Jerry woke me at 6:30 and I dressed quickly. With a cup of coffee in hand and a bun, we sauntered to hospital point to watch the sun rise over a soft blanket of clouds on one ridge. It was a tender beauty, delicate dawn colors: there was only strength in the great mass of earth, none in the colors except the green which stood out vividly against pastel shades. he sea was vague and far away. The sentry was alert on the “path.” Behind us, the Episcopalians chanted early Mass of Ascension Day.
Roll call on the playground was finally arranged in a U by Mr. Tomibe who made a short speech with the help of Miss McKim. He opened with a bellow of attention which impressed his staff at least. The order to follow each day was then given to us. First, in Japanese, “We will take roll call now.” Then they say, “Ohayo” to which we reply, “Good Morning.” After that when the check is finished they say, “Go kuro sama desu” which literally means I am sorry to make you suffer but figuratively means they are sorry to have troubled us. This is also dismissal. Miss McKim assures them that we are literally suffering. All this came after Tanabe and Yamato had gone down the line to 22 groups, with Yamato standing stiff and precise, making a quick bow with his good morning to each group as soon as it was checked. He is so diminutive, so passionately serious, that it is impossible to explain how laughable it is or why. It is the contrasts which which are ludicrous. Carl could not keep from smiling all the way and even Tomibe’s face showed humor. After watching all this labourious process, Tomibe quickly swept it into a compact order for future assemblies. He told Miss McKim that he would never have a nervous breakdown because he said right out what he thought, kept nothing piling up underneath, but that Mr. Yamato took everything Very seriously, was conscientious and sensitive in the extreme and therefore Miss McKim must not tease him too much! He shows an understanding of Miss McKim as well as of his countryman.
The diamond bracelet proposition is too big to handle—the sum js too large to get in right now, so I dug up my gold Igorot earring drop and turned it over to Jerry for weighing. It is within a fraction of half an ounce and should bring in P200 which will carry us about four weeks at present prices.
Japanese class was great fun with Miss McKim laughing until she put her head on the table, about Bob’s account of Dean pushing a bottle of pungent gin under the nose of a searching guard and yelling “Misu” (water) at him over and over until the guard stopped shaking his head and went away defeated in his search for gin. We also laughed over Yamato saying, “Please count off now” to the Baby House group of six mothers and 15 infants who couldn’t count to save their little pink skins, with Denki desperately patient, explaining all this to Tanabe and Yamato—”But don’t you see, they can’t count!” Roll Call is a gay spot in our lives, holding our dumbest and most addled moments. Tomibe told Miss McKim that all human reactions and emotions are the same whether it is a Japanese or an American fondness for children, that we are all alike in those things. Tomibe has a keen understanding of people. He looks intelligent from head to foot as he stands alone on the field, silently watching his staff and us. Then he makes a decisive move, after thinking it out first from watching the errors and the bungling. He speaks of his beautiful weapon handed down in the family as “my sword is too precious to be stained with the blood of people.” There is continuity of life, generation and spirit as the sword passes from one to another. He feels it is a spiritual matter, as he does about roll call. These people are heavy with symbolism and history. One cannot discard the past entirely, for the good and fine in it can be used.
All my time is spent in the dugout. It delights me out of all proportion to what has been put into it. For the children, it is home, real home. They come to it as a focus now. It is a warm, quiet, colorful gathering place. Bunches of onions and a frying pan are suspended from the rafters in one corner. Our electric wire was handed down from Kink to Dr. Hall to Bill Moule who traded it to us for a mattress cover. Water bottles, chromium, green pepper and pink tomatoes give highlights and cheer. Everything is simple. We have only to reach out a hand for spoon, plate or cup. No effort, yet Paradise enough.