We all received notice to report to Santo Tomas May 17.
I packed my barrack bag; I left about four hundred pesos P.I. money and about seven hundred pesos Jap money with family; as much rice as we would keep, some sugar and coffee. We got a carretela and Charlie, Henry, Nene, Arthur and Ellen went with me; Popsy the dog jumped in and had to be taken out. Arrived at the gate of Santo Tomas about one o’clock. Bade good bye to the kids, how game they are, and what hell they are fated to go thru; Worse, really than anything I expect for myself; bravey they waved throu their tears, and I was gone ****
The Jap sentry waved me inside the gate, where was a swaule [sawali] fence with several closed gates. The cochero remained outside and an Interne on special camp duty drove the horse to in front of the Main building. I dumped my bag and cot on the concrete and in a few minutes a Jap and a Limmie internee came to inspect, the Jap asked how much money I had, twenty pesos, one glance at my bag and cot and carried them myself up to Room # 209; it was empty except for the cot of Mr. Nelson, the Monitor, a Limmie but one of the best of any nation.
I picked the north east corner away from the doors, by a window which opened out on the roof of the Lobby of the building. Then the old timers began to come in, Fink next to me, then Wing, Webb, O’Tool, Sturnman, Drummond, Kemp, McLeod, Bauman (Drummond and MacLeod later went to hospital and Frenchy Bonet and Dave Graham moved in to our row; next row down the center was Sgt. Storm; White, Cuzner, Foss, Carlin, Warner, Rubenstein, Rogge and Nelson. Next row against the wall by the Hall, Young, Collette, Blackman, two priests, Hoffman, Gerard and Wilson. Some of them died or went to hospital and Boyer, Weis, and Skiles came in. And McIntyre.
Mamma had fixed me some boiled eggs and rice so I ate them and did not go to the mess line that night. Brindley took me around the Camp. Not a bad place now; has been fixed up a lot since Jan ’42. A whole village of shacks, shady trees, a hospital; ball grounds, basketball for girls and boys, school, chapel, music from recordings over the broadcasting loud speaker; candy, soft drinks, cigars and tobaco; every day people bring baskets and buckets of cooked food, fruit, eggs, laundry and other things; all handled by internees; have internees police guards, buyers who go out to purchase supplies; committee for sanitation, supplies, sports, relief to out side families; and a library; we have no roll call except the room monitors take a check at nine pm, lights must be out at 10:30.
I met so many old friends the first few days it was more like an old timers reunion then comeing back to jail. All my friends are here; And we have the elite of the Orient and also the dregs; the rich and poor, the missionaries and the prostitutes, the police and crooks; There are many children who play all over the place and seem to have no one looking after them as their parents act like it was a Camp responsibility and not theirs. There is a ball game and basket ball nearly every evening; Pitch, penochle, bridge, and poker; and we can sit out evenings listening to the music and to rumors and arguments and growls and complaints about everything under the sun.
We have a large kitchen run by internees, furnish our own mess kits wash our dishes in water heated by electricity; We have shower baths; and places to wash our clothes; dogs and cats abound, Pigeons are thick, The food we get is much better than we can get out in Manila; For breakfast we have coffee, sugar, rice mush or cornmeal mush; and most of us have something extra from home or bought; for noon generally have some kind of beans cooked with meat, also vegetables; supper also have meat and rice or stew. there is enough of it BUT not properly cooked and great quantities are theown into the garbage barrels; the kitchen gang are mostly C I O seamen from shipping board ships and they are a good for nothing bunch of agitators, eat well cooked food themselves and supply their girl friends and peddle much.
There is much talking and joking these first few days as we greet old comrades, friends and acquaintances, some of whom have not seen in years; we all have had experiences to tell about and old times to review. On May 17 when I came in at 1:15pm, notebook shows;
Cedula Residence Certificate #A-0122148, March 22, 1943
Resident Alien Certificate (Jap) #251645, March 25, ’43
Retirement Certificate 99690
Spanish War Pension #C-2347574
Weight 148 lbs (Dec 15, 1941 weighed 176 lbs)
Cash, Jap Notes 20.25 pesos.
One barrack bag containing 2 khaki trousers, 2 khaki shirts, 2 blue cotton shirts, 4 under shirts, 4 drawers, 10 socks, 1 sheet, 1 half wool blanket, 1 bed spread, 2 pillow cases, 1 pillow, 1 cot, 2 shoes, 2 towels, 4 handkerchiefs, and razor and other toilet articles. 1 mosquito net, 1 shoes wooden, 1 slippers leather Mess kit, cup, knife, fork, spoon, 1 hat.
News is hard to get, the daily Tribune is allowed in, our room buys two copies, but only Jap propaganda, all Jap victories, but we can get an idea of progress of war by location of names on the maps many smuggled in. Also the buyers who go out daily bring in radio script, and some comes over the fence along with black market food and booze; some script is written here in camp and some of it is pure fake; but by sifting all sources we can get a general idea of the situation. Rumors are so thick that we even have a dog named Rumor.
Every day the line of food comes in from friends and families, and restaurants; the gates in the fence are closes while the people delivering deposit their buckets and packages for inspection by Japs and internees, then gates are open and we go to the tables and get ours. By asking many times can go out to the side of the receiving shed and visit a few minutes with family. I get enough food in here now but the kids bring a bucket of food and clean laundry every Friday; this way we keep in touch; have two aluminum dinner pales in section and we write notes on the bottom of the section, also they put in the rice; the food sent in is a welcome change, generally eggs, chicken & meat cooked the way I like it; also fruit and real hot coffee.