'SWEETIE' 3RD LETTER
It was swell getting first hand news of you and my precious rats thru Chuck. He only had two minutes to talk on the phone at the hospital so could only our questions which I had written down for him.
Today is practically a week since I have been in stir–and I can only say that it is surprisingly okay. Of course, conditions cannot compare to being at home, but with a few adjustments for personal comforts, it is not bad. No privacy, line-ups for everything, including a drink of water; and in my case living on the main staircase landing has its difficulties in dressing and changing; food is plentiful and substantial (two weeks) which would soon get monotonous if it were not possible to join a shanty mess for noon meals. All of the inconveniences however in my case are not noticeable. In fact they are so much better that I had expected that I feel pleasantly surprised. My temperament makes adjustments easy also–so I am really enjoying a picnic.
Naturally I miss you dear ones, but remember our four months together, which many of the Santo Tomas husbands have missed–how lovely we have been.
As yet I have not had my permanent arrangement to share expenses of a shanty as I hoped to get the tarpaulin and put up my own –hows that Sadako says no can do, I shall get together with someone for the noon meal, and use the – for loafing (it’s grand). So far I have eaten with Dick Thomas, Claude Russel, and the Gilmores.
Re food, Chuck told you that the last arrangement for me is for you to plan sending a rice and market sack regularly with a supply of unprepared articles which I can constitute a mess. For instance, send a supply of salad vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc.) another day all fruit; then say a chunk of meat for steaks. If you could figger on spending from one to two pesos per packaging I believe this contribution to the mess would be about right. Your package today is just the thing –but much too much. It was received after I wrote the note.
I am sending you the peanut butter can and calamancy bottle, please fill and send back –they are popular in the shantys. Bucayo and panocha are also popular.
The food you last sent has been swell and I have eaten it at the shanty with the others. If I were alone here with a shanty it would be the way to get food; but the best arrangement is to share a shanty and put food together.
Sweetie, I need my finger nail clippers –they are above the mirror in my bathroom. Clippers received later, you must be psychic? I also need a bit of steel wool to clean charcoal black from the bottom of my pots. It is in the bottom of the ice box where your recipe books are.
An item which I think we should consider soon is that of getting a supply of vitamin pills at least 200. You can get ABD at Malate Drug Store for 8 pesos for 100. Vitakops at Ermita Drug Store costs 14 pesos for 100. Ask Dr. Katigbak to price them for you at Malate and Ermita. He may get reduced price.
I have one note for you through the censors. The last sentence was crossed out. I shall number my notes (this is three). Be sure to let me know if any number is missed. I shall always put a note in the dirty clothes somewhere, and I want you to try sending words in a pocket of my clean clothes. It may or may not work, but let’s try.
Re renewal of your passes –I had a talk with Bert Holland this morning and he says it will be best for you to come personally, bringing Toots pass and letter from doctor saying Toots is ill, and one saying that Patrick requires medical attention. He will put through the extension quickly. I will meet you through the gate (as close as I can get) at 9:30 and have everything set for you. If you come on the bike, lock it to the gate fence outside before coming in. I shall be tickled to see you, and you will have a chance to see your friends and can show you ‘shanty’s and everything –maybe arrange for you to stay for lunch (not sure of this however). Anyway, Bert says the Nips are getting suspicious of people sending people to extend passes–and apparently the Red Cross is not so well accredited here. You have nothing to worry as mothers with children under 2 years of age are given passes, but Toots would be definitely be brought in unless a medical reason exists to stay out. I recommend the use of ‘chronic kidney trouble requiring constant medical attention’ or something like that–and for Patrick ‘teething with diarrhea’ will help and have the letter show that Patrick is an infant of 12 months. Let me know this in the everyday package that you will be coming so that I can arrange everything ahead of time.
I was so glad to hear that Patrick had improved. It is bad enough to be here with sickness at home, and I don’t like to have the helpless feeling of one of the rats or you being ill when I can do nothing but hope.
Also good news was that you had no visitors. This really had me worried for the first day or so; I have always felt that the moment I went to STIC it would be open season on personal effects. At least that was the situation in the early days. Thank goodness it has changed.
Is George now okay? As soon as he make the deliveries I shall have Van and Hoover and Dick Brown (who lives in the corner house next to Wagners’) look out for him each Monday, Wednesday and Friday and get any verbal message from you.
Be sure to put my name on the outside of each package sent. I nearly lost a melon Friday which was in a cloth sack with no name. The best bet would be to get a couple of savable market sacks and get Esteban to paint ‘C Parsons’ on the outside (he has some black fender paint which would be the thing); then no tag would be necessary. Laundry can be wrapped in a trapo or with paper, with name on packaging. Honey, I am sorry for all this trouble, and I hope it will soon be an easy routine. If it continues to be a trouble I can actually get by with nothing from home–even doing my own washing, but as long as the lavandera works anyway, and as long as Juan goes to the market anyway it will make it easier here to get the package 3 times a week.
How are the servants feeling? Are they all satisfied now?
News of all sorts gets into here, words from people who come in from outside so we keep posted. Can you get the important stations still?
Last night we had a swell show–2 hours of professional talent Dave Harvey and girls, Whitney Smith (that is what I heard) male clowns, Joyette , and others. Whitney Smith sang a medley of all songs, which brought my heart up into my throat. I sat out on the ledge alone outside the second storey overlooking the patio and listening to good old songs with a moon overhead was almost more than I could stand.
Lois sends her regards. I have breakfast at 9am everyday with Lois, Ero, Chuck Powley; lunch at same shanty and supper out at the LINE tables, usually sitting (by choice) with different people each night to avoid monotony. And talk about people I have never seen so many friends in my life. I am almost tongue-tied and lock-jawed from saying hello; you will see how it feels next Sunday (by the way don’t wear shorts; slacks or a dress are okay).
I understand the 29th will be a big day of celebration, I strongly suggest keeping gates locked, dogs loose and stay close to house that day.
I love you so much sweetheart, and look forward to the day we can be together again. I miss my pal, and my partner Mike and my tiny buddy Pat–and most of all I miss my gal–and thank God daily for such wonderful family and for keeping you all in good health and unbothered. Be good, Sweetie. Lots of care
How’s the garden? Did Helge go again to Santiago? Please call Fr. Julius at 22095 and get him to tell Archbishop I am here–I forgot. Did Carlos react favorably to the idea of sending food to the stevedores as I suggested?
Kats: since writing this I found your packages which came in today at the Lost and Found room–I didn’t go to lines this morning as I didn’t expect pees. Thanks a million for the grand cake and chicken –you’re a real Sweetie Pie –Boy oh boy grilled chicken and devils food cake –and they call this war!
Notes to third letter:
Parsons’ reference to being in STIC almost a week lends itself to the belief he was put in there on April 21 (the day before his birthday—it is interesting he never mentions this latter event). The Thursday letter is given a date, the 23rd, so he might have gone in on a Tuesday. This third letter is written on a Sunday, the 26th—making it the sixth day or “practically a week.”
Do not know who “Chuck” is or what the hospital situation is: ie. Is Parsons in the hospital or is Chuck? It would seem that the person in the hospital is Chuck, but it is probably Parsons himself, as I find it hard to think he could have access to a telephone inside of STIC.