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December 16, 1941

Here we are, well into the second week of our war. It seems years, but it’s exactly a week ago yesterday since Nick handed me that paper, adding his two bits to the headlines: “Good morning, ma’am,” said he cheerfully, “Honolulu’s bombed. What’ll we do now?”

We went to market, first. War or no war, we have to eat. I bought everything in large quantities. Nobody can know what’ll happen. That first morning they bombed Baguio—and, ironically enough, many of my friends are up there, thinking it would be safer! ‘That whole dreadful morning seems like a nightmare. Rumors flew thick and fast as to what was happening. Baguio was hit early in the morning, and Clark Field was next. Rumor has it that all the planes were destroyed on the ground. Seems nobody could decide what to do, and with so many conflicting orders, the Japs got them all—on the ground.

My household was off in a dither of preparation, of daylight saving, blackouts, food storing, rumors, gossip,
etc. Running a smart French restaurant for a rather particular clientele has always been fun; but something seems to tell me it’s going to be less and less fun, although so far this hectic week I’ve done pretty well to
keep an organization together, keep the staff from being too scared, and still serve frogs’ legs, kidneys in wine, and even onion soup. The favorite dessert, crepes suzette, we’ve had to omit from the menu because the flaming brandy shows through the blackout curtains.

Who said something about not being able to see the forest for the trees? That’s me. I can’t say much about
the war because I am too busy worrying about food, light, daily bombings, because they interfere with the
service, not because I’m afraid I’ll be hit. And always the damn blackouts. This big old tropical house isn’t
easy to black out, what with so much open space, only shell windows, iron grills, etc., between us and the open air. The whole front dining room has only one wall, the rest is iron grills that roll back during the day, with
canvas curtains to keep out the rain and which aren’t light-proof. But the American boys patrolling in front of
our area are sweet lads; they always warn me if the light trickles through the black curtains I put up—more than a hundred yards of black Indian head in them.

I haven’t time to do canteen work or roll bandages, so I have a private canteen for the lads. When they go
on duty they get coffee and pastry here, and when they finish duty I hand them out something a bit stronger. Both seem to be appreciated, bless them.