H. Beaber - At Los Banos, Philippines - Tuesday, October 17, 1944

And it is still rainy. But the garden grows right along and we have string beans and green corn. This garden truck becomes more valuable to us as our food rations are being cut every week.

I have a new job now. With a crew of 5 men, I am in charge of carrying food from the main kitchen to our barracks, then to ladle it to each person in as even a distribution as possible. Rather a hard task when everyone is desperately hungry and food is lacking.

Today, we three younger boys had out turn at wood-carrying again. There is a lack of transportation and from 30 to 40 men must go up on the on the mountain each day to carry wood down. It was very wet and muddy today.

We have “alerts” and air-raids frequently now. Sunday, we saw a large flight of our own planes go over. It was a beautiful sight. I wish the end would come soon.

Our conversation often turns to food these days. Actually, I never saw so many ribs before in all my life. Willie is very thin and although Leo is not so thin, he has much trouble with his stomach. There is absolutely no choice of food now, take the little there is or leave it. Often, after meals, unless we are in a hurry to go to work, we sit and talk about food, good food. Willie will mention he would like some buttered toast! And we have had no bread for about two and a half years! Then that sets us off, and we go through all the various breads, to pies, to cakes, back to the butter and then thru all the milk products - cream, cheese, etc. I would like some beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We think of spaghetti with cheese and tomato sauce. We run the gamut of salads from raw vegetables to fruit; we think of pancakes and waffles, we yearn for a drink of milk, one bite of an apple! Fried chicken! We ask each other if such things actually exist any longer! Pie a la mode is mentioned, and some one is so far gone that he asks, “What is that?” Our mouths water when we think of peas, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, beets, roast beef, lamb chops… and remember we have not seen any of these things for months, yes, for years. Candy, chocolate, honey would be the food of the gods to us now. One would like a dish of strawberries with cream, another a peach cobbler, how about a Sunkist orange or a Washington Delicious apple. And the humble prune? I would mortgage my life for a mouthful!!

     

A few days ago, I was reading a story about a boy who lived on a cattle ranch in the U.S. Incidentally, it told of his breakfast. He put a large hot-cake on his plate, slid two fried eggs from the platter on to the plate, on the cake, and then put another cake on top. I could not continue the story - it was impossible.