Interviewer: Nicole Dasig
Interviewee: ???, philippines
"Everything was in Japanese, the school work, exercises. It was just plain Mad. English did just plain not exsist."
My mother had died when I was about 4 years old. That’s all I could think about her warm touch and the smell of baked bread. Well, that was very far back. The present you ask? I’m stuck here in a shelter in the middle of World War 2. The men in the back, woman in the middle and children in front so that when the Japanese came in they saw us first.
It isn’t hard to explain how I had gotten in this position. I was born in Chicago and had come back to the Philippines due to my mother’s death. My father had owned an apartment complex in the Philippines and had many tenants. There I grew up a normal girl doing what normal girls are supposed to do. Then one day, the Japanese entered our apartments looking for a man who supposedly was working for the Americans. They demanded my father to open all the doors so they could search and find him. My father said that he didn’t know and the people who lived in the complex had their own lives and come and went as they pleased. They didn’t believe what he was saying so they took him away into custody. They brought him to on of their bases and interrogated him. It isn’t the interrogating they use now days like lie detectors and such; it was the rough, harsh kind of interrogating. They hung him by his toes to the ceiling and beat him up asking him over and over again if he knew anything about the man who was working with the Americans. My father did not answer for he didn’t know a thing. They did some very harsh, hurtful torture. If you had long fingernails they set fire to them until all your fingernails burned off. My father had asked for water and instead they cut him down and stuck a hose down his throat as if they were attempting to drown him. After many days of interrogating, they finally let him go. When he returned to us, he was badly beaten and he couldn’t even walk or wear shirts because of the wounds on his back. It was horrible. When we finally settled back in our home with my father back, the Japanese came barging through the door and had taken my cousin. They usually take the boys or men to work. He was taken in a truck out front with some other men and he was never seen again.
A couple weeks later we were evacuated out of our home. The Bombs were coming down and we could not stay any longer. We had to stay in a shelter. We then were evacuated again and had to cross a river to get across where the Americans were waiting, but there was on problem. There was only one small canoe to transport all the families in the boat. It was a big problem because there was so many of us. Some refused to stay or the long wait of the boat, because you had to get your family to the other side and have one family member bring the boat back. The people who refused went back to the shelter and decided it was safer to stay their then cross the river. Luckily for us our turn arrived quickly and we got across the river. When we
arrived we were looking for shelter and we happened to find a place by the fence were the Americans were! We were so relieved! My brother spoke to them in English and told them we were American citizens; they gave us more food and many other things. The next morning when we had woken up, we found out the shelter we stayed at had been a direct target for a bomb we were so relieved that we went across the river or we could have all died!
A couple years later after the war ended, I was back to my normal life. We had our own house and own property. We had moved to a nice neighbor hood in the Philippines, which also came with this really cute guy named Nick. We started talking and he wanted to impress my father, so one day he brought what my father had wanted a banana tree! He brought it in and planted it in our yard. Believe it or not, it still had the fruits on it! After that we were inseparable. We got married and had 6 wonderful daughters.
One of Nick’s ambitions was to see America. I told him he could, being that I was already an American citizen. When we came back to America I had nothing left. I came with my children and 4 suitcases. I built my life, tried to build a future for my kids and best of all I built a foundation for all my family and grandchildren to come.
I have done some things I am not proud of that I would not like to go back on, but it was all worth it. The best thing about this whole thing though? I can tell my grandchildren a nice story!