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February 9, 1945

Friday, 6 p.m. The bombing has been terrific all afternoon, and many more fires are burning in our neighborhood. The Japanese are loading their stores on pushcarts and moving to a house on Taft Avenue. They are all under full pack and camouflaged with leaves. They only need a tail to make one think of beasts of burden, or just beasts.

I’ve been yelling about looting but some of our servants just showed up with cans of waterlily stems and crab flakes—from the Japanese stores. Later. They taste wonderful, too.

Furniture is tumbling around and the dishes are crashing. I have been resting my arms from hauling water from the well. The kids wanted me to read them a story and all I could lay hands on quickly that sounded like children’s reading was James Thurber’s Fables of Our Times. I don’t think his version of Little Red Riding Hood is orthodox, nor do the children! But they love to be read to.

The big gun on the boulevard that had such a special tone, seems silenced. Certainly hope so. We have no
news. Ermita and Malate districts are burning. We can see the flames sky high.

Confidentially, shot and shell aren’t half so bad to take as the plumbing problem! Eight people, four children among them, make a lot of bathroom traffic at any time, and with no water in the pipes, it’s hellish. We carry water from the well to the bathrooms, but it isn’t a very satisfactory method. I call it the “hot-and-cold- running-boy” system—only sometimes the boy is me.

Good old Sophia is the bright star among us. Her job is to wash, and she washes. She has her pans assembled
beside the well, has dug a ditch for waste, and there she squats, placidly washing. If it get too rough, she ambles to the shelter. And what’s more, she irons—with a huge charcoal iron she dug up from somewhere.