Washington and stayed for forty years. The Court Hotel was the home of several Hai Ho River pilots mostly of English extraction. Mrs. Johnson, English and the wife of a pilot, invited me to go to Schlessinger's Tea House with her about eleven o'clock one morning late in December. She invited us to attend a costumed New Year's Eve Ball at the Tientsin Country Club, of which we were members, saying she hoped we would understand that we would have to pay our share of the cost. My husband and I had matching costumes made of inexpensive blue and white Chinese silk- ad we enjoyed the pilots who remained friendly throughout our stay. --Not long after new Year's I was sitting in the small reception room in the Court Holtel after tiffen when two men sat down, talking. When I realized that they were Americans, I asked them what they wre doing in Tientsin, and they said they were taking a train later that afternoon for Manchuria, where they would buy furs.When I said I had never been as cold as I was on the streets of Tientsin, they offered to buy some skins for me, as they expected to be back in Tienstin in a few weeks. When they returned they had for me enough sea otter skins for a gorgeous coat.The cost was small - the coat warm and bewautiful. It was made up by a Chinese tailor. Sea otter is a lustrous light grey skin.--As time passed that winter and spring I became well known to the Chinese and Japanese shopkeeppers on Taku and Victoria Roads. I bougt some rare dragon and turtle candlesticks of brass,some 48- red and green Chinese lacquer drums, which served as small tables and through Mrs. Mendelsohn U located a lovely black and gold lacquer Chinese chest with inlaid colored semi-precious stones arranged in patterns. I also shopped for linens at Takahashi Japanese linen store.--The TULSA was scheduled to go to Chefoo fir gunnery exercises in June and my husband as gunnery officer was anxious to make a good showing.So in the spring of l931 on the TULSA in Tientsin he spent a lot of time training gunners.His Marine officer Lieutenant William W. Paca was training his Marines to shoot and was working hard with my husband.Captain Rice was very pleased with the gunnery score they made din Chefoo in the summer of l931 text continues in Notebook Two with account of Sophie's trip to Chefoo and Shanghai -= end of page 48 notebook PIOCTURE CAPTIONS p 17 Tientsin China winter l931 Sophie is wearing Manchurian fur coat. The fur buyers later brought news of the Japanese capture of Mudken, which Sophie telephoned to Captain Rice and the navy with first report.Paul Rice, who cmmanded gunboat TULSA l930-l932 at Tientsin lived to age 95 to l98l, and Gertrude born Dec. 3, l893 Juneau Alaska,. lived to age l02 1/2 to late July l996. Her daughter Nathalie is Mrs. Vernon Hawley, Saint Helena, California Sophie Meranski Barrett at Court Hotel preparing for New Year's party at Tientsin Country Club Dec. l931 Court Hotel was operated by an Australian lady Ms Moore in British Concession Tientsin on Elgin Avenue. Sophie watched rug making at Nichols factory in Russian concession to the north - then bought Chinese rugs at outlet in Peking.Nov. l931.Sophie got in touch with Mount Holyoke Club of North China - Mrs. Faison Jordon helpd make the contact with Mrs. Evans of the club, and Sophie's l925 student Grace Liang was daughter of diplomat and customs- railroad official M.T. Liang, who was Jack Barrett's guest with his wife for dinner aboard gunboat TULSA - a rare honor for a Chinese in l931.Sophie met American writer Nora Waln and her British husband who ran the Tientsin post office. The British chief of Police Mr. Isemonger and his daughter Tina were frequent visitors at the Court Hotel. Sophie had a pretty white rabbit-fur coat she bought in Shanghai, but it shed too much fur on Jack's uniform so she discarded it. During her trip she carefully studied Emily Post's "Etiquette" book to prepare for the formal entertainment and correspondence expected of navy Wives.One TULSA wife Rachel Claude Doughtie told how her mother's Maryland family the Claudes had a visitor who " came for the weekend and stayed for forty years.#136 p 17 CAPTION p 46 w1002 Jack at Court Hotel At lower right is a shiny, round table-like object, which Sophie referred to as a "drum." She believed they were made of some sort of durable heavy paper. The Barretts purchased a pair of these while in Tientsin 1930-1931 and had them in their living rooms with the Chinese rugs first at 422 Columbia Road, Dorchester, Boston 1932-3; then at Stradone Road, Bala Cynwyd near Philadelphia l937-8, 9615 Shore Road Brooklyn 1939-l941 and at 52 Emmonsdale Road, West Roxbury from Thanksgiving Day l947 when they moved in, until Chinese materials were stolen in l976.Information on the style or history of these and other Chinese furniture will be welcome. p 18 w137 rickshaw Chefoo w 138 sea otter coast Peking w139 Tientsin Country Club After l993 thefts of desks, bureaus, furniture, books and papers in West Roxbury l993, this is the only remaining photo of an outstanding group taken by Mr. Isemonger spring l931 at Tientsin Country Club. He arrived at Tientsin after the Barretts early l931 probably from India and became chief of police in British concession of Tientsin, where Court Hotel was located.He was a frequent luncheon visitor to the Court Hotel, sometimes accompanied by his daughter Tina.He was frequently helpful to both Jack and Sophie, obtaining bottled drinking water for Sophie to take aboard a commercial freighter on which Sophie followed the TULSA south on its l931 Asiatric Fleet annual cruise, but this was one