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Sunday, December 28, 1941

A fine diary this is. I must think I’m a Shirer, only different. I was one of those who thought it couldn’t happen here—that the Japs would wait until the Philippine independence to walk in, that the Japs needed our trade and friendship. But here we are, with the Japs at our gates, our troops trapped in Bataan, with the Armies to the south falling back there. Daily bombings, and a sad sight it is, too. Great plane formations overhead with never so much as a popgun to fire back at them. It is heartbreaking.

I am so light-minded that I have to laugh sometimes at all this. Everybody is spy-conscious. And with reason,
for many of the poor Jewish refugees in the Philippines turned out to be pretty hot Hitlerites. Most of the Germans and Japs are in jail now, but it won’t be long. I say jail—they are actually in very comfortable quarters
and are being very well taken care of.

The other night two American Navy lieutenants rushed into the restaurant, brushing me aside brusquely. I wanted to know what they were after, but they leapt up the stairs to the third floor, flung open the door of my nephew’s apartment, where he and Jack and another engineer were squatting on the floor in complete darkness, listening to a short-wave radio.

“What goes on here?” said one of the officers. “You are signaling with a flashlight. You are under arrest. Don’t think we can’t read the Morse code .. .” And so on, in most abusive fashion.

The lights were out in the apartment, curtains drawn, and there were no flashlights. Suddenly I realized what they had seen. Jack was smoking a cigar, sort of chewing on it, and the speck of light must have been seen from the outside! Morse code, indeed! Everybody laughed except the Navy lads.

Business as usual seems to be my motto, and booming it is. I went to a Christmas-morning party with the
same people I’ve celebrated the holidays with for many years. Eggnog in Peg’s inimitable fashion, rudely interrupted by the bombing. Who said “open city’? Their shelter was beneath the stairs and seemed a trifle cramped for my long legs, so I sat on the terrace and had more eggnog, listening to and watching the planes bomb Nichols Airfield once more.

The eggnog party moved over to the restaurant for dinner. We had all the trimmings; turkey, tree, presents, everything as on other years; only the conversation had a new note. That day it was all about the “Royal Family” (meaning the High Commissioner and  his staff) running out surreptitiously to Corregidor. I’m faintly of the opinion we haven’t the right to criticize too much, for if the open city idea had been followed out, it was essential to get important government officials away, and so leave no basis of military operations from a soi-disant open city. Their manner of going was not regarded too pleasantly, and the criticism at the party that day was pretty severe. Everyone felt very badly let down.