February 5, 1942

The Internews, our camp paper, had a cartoon of an American enjoying his whiskey soda in the pre-war days. On the opposite page, he was wheeling huge cans of garbage.

Millionaires, bank presidents, executives, and beachcombers took their turns at garbage detail. They cleaned toilets, mopped floors, and dug ditches to bury tons of tin and garbage.

There was a special detail nicknamed “Issue Tissue” which entailed bathroom duty and doling three squares of toilet paper to a customer. Only three! No more and no less! Small wonder that robust jokes had made the rounds of the camp regarding this detail.

An epidemic of pediculi broke out in one of the women’s rooms, and it was Zenia’s sad task to examine fifty-nine indignant heads. The fact that some of the heads belonged to the cream of Manila’s society didn’t help the situation. When Zenia, the missionary nurse, completed her grisly search and extermination, she was lousy, too.

We heard the heavy and muffled rumble of big guns today. It sounded a long way off. We prayed that they were our own guns.

Heads instinctly turned heavenward when planes flew over us. There was always the faint hope that they would bear the insignia of the star. But it was only the Flying Eagles decorated with the bright orange sun.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin