December 27, 1941

A suspected Nazi civilian doctor in my ward was shunned like a mad dog by patients and staff alike. Several times I tore up his orders and prescriptions in his presence and, instead of marching me to the C.O., he looked at me with astonishment in his watery blue eyes. “Why did you do that?” he asked me in a wheedling voice.

He could no longer harm us, for the hospital was being evacuated to the Sta. Scholastica, the Philippine Women’s College, and the La Salle College.

Though the fall of Manila was expected soon, we behaved like children who believed in fairy tales. We hoped desperately that a miracle at the last moment would stop the enemy.

How pathetically we listened to our radios for news of some great victory, but the news was always about Germany and Russia.

The Chinese grocery stores were packed with panicky customers who kept buying more staples and other food supplies.

Just as I returned to my apartment from work today, Jinny, the nurse whose husband was fighting in Bataan, came to see me. She was breathless and excited.

She asked me to leave with her for Bataan. Her husband had sent a soldier with a car to fetch her and myself. In his note he had written that we were to leave immediately and to bring food, bedding, and cooking utensils, as a nipa shack had been provided for us.

I had only half an hour to decide and pack. I looked at Catesy, who stood by the window with his back to us. I went to him, and when I saw his depression and sadness, I knew that I could not leave.

When he said, “I can’t make the decision for you,” I had already made up my mind.

“I’m staying, Jinny. Give Dick my regards and thanks for asking me.

Catesy kissed me tenderly and asked me, “Are you sure?” There was a doubtful note in his voice.

I knew definitely that my place was with him, but how could anyone tell which was the frying-pan and which was the fire?

Sophie embraced me, and when I heard Adoracion and Catalino giggling nervously in the kitchen, I knew that they too were pleased. Even Rags seemed to know that something out of the ordinary had occurred, for she kept scratching my shoes for attention.

We all went down to Jinny’s apartment to help her pack. In less than half an hour the car was piled high with bedding, cooking utensils, food, and clothing. When we lingered over good-byes, the soldier fidgeted nervously and finally advised her to start.

We watched the car disappearing rapidly around the corner on Mabini, headed for Bataan.

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