Though I couldn’t reach Catesy by phone, my phone rang continually. Friends and neighbors called to see if we were still in our home or to inform us that other friends had already been taken by the Japs.
When I phoned the Oriente Hotel in Walled City where Zenia, the missionary nurse from India, stayed, the Filipino operator said in a frightened voice, “Do not call again, mum! The Japanese are already here and all the Americans have been taken away!”
The hours dragged by and there was still no word from Catesy. Finally at 1 p.M., he returned, tired and footsore, without his car.
“But where’s your shiny new car?” we chorused.
“The runty little bastards took it!” Catesy grinned sheepishly.
Anticipating that this would happen, he had prepared a receipt before he left the store. Just as he got behind the wheel of his car, two Japanese officers stopped him and politely asked him to get out. When Catesy asked them to sign his prepared receipt, they willingly obliged.
How like the Japanese to be always politel My mind leaped to Ogden Nash’s “The Japanese”:
How courteous is the Japanese!
He always says “Excluse me, please”
And climbs into his neighbor’s garden
And smiles and says, “I beg your pardon.”
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in:
He grins and bows a friendly bow:
“So sorry, this is my garden now.”
With Catesy safely returned, much of our tension and worries of the last eighteen hours lifted. Henry, ever alert for an auspicious moment to do a bit of celebrating, ordered our favorite drinks, which Catalino prepared and served expertly.
People stayed in their homes. Few dared to go out.
A few hours later an American living nearby came to our door and cautioned us to stay in the apartment and to destroy our liquor. While Catesy and Henry sadly emptied Scotch, bourbon, rye, gin and brandies at the sink, I hurriedly hid a bottle of brandy and one of Scotch under my bed. I thought that the time would soon come when we would need a little morale boosting.
Later in the afternoon, we heard that many who had destroyed all their liquor were now making hurried trips to town in an effort to buy a bottle to ease the tension of the next few days.
All the liquor at the Army and Navy Club, the Elks Club, the Polo Club, and other American controlled bars was destroyed. Those who helped with the wholesale destruction sampled and guzzled freely until they became roaring drunk.