Sgt Roman F. Klick 36620923
HS 1393 Engr APO 75
c/p SF Cal
10 June 1945
I heartily dislike the Philippine Islands - the area about Manila at least. At first I thought I would like this place like I have liked all previous locations and I had acted on the principle that it would be alright, but I can see now that it isn't going to be alright. To enumerate and itemize the various things which are different here than elsewhere. The weather is too much like Chicago - that alone is enough to kill my liking for anyplace. At first I thought just the sunsets were like those back home but everything is just like the Windy City. The heat is really hot and humid, the air is dusty and too windy and at night it is more apt to remain hot and sticky just like any dog-day back home. And still no letters, no furlough, no demobilization, no end of war in sight, no PX, no company area set up, no permanent tent to live in, no floors going to be in tents and I haven't gotten away from this monastery yet. I guess I'm just an embittered GI. Back in New Caledonia Jack and I figured that this war wouldn't or couldn't possibly last another thousand days but July 6 of 1946 ends the thousand days and I can see right now that we will probably be sitting right in this very spot. Quiet Me, that's enough complaints for the present - after all why tell you my troubles and try to get sympathy. Maybe one of these days I'll snap out of it and return to my normal adaptable self.
A funny incident occurred just now while I was typing the above paragraph. The St. Louis Blues began playing over the radio and out of the corner of my eye I was some movement and, believe it or not it was a lizard hopping around in one spot as if actually dancing to the song! We shined a flashlight on him and instead of slithering away, he actually raised himself up and sort of camelwalked to the wall and then jumped up on it. The strangest way I have ever seen a lizard act. I probably told you before that these Philippine lizards are ugly little things compared to the ones on the Canal. These are also poisonous whereas the others were not.
Poor Bill Grauel was supposed to have the day off today and stayed in bed through breakfast and was still in bed when we fellows went to work. He was going to have a lazy day. However, Ebner had to go on sick call with a headache or something and the doc told him to stay in his tent to rest up a bit so Captain Cook called Grauel back to work. So there went Grauel's day off and to top that off, we had to work this evening for a couple of hours hauling in gravel into the office and he had to get in on that. However, he finally was determined to get some sort of time to himself and dressed up in a new pair of khakis and went to a dance.
The reason they got around to the putting in of gravel was because it rained good and steady instead of the light showers we have had. The result was that the low spots in the office soon made their presence known by the water draining into them. Norona and I then set to work digging and enlarging the drainage ditches around the tents and even had to build dikes to keep it from coming in. You see, it was natural for all the water to drain towards the center during the years this ruin was unoccupied and now we had to correct that situation.
Also, before getting in on the gravel hauling detail, we clerks had to go over to another company to have the fellows initial their Demobilization Cards.
By the way, Bill Grauel's getting hooked for work today has given me an indication of how I will handle myself on my day off. I will wake up and conduct my business as I would on any normal day. Eat, wash up, fix up the tent area I occupy and then take off for town. Norona was off yesterday and did just exactly what I want to do when I go in - and that is look around the streets by hoofing it all over tarnation. He was a tired man when he returned and went right straight to bed. They say the Red Cross serves coffee and doughnuts plus an ice cold drink of lemonade. If I haven't any pesos by the time I get to go into Manila, it will be the Red Cross for me. In fact, I may have to depend on them anyway since I understand the Filipinos talk only in pesos and don't seem to know they have coin centavos. A peso for a cup of coffee, a coke, or almost any kind of drink. A three pesos for a steak dinner and so forth and so on. And I am not the type to pay that many pesos for anything no matter where I am.
The strangest thing happened to me this afternoon as I was returning from H&S Company for chow. You see, they are across the road and quite a good deal away from us. Anyhow, as I crossed the road a Filipino hailed me and asked me for directions on how to get to Manila. And I who haven't been away from this place told him how to get there. That is what comes of studying the road maps, but it does seem funny that an American has to tell a native how to get to the biggest city of the Pacific Islands. He probably was from some outer province and the provincials are just like downstate Illinoisers or Illini who never come up to Chicago.
The work went lousy today. For the first thing the Morning Reports began bad and that meant the first hour of the day was ruined and it never did get any better. About the only tangible bit of work I got out was a stencil and the officer war bond applications. I shudder when I think of all there is yet to do. And when I get that done, there will only be more work to take its place.
A Filipino came to the monastery today to find some stuff he tried to hide from the Japs before he left this area. He crawled up on top of the well house and removed several stones but whatever he had left, was gone now. He mentioned the tunnels and rooms beneath the monastery but he said he never would dare go down there because of the snakes. Captain Bellows said that this was ideal breeding grounds for snakes, old buildings, plenty of passageways and damp. So my interest in any further discoveries of the hidden secrets of this place has materially decreased.
We have a strange drain in the center of the office which although it can't handle too much at once, it works rather effectively for a minimum of water. It is merely a pipe driven about three feet into the ground - nothing more. And water just continues to disappear down it and the pipe never fills up although the base is solid rock. Evidently there must be a fissure leading into that tunnel which I mentioned as going straight down the middle of the church to the altar.
Solong, /s/ Roman Roman