Crotchety and old Mr. and Mrs. Greenshoes’ dispositions didn’t improve, living and sleeping as they did in the crowded corridor of the second floor. They’ve had several verbal tussles with our Internee Committee and the Japs, but so far they have won every round.
When informed by our committee that husbands and wives were to be separated, the old lady indignantly declared, “I’ve slept with my husband for fortv-five years, and no G—— D—— Japs are going to separate us now!” And no one did!
Screens were placed around their bed at night, and these old people tried to rest with hundreds of people milling and prowling around the corridors until late at night. On several occasions, when the traffic and noise had become too much for them, Mrs. Greenshoes had appeared from behind the screen in her nightdress. Wild-eyed and furiously angry, she had lashed everyone with her sharp tongue. During the day she stomped about the corridors, and traffic had a way of parting for her.
I learned that the easiest way to divert the old lady from her scoldings, protestations, and colorful profanity was to ask questions about Buddhism. She was a devout Buddhist. When she launched into her favorite subject, the glint in her fiery old eyes changed to a seraphic gentleness, and her strident voice shifted to a soft purr.