Carl E. Rice WW2 Memoirs: January 1st, 1944 to April 30th, 1944

So now, I’m back to transcribing (for now). It obviously takes time to transcribe my grandfather’s memoirs instead of just posting a scan of the page itself, but transcribing draws a better response. It was just easier to post scans, especially since the events of 1943 were rather mundane, all things considered. But as we get deeper into 1944 the situation becomes more dire, which makes it more important to pay closer attention…especially the last entry of this page…

Jan 1 to April 30, 1944—New Year, 1944; Weight 162 lbs; Cash (Jap) 176.45 (at this point my grandfather was 66 years old)

Henry (my uncle, by this time about 17 years old) sent some food and a letter that all are well;

Feb. 1, 1944—weight 164 lbs.

Jays closed the package line Feb. 7, 1944; will now be almost impossible to contact family; family sent in supplies every day in Feb up to 7th; Arthur’s (another uncle of mine, now about 13 or 14) toothbrush was last item in, a letter was written inside the box, tell me where to look for another letter; they sent me about 30 lbs of brown sugar and a coffee can of white sugar and several lbs of coffee; the food sent in increased my weight two lbs in one week.

The Jap army now have charge of the Camp; they are putting us on what they say is the equal of the Jap soldier ration.

Meat is now very scarce, and the rice and corn meal is poor quality. Coconut milk is still issued but it is mostly water; the people who make and sell it now cannot get any more nuts.

A Jew sells hot cakes every morning; there is so much dirt in our rice and corn that we lose much of our ration when we run it through the cleaner.

Every one able has to do some work preparing the garden; are also planting bananas and papaya; vegetables are small onions, capotes; eggplant, tulinum, a green for soup.

The Japs have never given camp any money, clothing or medicine; I was detailed to work one p.m. in garden but was put to hauling rotten Jap radishes to the fertilizer dump, they were too rotten for us to eat.

March 11, 1944—First blackout.

March 25th—Sent post card to Ada (his sister; my great aunt, who was a professor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, my home town).

April 1st—Had first air alert; also now have blackout every night

April 5th—Sent 100 pesos to family

April 6th—Received two letters from Ada dated Aug 2 and 25, 1943 (basically took 8 months to arrive in the Philippines from Kansas during a time of war, or rather, to be delivered). Also a letter for Nena (my grandfather’s ward, now about 19) from her Aunt.

April 25th— Shanties are now being moved back from the wall.

Many old timers are now beginning to slip; are getting discouraged and are beginning to think will not get through. Food gets poorer in quality and quantity is less.

April 29th, 1944—The generosity of the magnanimous Jap High Command on this birthday of his Imperial Majesty etc etc allowed our families to visit us for one half hour. The whole family came, they were very well dressed but were thin and are just about half starved. Have money but it is not worth much and food is very hard to get; they all acted like were afraid to tell me something I would not like to know, that would make me feel bad. When the time came to go it was hard, all of us seemed to know that terrible times were ahead, last out were Nena, crying, and brave little Arthur with a smile on his freckled face and a wave of his hand as he went from me forever, that’s the last time I was ever to see him, for he was to die in the fiery hell of the Malate Massacre (another name for the forthcoming Battle of Manila in February 1945).

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