Thursday, July 10, 2003


Chap14, part 6

Toma's model occupies a place of honor in my home at Burlingame, Calif. And not far from it, mounted and polished, is that empty flare shell from which we drank our doles of water and with which Jimmy Reynolds sluiced my head and neck during our first effort to land on the island.

In the early evening of Nov. 14 we experienced the real thing in the way of rescue. A naval vessel, commanded by Lieut.-Comm Frank A. Monroe Jr., reached the island and took us aboard. The medical officer, Lieut. Richard W. Garrity, assumed charge of us and we said our good-byes to the natives.

Just before going, I asked Toma what he would like me to send him. He grew very shy and assured me he wanted nothing. I pressed him. I said I had accepted his gifts and that I should be grieved if he declined mine. Finally, in a low voice he said something about enjoying a cake of soap; or half a cake, if a whole one would be too much to manage.

By now, Toma is the owner of three suits of cottons, a carton of soap, and many times the number of cigarettes he gave to me. There are some other things, too. The store of worldly goods I sent him undoubtedly made Toma the largest property owner on the island. I hope he is a chief when and if I ever see him again.

The chief of the village accompanied us to the water, inviting us to return when the war is over and make our homes on the island. He said that to be sure we would like it there we might come for a short, temporary visit of say a year or so. Meanwhile, he would build an addition to his house so that we all might live together.Mp<
"Make chummy," he explained.

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