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April 1, 1942

I never expected to sleep so long without sheets, on a plain mattress. But we must not forget –This is War! Mosquito nets look so queer at night. Some are square, some oblong, some peaked, some round, others just little face veils. In the dusk it looks like a cobweb city of fantastic shapes.

No one can know unless he’s been in it what it is like to live in a vacuum, of no news, no messages, no reliable information, except what is poured out for the dull mind, to depress the spirit, until everything becomes automatic, as though one were a robot or five years old. We can eat, wash, carry garbage, live on charity, but we must not think with our own minds.

One waitress said while giving out the buns, “Wasn’t the cook grand to make these for us?” It is camp material, camp cooking, but they always have to be kissing the cook or patting her on the back, as though it were a personal affair. No one pats the towel-washers, the toilet-workers, who get up just as early, work just as hard, with less reward. No one pats me for carrying garbage or washing floor cloths. I would think they were crazy if they did. It is our job and we don’t expect constant praise. Many of us are tired of the sickly sentimental, ingratiating attitude on the part of the kitchen crew. The buns were swell and I said so but no fawning, thank you. The flour was mixed with cornmeal to make it go around.

Someone remarked that she did not miss a bed as much as she missed chairs. Then only did I realize we had no chairs but sit on the mattress, on the floor, or on the front steps. Recently some benches have made an appearance.