After having escaped from the Japanese in Manila, we are practically free lancing here on Bataan; it is certainly a case of the survival of the fittest. Yesterday found the Lapham family and me making tentative arrangements for our refuge in the Parker house here in Limay. the most desirable feature about this cottage is its isolation. The place is dirty, dilapidated and gloomy. We cleaned two rooms as well as our inadequate supplies would permit. One is used as a bedroom; the other, as a pantry and kitchen.
We Sleep in a large, bare, decrepit, musty smelling room. Our five beds are placed in a row, hospital style, in order to be accomodated by the wire that is used as & support for the mosquito nets. the beds are about twenty inches wide and formerly were used as stretchers in ambulance trucks. ‘They are covered with khaki canvas and rest on pegs four inches above the rough, worn, crack-spaced floor. When once I am in bed and the mosquito net is tucked in, to move my body is an invitation to disaster; hordes of vampires in the form of malaria and numerous other brands of mosquitos attack me. The debatable question is: Shall I develop a permanent paralysis from lying in the same position, or shall I move and be harrassed by swarms of mosquitos and be malaria-infected, for the rest of my natural life? The ideal way to sleep in conditions like these would be to have a large dose of morphine at bedtime. I can’t pamper myself in this manner. With high hopes for a better existence, I’ll struggle through more nights.
Our nearest neighbors are Filipinos. Unfortunately, the husband and father of the family, a retired doctor, has a debilitating desease. The family is charming, especially the lady of the household, who takes a special interest in our welfare. She gives us boiled drinking water and asks us to share the family fox-hole with them until we can have one made for ourselves. At times there are eleven of us and a dog in this one shelter. Today I have been in and out of this little cellar so often that all the muscles in my back and legs are sore. What a New Year’s Day! Bill came by for a few minutes– the only nice thing about the day.