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December 22, 1941

Among the vegetables in the returning Cold Store truck yesterday were three big cases of Red Cross supplies! We are now busy making bath towels, and hand towels, surgical coats and hospital gowns, sheets and slings.

Yesterday while several of us were unpacking, with the chairman, at the Red Cross, Jerry came saying, “Come on, Pete. let’s go kiss our livelihood good-bye.” We drove four kilometers down the trail to a point over a valley
where we watched the Shell oil and gasoline tanks burn. Of course, no one buys insurance and there was our last way of earning a living pouring out in thick black smoke. We continue to live a day at a time.

One of the main roads may be blown up this afternoon by our defense. When the second one goes, we will be cut off except for Igorots who can carry food on their backs to us. We have not touched our reserve yet.

At five in the morning, a man telephoned that the word was being passed around that anyone desiring to go to Manila must be down the trail by seven as the road would then be closed to all unnecessary traffic. We sat up in the dark and debated for half an hour. Finally, Jerry called back to the man that we had decided to stay and he replied that he and a lot of other people felt the same way. However, many left within half an hour—several mining
camps fled wholesale. It is Hobson’s Choice anyway . I do not care to join in what I consider panic flight. A trip to Manila now could develop into ghastly terror—we might run into a stampede of refugees, a mass of moving army or even enemy formations. We might have a head-on collision and undergo strafing from enemy planes as we lay injured for hours. No, we’ll take what comes, here. If all the Americans flee, it will be very bad for the morale of the Filipinos and Chinese up here.

I packed all the silver in the little wool bags in which it came as wedding gifts. I also packed a suitcase with changes of clothes for either warm or cold weather.

The planes are busy elsewhere. We heard at noon over official radio that eighty ships were in the Gulf of Lingayen. All morning we heard booming, which was not thunder or dynamite.

By Christmas we may be all divided into concentration camps for men and women. I tell Nida she must be prepared to take care even of Japanese wounded, for wounded are the same anywhere, but she makes a wry face. All the people of our small roup of houses stayed on. It is a salvation to keep busy on Red Cross work while wait –for what?

In Manila we hear people live twenty-two in a house formerly occupied by one small family. Smiths have seventeen in their at their place, with a shelter made of packing cases and sand bags.

It is no use being afraid, whatever comes. A critical time like this brings out the stamina—or lack of it—in everyone.

We went to bed with no sign of vegetables growing in our garden and in the morning there were two rows of beans half an inch high. They push up the dirt like steamrollers and it does me good to watch them steam ahead, climbing the poles, obeying nature, quite regardless of the mess man is making nearby. We have tow huge red lilies in the front garden.

We wonder if America is going to help us. Much of this is the fault of Congressmen who would do nothing, balked all suggestions about Guam.It is hard to believe in this quietness that men are dying in mud and heat and
agony at the foot of the trail. Now | must get to work and finish the bags for the boys in the hospital.

The cable we sent to Mother the day after the bombing was just returned as no cable code address is allowed through. Blitzkrieg is over and bombing less but invasion is the danger now. We still feel the line will hold and help will come, but we are very small in the large plan so perhaps we are wrong.

It is late afternoon and the neighbors were all having tea with us when the siren sounded, One plane dive-bombed the Post right in front of us. It dropped two or three lots and we could hear the thuds. Our shelter was bedlam with so many small children.