Not much new since Thursday—the camp kitchen has moved to the new barracks kitchen, John, Rus, Dan Hume and Jack Chapman were notified yesterday that they were to be repatriated. Sort of silly to call it repatriation in Chapman’s case, he’s never been to the States. Some of the boys, particularly those with families in the States, are rather bitter about it. Jack was so excited that he couldn’t sleep last night.
The first meeting of Los Baños Ins. Inst. at 3:30 PM today and Mr. Stubs held forth on Marine Insurance. About 12 attended and I guess we’ll continue for a while anyway.
Apparently the camp is opposed to the proposed restaurant. Calhoun received quite a jolt, he looked dazed and a little angry at the monitors meeting last Thursday. The consensus was that until the line could serve something better than rice or beans with squash or camote and a cup of what is fondly termed “carabao sweat” there should be no camp restaurant. The subject was dismissed. I don’t know what was in the background, but I have an idea that there may be a large stock of canned goods or something somewhere in the picture. The fact is that if the proposition had been properly presented there would have been little opposition. As it was, there appeared to be something secretive in putting it over. Anyway, it’s out for the time being. No one liked the idea of Hornbostel at Santo Tomas buying sugar thru our canteen (allegedly) and sending candy here to be sold when none of the local boys have been permitted a license to manufacture and sell candy. The peanut butter project is under way and available at ₱1.15 per pint. The repatriates are practically on their way and some of them, old men for instance are pretty happy about it.
The camp kitchen, temporarily by the gym since our arrival, is moving into the barracks quarters tomorrow. This said that workmen will start on improvements within a few days and October. The time is flying by. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have accounting, German and Spanish 1:30-4:30 Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday my history class 2:30-3:30 German every day 11:00-12:00, Spanish every day 9:00-10:00 p.m., English Literature Thursday 3:30, 4:30 shorthand with O’Mally Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 1:00-2:30 p.m. and as often in the evening 7:00-8:30 as possible. Analysis of Financial Statements Tuesday and Thursday 7:15-8:15, and Sunday afternoon 3:30-4:30 there will be an insurance discussion. I guess that’s all, but it’s too much for concentration and I’m only exposing myself to all of them because there’s plenty of time and I like variety. I have a monitors meeting once a week and that’s about the story. There are three ball games next week—I play on the average twice a week 5:45-7:00 p.m. Its quite a life—there are newspapers, I can read the Spanish fairly well now but there are very few rumors of the type that flew around Santo Tomás—the boys have been riding Jack Chapman since yesterday morning when someone passed him the next news that Bedloe’s Island been retaken with 4,000 prisoners. He passed it along to a group of fellows and apparently they let him develop the story until one of them let him know where Bedloe’s is. He’s been feeling pretty badly about it.
Your package was most welcome and the santan jam was welcome as sugar… But no notes or anything and its tough when the British are receiving anywhere form one to 2 dozen letters apiece. I’d just like to hear enough to tell me that I can marry you anytime. Maybe next time! Dr. Leach is on the repatriation list and has promised to tell my NY boss all about things here. I hope he does so. We had hot cakes with your jam today and we’re stuffed—it’s good to be that way once in a while, Bill and I are hungry most of the time. We stuff with rice but it doesn’t do much good after an hour or so. I’m still at 152 lbs. or slightly less and have an idea that you’ll have to take me out of this place before I ever gain any weight. If s hard to believe that I’m 15-20 lbs. under what I was 2 years ago. Eggs 30 cents apiece, peanuts 35 cent half pint and fellows stood in line for half an hour to buy one banana for 5 cents.
There has been some excitement in and around the camp. Friday night just before Roll Call, Taylor and Overton advised me that there was a camp restaurant actually in the process and they wanted a vote of our group; if a majority opposed the Restaurant, would require me to express their attitude to the committee. In view of the fact that the monitors meeting the night before had disclosed only that a survey was being made, I paid not too much attention. After the Calling of Roll, however, they insisted and I in no uncertain tones refused to permit a vote until we should be able to obtain more information. Maybe it sounded pretty dictatorial because there was a general wrangle led by Vermick and particularly Taylor, the latter insisting that I had refused them the democratic right to voice their opinion etc.
…Yesterday I learned that four or five monitors with whom I spoke knew no more than I but admitted that they had heard a lot of talk. Leonard C. at the Construction Department told me that plans were being drawn up for location in bungalow no. 9 and that they (construction) had been given the go ahead. Before talking with Cal I spoke with McCandlish whom I knew had attended the Exec. Meeting Friday, night. He said a committee appointed Tuesday was to have reported Friday but due to lack of time the report had been deferred until Tuesday 24 August. So I talked with Cal and told him there was considerable adverse comment restaurant and in view of food shortage in camp and canteen plus kitchen difficulties I thought camp restaurant a little premature. Furthermore I asked how far plans had progressed and why they hadn’t at least mentioned the proposal in the bulletin.