of a number of situations where Sophie found it necessary as a newly married young Navy wife to avoid too much close contact with unmarried men, where European and American women were few in number. Nonetheless the loss of the Tientsin Country Club photos was a great disappointment, and also a group of photos of Sophie taken at Yamamoto studios Tientsin. p 18 #139 p 64 w1160 rickshaw Chefoo from negative 1931--p 37 w924 Dec 31,1930 -December 31, l930 detail of costume party Teintsin country club - Jack at left - Sophie at right - lady between unidentified. Sophie wore a rabbit's-fur jacket she had bought at Shanghai- she liked it until she found it was shedding fur on Jack's blue Navy uniform, so this New Year's party at Tientsin Country Club was the last time she wore it.Friends in Tientsin included Paul, Gertrude and Nathalie Rice, Army Dr. and Mrs. Mendelssohn, Mr. and Mrs. "Bunny" Warren, Mrs. Evans of Mount Holyoke Club of north china, Grace Liang Mount Holyoke 1925 ( later Mrs. Dan Yapp), and Grace;s father and mother of Elgin Avenue- Mr. eismonger - chief of police in British concession -a Danish gentlman who collected Chinese coins- American fur buyers who brought first word of Japanese aggression at Mukden Manchuria September 19, l931, Narine |William W. Paca of TULSA, Cdr. and Mrs. Leonard & Rachel Doughty and Dr. Supan of TULSA. Elsewhere in China Barretts saw William Rupertus |US Marine corps in Peking, Chaplain William Maguie at Chefoo, sisters Maimie and Mickey Ashley and their adopted Chinese daughter at Shanghai. --p 36 w918-"Center of Universe" Peking #918 -Sophie visited Peking twice, February 1931 as tourist and November 1931 when Jack proceeded there for physical examination for promotion to Lieutenant Commander. That autumn he studied for the p[romotion exam, and was helped by exceptionally favorable fitness report from gunboat TULSA's Commander Paul Rice, based in part on outstanding performance of the ship in Asiatic Fleet annual gunnery competition near Chefoo in summer 1931- Jack Barrett was TULSA gunnery officer and worked with Marines under William W. Paca, later Commander of Camp Caitlin Oahu l944-l946. At PekingSophie met Marine William Rupertus, who had recently lost wife and daughter with scarlet fever. Rupertus was working on gunnery problems, and Jack had several visits with his former Revenue Cutter School ITASCA shipmate during 1930 and 1931.-p 29 w863 The Gunboat TULSA was "the northernmost ship of the Asiatic Fleet, kept in North China for intelligence purposes, Jack Barrett used to say. Its normal station was on the Hai Ho river at Tientsin. In November l930 and spring l931 it put to sea to participate in Asiatic Fleet maneuvers, and in the spring of l931 when Jack Barrett was Gunnery officer and William Paca in charge of Marines, the TULSA won fleet gunnery competition. Colmmander Rice delayed the November l930 sailing of the TULSA one day so Jack Barrett could meet Sophie on her November 13 arrival after a three month Pacific voyage on big Navy transport HENDERSON. This photo was taken near Chefoo during a picnic about June 1931.Paul Rice l886-l981 was an Annapolis classmate of Hawaii governor Samuel Wilder King, the first native Hawaiian to attend the Naval Academy, and of Floyd Sexton, who became a Coast Guard Admiral, World War II. His wife Gertrude was born Dec. 3, l893 in Juneau Alaska and lived to age 102 and a half to July l996. Their daughter Nathalie is Mrs. Vernon Hawley, St. Helena, Napa Valley California. CAPTIONS CHINAchapter 1931 cave Chefoo w 1288 p 80 Sophie traveled on commercial freighter along with Gertrude and Nathalie Rice and Rachel Doughtie when gunboat T-U-L-S-A joined Asiatic Fleet annual maneuvers and gunnery competition late spring -early summer 1931 Sophie used to sing the Navy song "They Wear Clothespins on their noses in North China They wear clothespins on their noses in north China- They wear clothespins on their noses For Chefoo doesn't smell like roses - They wear clothespins on their noses in North China." There were goats immediately outside her window at the Wineglass boarding house in Chefoo, as accomodations were scarce while the Asiatic Fleet was gathered for spring l931 gunnery and maneuvers, in which Jack's gunboat TULSA won the fleet competition - he was gunnery officer aided by Marine Lt. William Paca. Paul Rice was commander of the TULSA.Sophie was grateful to Chaplain William Maguire for finding her a place to stay - Chefoo was crowded because of the big Fleet visit-, -Father Maguire later played a heroic role at Pearl Harbor December 7, l941, though he remained a non-combatant, and the legend he fired a gun at Japanese airplanes is fictitious. He visited the Barretts in Waikiki and described the work of Jack's Overseas Transportation Office in his l943 book, "The Captain Wears a Cross." As a new Navy wife Sophie studied Emily Post's "Etiquette" text carefully. She gave a party to celebrate the TULSA's victory in gunnery. The wife of theExecutive officer complained about being seated too near the candles -she said "Candlelight does not become me." Rachel Claude Doughtie used to tell a tale of a visitor who came to see her mother's Maryland family for the weekend and stayed for forty years.Sophie Barrett and Gertrude Rice took a small Chinese rowboat to shore in Weihaiwe to buy fine teasets ornamented with pewter.They nearly were stranded, with difficulty returning to their southbound British freighter. -p 8 w62 popular tourist cave Shantung peninsula near Chefoo China summer 1931 Sophie-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.
Year: 1931_