H. Beaber - At Los Banos, Philippines - Sunday, 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 7th to be exact, Willie, Leo, and I were eating our supper about 5:30 and four Japanese came to visit us. We had had several visits before so did not anticipate anything now. However, they lined us up, read a document in Japanese and then one of then translated it into English. It was to the effect that we were to be interned and must be packed - ready to go at 9:00 the following morning. We learned afterward that all the missionaries were notified about the same time. We have not found out why the sudden change. Our baggage is limited to two suitcases, one bed or cot and a roll of bedding. We managed to bring in some sugar, soap, 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 visit the homes where my pupils lived to tell them and to visit the Saints as well as I could. About 9 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 6:30 the next morning. The first friend came about 7:00. I went to the market to get mats for Willie and Leo, also toothbrushes and other necessitates. I paid 90 pesos for 2 tooth brushes! I returned to the house about 8:00 and found 20 or more friends there. I finished packing and then we visited a little. Most were in tears.


An Army truck came about 9:20. 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. We were kept separate from the internees who had been there before, but we did manage 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 about 450 of us, priests, nuns, single men and women missionaries, and a few families with children.


We were awakened about 2 in the morning, given a bite to eat, and taken to Tutuban railway station in trucks. Our baggage has disappeared. We were crowded into railway coaches and after hours of waiting we finally came here to Los Banos, arriving about 8 A.M., remaining in the cars.


After another long wait, we were allowed to leave the cars and lined up on the platform. Everyone was dead tired as some had 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 a delightful spot. We have not contact with those who came here before us and we do no 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 on wood cutting with Leo. Willie has been cutting grass and brush and Cecil is on 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 the S.D.A.’s have their own of course. But today we four went out to the dining table under the trees and had out own meeting. The peculiar circumstances in no way adversely affected our fellowship with God nor with each other.