Diary of Natalie Crouter

Dec. 27, 1941

The Japanese army took over. They woke us at 11:30 P.M. and kept us standing in one small, crowded room until 2:30 A.M. checking off each one over and over. Finally, they herded us all onto the second story, where we all slept on the wooden floor all night. Mrs. Saleeby was allowed a mattress because of her age. About a dozen of us put our heads on it all around her, our bodies stemming out like rays of the sun. Many did not have blankets, and it was a firetrap. The Japanese officers came about every half hour with heavy clumping boots and sharp staccato talk, would look in, stare at us like zoo animals, then go away. A machine gun was trained on us at the front door.