Another week and the war will be 19 months duration. How can it be that as much as been taken out of our lives? We’ve got to make it up somewhere, somehow. Some of the lines from [Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s] Sonnets from the Portuguese still haunt me, I should not allow myself to be so sentimental, and why not!… I hate this life more an more each day. I’m restless and no matter how or what I eat I can’t gain weight—I guess I never will until we regain some semblance of normality. I’m skeptical about the future of this camp and I hope and pray that things work out, it can certainly be one helluva mess if 7,000 are dumped here in a lump.
..It rather amused me today when Kenny Edwards came to me and requested that I remove the name Margaret Nestle from the list of those whose presence was desired here. Apparently Dr. Leitch has advised someone that conditions were going to be quite primitive in the new barracks and suggested that a person not have his wife come up with the first group. Denny even intimated that there were to be open urinals, horror of horrors! These fools have believed that these barracks were going to be furnished like a New York apartment. I don’t suppose they’ll be too bad, but with all the speculation, no one has actually seen the plans yet. Everything we know about them has been told us by the Contractor. On the other hand, I believe they will be fairly up to what was described, but from what I’ve observed, descriptions become well garbled…
That’s the date in 1941 when I became actively conscious of Manila and the Philippines. I went to Vesper service and heard Fonger deliver a very excellent little sermon. I don’t remember the text but it had to do with the Psalmist during one of the captivities and one of the Epistles of Paul to Timothy, re: Don’t forget you, Jerusalem. He hasn’t much of a delivery but, profound sincerity. I told him I enjoyed it. I guess I didn’t accomplish much yesterday, really have been down in the mouth—there was a show last night and it was excellent. Bill and I made honey this morning and went to see Mr. and Mrs. Curran this afternoon; this is their 31st wedding anniversary.
General Hamada made his official visit to the camp this afternoon. I wish he’d come early enough for camote beans and meat, which I think we’ve had every noon, except one, since we came here—three meals per day! Stew every night except beans and pork that have been served four times, I believe.
I’ve succumbed to a passion for reading and study of a kind. I’m keeping the monitor job for a while, Safety and Order. I may withdraw from it later, I have 6 students signed up for an Introductory History Course. I will myself take Spanish, Accounting, Literature and Economics. I hope you arrive on the scene before another six weeks has passed.
Another day—’Tis said that the barracks will not have concrete floors as advertised, the kitchens will be adequate and possibly 600 invalids and old people will be allowed to remain in Manila. Considerable antagonism to the Hitleresque method of promulgating the Camp Penal Code and I expect there’ll be plenty said at tonight’s meeting. I’m glad we had the shack at Santo Tomas, but when we settle here (if we eventually do), I want to have things to do and you without making existence so complicated that we spend all day at it.
Things moving along as usual, some general is due to inspect the camp today, 16 planes went south this morning and the paper has an interesting item now and then. Keep looking toward your house directly behind us on the hill and wishing that we could be enjoying ourselves there. Had coffee with Lee yesterday afternoon, he is going to teach a composition course and I loaned him your book.
One of the odd facts about the camp is that no one has the correct time. An ancient alarm clock in the Gym is set by the chapel chimes everyday but it certainly varies. It doesn’t make much difference anyway. Played ball this evening for the first time. I was full of stew but we won anyhow 2-1…
I’ve worn the socks, couldn’t resist, they are perfect for size and feel wonderful. Darling, I hope you and your father can come up together with the first group; that maybe within the next few weeks. I wonder for how long? We’ll have a lot of living to do and I want to get started on it. The food here is an improvement over Santo Tomas despite the wood fires and semi-open kitchen. I suppose ifs the smaller group. Bill and I fill up on fruit besides. I love you.
Those new socks [probably knitted from string.]—wonderful! You are a darling! I’ve been hoarding sugar but I guess we’ll use some on the mush for a while. Salt and coconut milk on mush, a half-spoonful of sugar in our coffee and calamansies in our tea at night has enables us to save about a tablespoon of sugar a day for the past few weeks. We’ve brought what we could but save it for the time you and Polly will be here.
…Yesterday we moved into the Y. Not much confusion and the only lapses involved work in the form of bed frames that were lying out in front of the building. Internees had been requested to keep hands off, but several were appropriated, in spite of all one could do. Bill and I have an excellent location. I withheld us from the draw and took what I wanted. Everyone seems quite happy… We’re eating/buying a lot of avocados, five consumed between us today (Bill and me).