Last evening I was advised by Ode and others that there was a movement to oust me, etc. At Roll Call I advised the gang as to my general findings on the Rest, and admitted that I had been less informed than one or two of them the night before. When I asked what they wished to do none of the agitators spoke, but Crane suggested that the matter rest until the memorandum was available. As there was no opposition, I let it ride. Then up stepped Taylor and in that downcast manner of his told me that he wanted (and others) to vote regarding my status, etc., he had all the papers, etc. ready for a secret ballot. I knew it was coming, of course, so agreed and then retired into the background. Crane doubted if anyone knew that the proper procedure to remove a monitor and no one did, it’s in Camp Code but I didn’t offer any assistance. After a lot of wrangling, Taylor and Vermick for opposition and Overton discretely silent and I believe secretly pleased. Finally Charles Barnes suggested a vote of confidence by roll, call and after it was taken, 7 opposed, 29 for and 15 not voting, Taylor immediately expressed the option that 22 was a strong minority and made some remark in my direction about my taking the vote as a mandate… Anyway, I’m still here. Some of the nonvoters were seamen who didn’t want to be involved and the rest I don’t believe give a damn. Cal told me today that while he was preparing statement last night he decided that the first thing on the agenda should be to straighten out the kinks in the camp kitchen and that until that was done the restaurant would be delayed.
As I’ve mentioned we’re incommunicado—and last night we felt the result. About 12:30 A.M. I was awakened and heard a couple of fellows asking for McCarter. The Japanese were at the cottage and wanted the key to the tool bodega. We learned this morning that several rifles had been unearthed under Cottage 3 and Bungalow 2 and at noon today we saw 2 guards and a Filipino, the latter with wrapped guns over his shoulder coming out of the new building area.
There was a lot of bell ringing from the chapel the other night and there has been a lot of scurrying around on the part of our “friends” ever since. It appears that some robberies occurred in the village and ’tis believed that lawless elements have moved into the area. The guards are circulating as workmen and the local Filipinos including students are being rounded up for questioning… The weather is swell, my leg is nearly healed and I’m pretty busy. Dr. Griffiths just gave an interesting lecture on the influence of Norman French and the French poetry on English Literature and its obvious portrayal in the works of Chaucer. I’m going to enjoy the course immensely. My plans to get the insurance men together working out there has [attracted] enough interest to insure a start at least. I still have to see two Englishmen, but the first 2 lectures on Marine are assured anyway.
The married men here are becoming restless and prepared a pretty hot protest on treatment since the beginning of the transfer, pointing out particularly that single men indispensable to Santo Tomas had included some for cataloging Latin library, filing phonograph records, entertainments, etc. They had a meeting last night and cooled off for the time being. The longer we’re here the more I feel that further transfers are very uncertain and you may not reach this camp after all. There appears to be little action in the way of improving the barracks and at the same time the repatriation possibilities are given more credence. Personally I’m getting awful sick of mongo beans each noon and stew each night… Bill and I will have hot cakes for lunch tomorrow. Sugar 3.31 [per kilo] today.
I wish they’d send some of you up here and have done with it. We could make the place OK for 200-300 more and I’d enjoy life much more. Today Bill and I had puffed rice for breakfast, yesterday hot cakes for lunch—they were pretty good. Those damn black mongo beans with camote get awfully tiresome for lunch every day. I’m hungry as a bear tonight and will have to stay that way I guess. There are 9 insurance men in the camp including Dan and myself and I’ve thought about getting them together to swap knowledge. These Francisco’s are certainly a mess. W. R. Spencer who is doing a term in the jug for theft. The story: he went to R and W for a toothbrush and they had none—he said he could get one at PS for 2 pesos. R and W gave him ₱2.00—Spencer loses ₱2.00 at F’s game table and so steals a toothbrush, sells if for ₱5 and then steals it back again and returns it to original owner. Al Breeze says he warned him to lay off the poker table because the point was brought up when Spencer applied to R and W for issue of Army Shoes. He received shoes because of work detail (this before theft of course). Al Weams says Spencer has no army shoes—evidently sold them for money to play poker. What a mess, and Francisco buys goods at PS in ₱125 lots including cases of corned beef at ₱4.30 a can.
Did I tell you that a deck of ordinary playing cards now sells for ₱17.5? The camp paid ₱12.00 for two tires and tubes for the bus. Sugar is ₱2.80 per kilo, ₱3.75 at Santo Tomás I understand—corned beef ₱4.00 per can. That reminds me—the Francisco’s running poker games and buying tremendous quantities of canned goods. ₱100-₱150 at a crack. I sometimes wonder why more of us are not like them. On the other hand it makes me favor a Hitler regime only they’re the type that make Hitlers, the tragedy of it is that most of those that play at their lousy tables haven’t a pot, and the real answer is that if people don’t know how to take care of themselves, someone should take care of them. But of course that’s contrary to our democratic principles. I hate the type that makes the Francisco type of exploitation possible almost as much as I hate the latter.