Skip to content

November 9, 1944

We overheard Skerl and the doctors discussing the hens and the decreasing eggs. Now that camp does not peel the camotes [it] means that the hens get no skins to eat, so that there is almost no food for them, the sow or the piglets. Dr. Mather says, “Well, shall be go back to giving them the peelings?” and Skerl answers, “It all depends on what you want, If the hospital can get along on six eggs. never mind feeding the hens. We can kill some of the poorer layers.” Then they thrashed over whether to kill and eat, and how to feed them if they didn’t kill. It is one of the endless problems.

I wind up by telling June to get the teacher to arrange her geometry for another hour as she has to help her Dad at noon. God knows, if one is crazy enough to want geometry, heaven and earth should be moved to give it to her! This made her happy.

Then followed a night in which all the devils in hell were loose. It is what we have feared and not really had in three years—a typhoon of most violent nearness. Sometime in the night the center must have have come close to us and stuck there for outside our window a wind roared as if through a long endless funnel. The roar was steady, with no letup at all, with a drawn sound as though compressed into definite confined space. The velocity was terrifying and we moved about in total darkness trying to close windows, as the electricity was off. In the dentist’s office a window blew open, but only he had the key so no one could go in to stop it. It crashed and banged back and forth, with breaking glass panes added to the din of the night. Such precious panes being destroyed! The tin roof crashed off the water tank, windows shook and rattled, branches tore past. Upstairs the aides mopped the operating room, sopped up 13 bucketsful in [one] place alone; went up and down stairs in dim light or blackness, answering calls. About one, Betty burst in out of the storm, calling, “Bob! We want men and a light—the Baby House roof is blowing off.” She sounded desperate but the men answered, “You’ll have to get man-help from topside. We’ve been up all night here too and can’t spare anyone.” But the doctor went over as his wife and son were there. He found them without lights, no hammers or nails, holding down the roof by tying a rope to the rafters. Fortunately it worked but they were frantic for a while.Always there was the long steady roar and draw of wind between the two buildings, like a huge mass of animals in stampede or a primeval force unleashed. There is no sound like it. Once heard it stays in the mind forever. As though man had not been unkind enough, war not cruel enough, nature added to our terror and misery by striking with sudden and overwhelming fury. No one went into the flooded toilet except in great extremity. Wet beds and blankets and corners flooded. The kitchen upstairs was a sight, flooded, and the workers there were barefoot with slacks up to the knees. Operating tables were all pulled into the center of the room, blackout curtains dripping black over everything sterile. The dentist came down with his key, waded in to take sofa cushions out to dry, fasten the windows and pound a covering over the broken panes.