Tomorrow we move to the Y, a month ago we were supposed to be in within a few days. It will be quite comfortable, but I’d prefer to stay right here. Bill mixed some grated coconut and mashed bananas with sugar for desert, quite a tasty mess. The bus returned tonight with food supplies, our notes go down tomorrow or the next day. I hope you don’t have any trouble with the peanut butter, I don’t like to ask you for anything, but we would like some of that stuff! The boys drew for spaces in the Y this morning and there was comparatively little argument. Marked and numbered the spaces this afternoon. There is indication that they’re trying to complete 10 barracks and move in an experiment; if that happens the next group from Santo Tomas will number about 400-500 and will come up about the middle of next month; we’ll see how much of a guesser I am. I certainly wish it was all over.
For about the 20th successive lunch, excepting last Sunday, we had beans, black brown or mongo, for lunch. They just put in a spoonful of camote or squash for the sugar value. Imagine a leveled tablespoon of sugar per day per man. The evening chow is pretty good, always stew, but a lot of meat—there is meat in the noon beans too, “Goddamn seldom.” Bill and I usually have some fruit at night or make coconut milk and cut up bananas or mangoes on the rice (left over) with a few peanuts and sugar on top. It makes an edible mess. What a time we’re going to have eating after this. I haven’t been weighed lately, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not gaining too much weight…
Messrs. Gimmel, Kodaki and Kuroda came up from Manila today and are staying to look things over for a few days. Worked in the Y today and find it improving to the point where it will (be) livable in few days. More liquor trouble. Monitors meeting tonight on the subject—certain incorrigibles are to be isolated in a separate compound, we mean isolated this time. No confirmation on the barracks collapse of yesterday, but it is probable that at least one did go down.
Three more of the barracks blew over today, couldn’t see them from here, but it is said 1 in this area and 2 in the other flopped this afternoon. Not much wind, just a few puffs. In the Y again today cleaning, probably move in Sunday or the first of next week. A couple of fellows, one of them G. Ross, under the weather day before yesterday and two more today. Wondering what they expect to do about it.
There was a rainstorm with some wind about 4 AM today and as we went across the field for mush we saw that the first of the barracks, the only one in this area with a completed roof, had collapsed during the night. Somebody must have caught hell because Filipinos cleared up the debris and had a whole new frame up by 7 PM tonight. Wish we could have taken a picture of it. Worked on the Y again today, it’s beginning to smell less like a pig pen. Tonight the bus came in and that is another of my duties under “Safety and Order”: to see that the packages are properly taken care of. Lucky me, coffee, candy, peanuts, sugar and cigarettes. I hope you realize how precious the stuff is, particularly the peanuts and candy—starved for it.
Thorough grounds cleaning at the Y, in spite of rain all afternoon. It’s a mess and will take some days to prepare for habitation. Several hundred Filipino workers came thru camp this morning, truckloads of materials come in every day, they’re digging a deep well over by the hospital—they really intend to have a camp here.
The Y was opened today and the carpenters, plumbers and electricians moved in. They’ll continue tomorrow and then we clean. I guess we’ll work on the grounds tomorrow, they’re a mess. Last night there were guards on all night but there was no raid. Apparently the J have something on their minds, wonder if it had anything to do with shooting of Laurel at Wack-Wack yesterday.
Anyway, there isn’t so much anxiety tonight. The Y again, Woodin saw the space today and divided 60 men per place, etc. No one can stick to any given plan around here. By tonight Bill had made a plan of the first floor and filled in 50 spaces and I had Woodin agree to that number and to the list of names as I had them recorded. Palmer will have 53 on the 2nd floor. Bill and I celebrated with duck eggs (fried) a can of meat gelatin and fried sweet potatoes and (I almost forgot) two loaves of bread—it was some change from the black beans.
Another warning from the Commander that the camp is liable to be attacked by guerrillas. The info was passed on at a monitor’s meeting and Tulloch requested that guards be posted, apparently to keep men in buildings in case of alarm.
The Filipinos are allegedly evacuating the Y tomorrow and we take possession Sunday—I wonder? Calhoun spoke to the crowd tonight. Said you were very crowded at Santo Tomás and there were no notes allowed thru the line. Food prices had caused CC to request increase from 70-85 cents per day from J, also that the ₱50,000 from abroad, was to be spent on medical supplies and distributed pro rata among the internees. I’m going to be able to take Accounting and another course or two. Guess the History is mine, looks as if I’d have a student or two this time. There were U.S. Army prisoners driving the trucks that came in with concrete tonight. They looked well fed and clothed. Porky refused to let the laundry go out of the camp today—arrangements had supposedly been made for men to send out laundry, but I guess they forgot to ask the captain of the guard.
₱50 came thru North today—I’ll try to stock up on a few articles and spend as little as possible. A couple of Filipinos were tied to a post in the yard for some offense or other, but were released after a couple of hours this morning. Nothing exciting otherwise. The chief topic of conversation is food, we don’t eat as well as under the shanty system.