Natalie Crouter

Natalie Crouter

(October 30, 1898 — October 15, 1985). Resident of Vigan and later Baguio in the Philippines. Interned by the Japanese with her family in Baguio, then Bilibid Prison in Manila.

Dec. 27, 1941

The Japanese army took over. They woke us at 11:30 P.M. and kept us standing in one small, crowded room until 2:30 A.M. checking off each one over and

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Dec. 29, 1941

Weak on mattress. Got up to wash, then collapsed. Seemed to have no middle and my head felt queer. They called us all onto the

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Mar. 4, 1942

Annoyances are inevitable in such close proximity and scarcity. One woman who usually loves children hopes not to see any for months after she gets

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Mar. 8, 1942

We are not starving but we thoroughly crave accustomed food. There is a definite unbalance to our diet besides the fact of only two meals a day.

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Mar. 9, 1942

The Chinese babies in camp get no milk, only rice gruel with vegetable juice added, and they thrive on it. None of them are sick,

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Apr. 8, 1942

I never expected to sew up tears in paper market bags in order to make them last. I pick out cloth from the trash can

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May 12, 1942

The old guards let the garbage detail go on a shopping spree before they departed, knowing full well that the new guards will be tough

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May 23, 1942

June is drawing paper-doll clothes in the dining room. The fresh sergeant stops to watch it. He takes a pencil, draws kimonos showing the men’s

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June 26, 1942

Rumor now says that Nakamura [the camp commandant] is being promoted to Tarlac Prison Camp, where our Army is located. He is gratified but still

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June 30, 1942

Nakamura seemed sorry to go, for he has watched over our trials and tried to straighten out some of the tangled months. We could search

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July 8, 1942

Jerry fried out some pork and he gave me some of the crisp remains. It tasted so good and I was so hungry for it

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July 11, 1942

In some ways I live in a world of my own with these notes that are an outlet, saving wear and tear on other people.

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July 21, 1942

Jim Halsema was announcer for Major Bozo hour, our first Amateur Night, with Concentration Rice the sponsor—“in seven different flavors—burnt, coconut, caramel, perspiration, cockroaches, fish,

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Aug. 5, 1942

After the evening lecture came the fashion show with the parade of Concentration Modes, Inc. Much curtain material was in evidence. Delia, Inc., made up

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Sept. 14, 1942

Toyko rages over our inhuman treatment of internees in America, moving them from camp to camp making a seventy-year-old man work, kicking a thirteenyear-old boy

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Sept. 25, 1942

Jerry’s disposition is certainly not normal. He has no appetite or pep, looks thin, just pushes around and has no hope of any American approach

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Sept. 27, 1942

Jerry brought sub-coffee, fried mush, and pomolo in sugar for early breakfast. I tied my hair back, unbraided, which seems to make me look younger,

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Oct. 15, 1942

By chewing on my front teeth I can enjoy one peanut at a time. A number of New England habits have been invaluable in this

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Nov. 19, 1942

During Special Diet serving, eight booted officers, including a real live general, inspected camp with a bodyguard of eight soldiers with bayonets. These last pressed

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Nov. 27, 1942

A type of rugged camp humor: One man raved about marriage and his love for his wife, which grows with the years like a flower.

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Dec. 1, 1942

During lunch, after several days buildup of watching and trailing Mr. Menzies, the guards beat him. They found a five-gallon can and four bottles of

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Dec. 14, 1942

It is a constant struggle to get spoons enough to set the table, bowls in line, to keep track of tins or soap. Once a

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Jan. 1, 1943

A New Year is here, and we hope again, as we hoped all of 1942, but we are still concentrated, our teeth crumbling, our bodies

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Jan. 2, 1943

I sat in the common room waiting for Jerry to make cocoa after checkers. All around were couples, pitiful couples, hungry for each other and

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Feb. 1, 1943

Jerry made a Parmesan-cheese omelette with the things from [outside] and four eggs, with rice flour to give it body. A taste of cheese after

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Feb. 27, 1943

The chef is in a bad mood. He gave one and a half stuffed cabbage rolls to the men, which miscalculation deprived thirty-five women of

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May 7, 1943

Jerry is still chuckling over an episode in the shop. He was sharpening his small knife on the small whetstone when he was sudden confronted

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May 29, 1943

The guards saw Eric and his wife eating together at the shop. They asked if it were husband and wife, and they said yes. A

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July 3, 1943

While Jerry took a long sleep, I went to the handicraft exhibit until he joined me. It is unique. It combined county fair, arts and

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