February 9, 1942

We’ve had intense heat the last few days, and the leaves of the fine acacia trees are beginning to turn brown and fall on the ground. In another month the trees will be naked and the grass withered and scorched.

The hot season in Manila was trying under normal conditions, which included lovely gardens, verandas, servants, iced drinks, fans, and air-conditioned rooms. But under these circumstances —that was something else again!

“Take each day as it comes and don’t look too far into the crystal ball!” cautioned Catesy when I wondered about the hot season and whether we’d find a shady spot to cook and eat our meals.

While writing this, I happened to glance toward the door, and I was startled to see a Japanese guard holding up the canvas curtain to get a better look. Immediately, I stopped writing and looked around the room with the most innocent expression I could manage. Not daring to meet his glance, I slipped off my bed and eased my diary under the bed. Then I started to fuss with my pots and pans until I was certain he had left.

The women who had kept diaries in my room had long since destroyed them. One of them buried her diary with her silverware and jewelry in her garden at home, and now she was wondering if the rains would wash them up.

Seven hundred new books were added to some of the books given the camp by the university. The former head of the YMCA was able to have these books sent in from the outside.

How dearly we’d love to see the latest issue of Time or Life. Many of our people refused to read the local Nishi-Nishi because of its propaganda. It infuriated and depressed them.

Our little Filipina Red Cross nurse, Pura, who came from the outside daily, said, “One should invert the news in the Nishi-Nishi to get the real information.”

This we often did, especially when the Nips were crowing about a particular victory. Our losses, of course, were always three times higher than theirs.

The Nishi-Nishi had a nasty habit of referring to all Americans as “those degenerate Americans.”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin