There wasn’t really much that I could remember during the war years. Much of my early childhood recollections have been in our house in the Sampaloc district of Manila after having returned from our Cavite refuge.
Our address was 849 Maria Cristina Sampaloc, Manila. This was something that one had to know by heart after having learnt to write your name. Post war Manila was a hive of frenetic activity and it was so easy for a little boy to get lost in the hustle and bustle. When lost it was convenient to have an address to give to those who found you.
People were rebuilding ruined homes and lives. Finding food was still the primary pursuit together with reconnecting with families who were scattered by a long protracted war.
GI goods and war surpluses were creating instant sources of living for quite a few with entrepreneurial spirit. I still feel a special warmth with memories of Hershey bars and other PX goods.
I remember being given by my mother a small can opener. The color of this gadget was fatigue green, army issue, I suppose. It was all I needed to fend for myself when left in the house while other members of the household were at work or out there like the rest of city hanging out in places where opportunities were bound to happen. Of the canned GI goods my favorite was pudding. With my trusty can opener I would open up a pudding can and gorge myself to my heart’s content with the sweet and glorious piece of America. Postwar childhood heaven!