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.
Wonder what you’re doing, whether you think of me once in a while. Another pair of those white socks would be very acceptable. Maybe I didn’t mention it, but I bought a pair of golf shoes and cut down the cleats. They’ll serve a long while and are very comfortable…
Darling, I’m afraid it will be a long time, several months at least, before I see you. I’ve been hoping that you’d come up soon in rather restricted group but the barracks as they stand are admittedly (by the J) out of the question and there’s no telling how much longer they’ll be deciding what’s necessary and accomplishing same to make them habitable. I have cigarettes, aspirin and a chair all stocked up—have saved all most all of the canned goods, so I hope it won’t be too long. There’s nothing to for me but to absorb Spanish, German, Accounting, Economics, Eng. Lit and History to the fullest, read all I can and review company practice with Dan as well as prepare a report to be mailed as soon as possible after release.
Sunday is a lazy day and they turn the lights off before I have a chance to get under the net and write to you. I love you Darling. Your chair was finished tonight and I think you’ll like it. Maybe I’ll keep it for myself and have a lighter one made for you. I have now attended classes for a month, missing only one. I’m almost believing that mental laziness is not one of my faults. At least I’m learning some accounting and exposing myself to a lot else. For instance History that I’m teaching. There has been little but rain for the past week. McKinnny and W. R. Spencer are in the jug for theft and Al Warms (Whimply) is a very adequate jailer. We had a ball game last night. Sec. 14 won…
The new barracks were inspected by the J.M. today—maybe we’ll know the verdict soon. The repatriation bug is in the air again. I hope we can see it out now after all these months. If I’m on any list I surely want you to there too. I hate to think about it so we shall see what we shall see. I’m enjoying the history as time passes I’m sure that I will give it more and more study and preparation. I want to see you darling—three cartons of cigarettes I’ve saved for you, some extra tooth powder, aspirin and quinine—I’ll wait until you arrive before adding anything to stock.