Child of War
A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Curtis Whitfield Tong was born in 1934 at the southwestern edge of the American imperium, in a town called Davao in southern Mindanao in the Philippines, where his American missionary parents ministered to local aboriginal tribes. He and his two sisters grew up playing with the local children and speaking a combination of Visayan, a local language, and pidgin English. ...
In 1994 I reunited for the first time with fellow Americans who as children had been imprisoned by the Japanese military in the Philippines. As I registered in the lobby of a Long Beach hotel, I spotted Reamo, my close boyhood buddy, whom I hadn’t seen in fifty years. Though he was dressed in coat and tie, I saw him as my shoeless and shirtless trusted playmate during...
Chapter 1: Davao, 1931-Aug. 1941
The Philippine archipelago stretches over one thousand miles and has seven thousand islands that extend from Namuao on the north shore of Luzon to Davao on Mindanao’s southern coast. Many of the islets are uninhabited but stunningly beautiful beacons of splendor. The entire archipelago, commonly known throughout Asia as the “Pearls of the Orient,” ...
Chapter 2: Baguio, Aug. 1941-Dec. 1941
The freighter ride to Manila was little different from earlier voyages on the inland sea. Again, we fought off seasickness, extreme heat, insects, and rodents. Dr. Brokenshire greeted us at the dock in Manila in his handsome white naval uniform. He spoke of the tension among American civilians in Manila. Many felt trapped after discovering that passage to the United States was unattainable. ...
Chapter 3: Camp John Hay, Dec. 1941-April 1942
For some indefinable reason, stepping into the barracks at Camp John Hay stands out from the flood of memories during my time as a child of war. Being suddenly restricted within a barbed wire fence and living in tight quarters surrounded by hundreds of depressed men and women gave me a hollow feeling of claustrophobia. ...
Chapter 4: Camp Holmes I, April 1942-Nov. 1942
The next morning, in a stunning surprise to everybody, Mr. Herold announced that in two days all internees would be moved to Camp Holmes in Trinidad. Holmes was located on the Bontoc Trail, about five miles north of Baguio. Mom knew Trinidad well, but had heard nothing about a prison there. ...
Chapter 5: Camp Holmes II, Dec. 1942-Dec. 1944
Toward the end of our first full year of imprisonment, with Christmas approaching, life in Holmes reversed course. In response to the sudden influx of new internees, Hayakawa became stricter. Commingling rules were tightened, evening activities occurred less frequently, and food was sparse. Quite suddenly, in fact, severe food shortages had become commonplace. ...
Chaper 6: Bilibid Prison, Dec. 1944-Feb. 1945
Nearing three in the morning, the grating sounds of steel gates opening slowly confirmed our arrival at dreaded Bilibid Prison. Our driver inched the truck backward through a narrow passageway bisecting an intricate network of steel-barred cellblocks. I wanted very much for the wheels not to stop and hung onto a wish that he would reverse direction and take us...
Chapter 7: Homeward Bound, Feb. 1945-April 1945
The last days at Bilibid toward the end of February raised us to spiritual and emotional heights. Our dreams of returning to America seemed close to becoming reality. Almost daily new lists of individual and family departure dates were posted. Postings allowed time for preparation and the swapping of future addresses with dear friends. ...
Our return to American soil allowed me to resume the life of a normal child and suppress my worst memories of the war. Yet I never forgot the the compassionate Commandant Tomibe of Camp Holmes, and when I had the opportunity to visit Japan I contacted him. Our several meetings, the last while on sabbatical with my wife and son in 1982...
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 776078818
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