There are no family photographs, only memories. Memories of a five-year old imprisoned by Japanese soldiers. Memories of love, courage and most of all hope. Hope that there was a God who would walk through the valley of death, known as WWII, with her. And He did.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Coconut Soldiers
Poor Greta had my blood all over her arms and her clothes and even a little bit on her face. She was crying but she was listening to Mammie telling her what to do. I wish I was as strong as her. One day I will be.
Against Mammie's wishes, Greta had made friends with a few of the soldiers and today it helped us. She walked Mammie and me to the gate and sweetly asked if we could go to a doctor. There is no doctor inside our camp. I don't really remember what the soldier said, but he let us go. Mammie, me and my brother Frederick were allowed outside the camp. Greta had to stay behind.
"I'll be all right, Mammie. Trust me," she said.
The doctor was only a street away and Mammie carried me there. Frederick in the meantime decided to get himself into trouble. Why are boys that way? I guess being free was too much temptation. We don't know where he got the money from but he bought himself a couple of coconuts from a street vendor. He tried to hide them under his shirt. Looked rather silly if you ask me.
There were soldiers walking on the streets and Frederick seemed a tad bit too suspicious for their liking. They kept an eye on him which I suppose was good for me. Soldiers can always change their mind and tell us to go back to camp. They had Frederick to deal with now.
Finally we made it to the doctor's house. He wasn't very happy to see me. Frederick was not allowed to come in. I could tell that Mammie worried about that. But she had no choice. Brother was still trying to hide his coconuts. The soldiers still watched him. Then suddenly they shouted at him to give up the coconuts.
"I paid for them," Frederick yelled.
"You stole them," they said.
Then he darted off down the street. Mammie screamed at him to run back to the camp. He must have heard her cause that's where he ran off to. The last thing I saw was Frederick throwing his coconuts at the soldiers and them throwing their bamboo spears at him. They missed. I am sorry, but I had to laugh. At least it took away my pain for just a second.
The next half hour, however, was the hardest half hour of my life. My wound was not washed and the doctor had no anesthesia. He just sewed me up like I was a dress or something and he kept telling me not to move. Mammie said it was okay if I cried. I didn't want to, but I did. She held my hand for a long time. I wasn't scared anymore as she sang "Safe In The Arms of Jesus." Then everything went black.
When I woke up Mammie was carrying me back to camp where we found Greta and Frederick waiting for us at the gate.
"I lost my coconuts, Mammie," Frederick said.
Everyone laughed, even the soldiers.