H. Beaber - In the Philippines - Tuesday, January 6, 1941-1942

I phone several places to try to find out what is expected of us. The city is still in confusion. No one is supposed to be on the streets after dark. We see several cars and trucks with Japanese taking Americans some place, but do not know whether they are going to a camp or going home after being questioned. We are quite restless and wish something would happen.

About 6 P.M., Ernest spotted a Japanese car on our street and hailed the man and talked to the officer. He was out after Americans or British, so he came into the house and told us to get ready as soon as possible. He was in a hurry as it was getting dark and he wished to get us registered before to late. Told us we would only be there two or three days and not to take much except a little food. (We believed him.) We snatched a few canned goods, our blankets, and went with him to the car. He was quite friendly and kind to us and kept talking to Ernest in Japanese, although he knew some English, too. The other folks in the house were much upset when we left. Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez could not keep back tears, and Mr. Cayabyab and his neighbour happened to be there at the house and too bid us a sad farewell.

     

We were taken first to the Rizal Memorial Stadium where we were registered:  name, age, business, address, etc. Then we were bundled back into the car and taken to Santo Tomas University grounds. What a crowd! What a noise! What confusion! Actually thousands of people! And all were wandering around not knowing what to do, nor where to go. We were kept in the main building. They told us to look for a place to sleep but all the rooms were full, and real full, I mean! And the halls were not exactly empty, either. We found five chairs that were not occupied and decided to spend the night in them. One of us would guard our little bundles and the others would scout around to see what could be seen or heard. It looked as if we were just thrown in and expected to take care of ourselves.

     

I was guarding the things when the boys came back and reported that another building was to be opened up for the overflow. But where was Leo? We could not find him. The Japs lined us up outside and we did not know whether to take Leo’s things or not and could not leave them behind very well. We marched off into the dark but it happened we did not go very far and Leo turned up, so all was okay. We were put in the Annex or Elementary Dept. Bldg. There were a number of rooms and we being at the head of the line got into an empty room and had first-choice of location.


There were a number of small desks there, very small chairs and a low platform (wooden) about six inches off the floor. I pushed the desks together in such a way that the tops made a bed about 36 inches long. That took four desks. Another such arrangement along side of me was Cecil’s place. And the seat part of the desk being nearly flat when pushed up against the other set made another bed-like contrivance. Leo took that. It was not very comfortable as it was higher in the middle than on the sides. Willie and Ernest slept on the wooden platform by our side. Some beds! But they were better than the cement of which the floor was made. Each one had a blanket but the wood was hard. The mosquitoes were the worst of all as we had no nets.


Morning finally came.