Skip to content

Sun. July 23, 1944

I am sure it has been over a year since I wrote last partly due to the fact that I was very busy, and also our life was somewhat monotonous –pretty much the same from week to week. Now I have time to spare and life is different. Over two weeks ago, Friday the seventh to be exact, Willie, Leo and I were eating our supper about five-thirty and four Japanese came to visit us. We had several visits before, so did not anticipate anything now. However they lined us up, read a document in Japanese and then one of them translated it into English. It was to the effect that we were to be interned and must be packed — ready to go at nine the following morning. We learned afterward that all the missionaries were notified at about the same time. We have not yet found out why the sudden change. Our baggage was limited to two suitcases, one bed or cot, and a roll of bedding. We managed to bring in some sugar scape and a few cans of meat.

Cecil was not at home when the officers came, so got a real surprise later. He and I have been doing some private tutoring to help meet expenses, so the first thing I did was to visit the homes where my pupils lived to tell them, and to visit the Saints as well as I could. About nine p.m. I met Willie at Funks and we continued to Cinco de Junio together. Then we returned home to pack! What a job! What a mess! What to take, and what not to take. I got to bed about one-thirty.

We had breakfast about six-thirty the next morning. The first friend came about seven. I went to the market to get mats for Willie and Leo, also toothbrushes and other necessities. I paid ninety pesos for two toothbrushes! I returned to the house about eight and found twenty or more of the friends there. I finished packing and then we visited a little. Most were in tears. An army truck came about nine-twenty. After checking our baggage a little, and looking at our papers, also looking into the different rooms in the house, we were told by the officer to get aboard, and off we went. Where to? We did not know. I hope I never have to witness such a sad parting again.

We were taken to the Santo Tomas camp where others were being assembled, too. Managed to have a visit with Ernest. Our baggage was examined, and then we were put in the large gymnasium. We were fed — fairly well, too — and all of us, men and women, spent the night on the floor. There were four hundred and fifty of us: priest, nuns, single men and women missionaries, and a few families with children. We were wakened about two in the morning, given a bite to eat and taken to Tutubon [Tutuban] railway station in trucks. Our baggage had disappeared. We were crowded into railway coaches, and after hours of waiting we finally came here to Los Baños, arriving about eight a.m., remaining in the cars. After another long wait, we were allowed to leave the cars and were lined up on the platform. Everyone was dead tired, as some had no rest for two nights. Leo was sick with indigestion and had vomiting spells. We were finally brought here to the camp in trucks, and counted and recounted. Then we were assigned to our barrack, given a lunch, rested a bit, got our baggage and after supper had a long sleep.

Our camp is in a delightful spot. We have no contact with those who came here before us, and we do not know why. We are busy with all kinds of work. We have our own kitchen going, and I have worked in it several times. At present I am cutting wood with Leo. Willie has been cutting grass and brush, and Cecil is in the sanitation squad. I have been doing a lot of barbering, and may share the job of camp barber with a Mr. Cook.

Last Sunday, our first full Sunday in camp, we went to the Union Service. The Catholics and Seventh-day-Adventists have their own services, of course. But today we four went out to the dining tables under the trees and had our own meeting. The peculiar circumstances in no way adversely affected our fellowship with God nor with each other.