It was my usual routine to go to town to search for food, even in abandoned gardens or yards when no planes were overhead.
With my jute sack, I roamed the streets for bananas, papayas, coconuts, or anything “eatable.”
My eyes popped wide open when I saw papaya and banana trees full of fruit inside a garden. I went inside the yard and I saw a big door-like hole on the ground with a stairway leading inside.
I placed my sack at the entrance and went inside to investigate. Nobody was around. I started collecting some “salvarsan” medicine and wires to tie up the blown-away roof of our hut.
Very soon I heard voices upstairs. They were Japanese voices! I said: “Diyos ko” (My Lord), then dropped what I had in my hands and climbed upstairs.
There at the doorway were two Jap “Kempeitai” (MPs) pointing their guns at my face, asking me why I was there.
Without fear whatsoever, I said I owned the property and that I came to get my papayas and bananas.
At my voice speaking their language, they were both transfixed like statutes, paralyzed!
One of them finally managed to speak, telling me to get them and not go back there anymore.
I got my sack, filled it with papayas, then said: “Sayonara,” and left.
Then when I was finally out of their sight, my knees started shaking and I could barely walk home. I told Pat what happened and she made me promise not to go out again. Praise the Lord.
* Kempeitai is the designation of secret Japanese MilitaryPolice, who were known for their brutality, inhumanity, and who killed all their prisoners after extracting from them by torture information about Philippines guerillas and non-collaborators to them. JBS