Monday, June 23, 2008

THE DAUGHTER MY FATHER LOST IN THE WAR



The picture above is of my sister. I have never met her. She does not know I exist. It is a picture that my father cherished until his death. She was born to him and his Filipina girlfriend in October/ Nov 1941, just prior to the start of hostilities in the Philippines. At the time of the bombing of Manila, my father was going through the necessary red tape to marry this Filipina. When the 31st Infantry moved out, it was the last he saw of his intended wife. During his captivity in Cabanatuan, not that far from Manila and unknown to him of course, she was raped and murdered by the Japanese. His daughter was rescued by the Catholic Church and put into their orphanage.


Her name was Angela. Soon afterwards, a Filipino doctor in Manila by the name of Augusto Cortez and his American wife, adopted Angela. My father was still destined at this time for a ride in the Hellship Nissyo Maru and an apprenticeship as a coal miner in a Japanese coal mine not far from Nagasaki. Its designation was Keisen #23. At this point, my father had seen and experienced so many unspeakable acts of cruelty and barbarism and enough tragedies for 20 lifetimes. More were yet to come.
At wars end and at deaths door, weighing 88 pounds, he was rescued and sent to Madigan General Hospital in the state of Washington. There he spent many months recovering his health and released in the spring of 1946. His every thought since his realization that he was not going to die but very likely survive, was of his girlfriend and his daughter. His parents and family had visited him at the hospital.
From this point on, his thoughts were to go back to the Philippines as soon as possible and search for his girlfriend and daughter. It wasn't until late in 1946 that he was able to finance and receive transportation from the Army to the Philippines. With the help of the local Philippine government, he was to discover the fate of his girlfriend and that his daughter had gone into an orphanage. It was a discovery that tortured him as much as any Japanese beating or bayonet. He then began the search for his daughter. In short order he found the orphanage and the records showed who had adopted her and where she was.
As soon as possible, he telephoned the Doctor and his wife and explained who he was and why he was in Manila. He made an appointment to see them. He met with them one evening at their home in a prestigious neighborhood at 3045 Taft Ave. in Pasay City, a rural area of Manila. It was an emotional meeting in which they pleaded with him to leave her with them. Having the good sense that he did and his daughters best interest in mind, he decided to leave her with the only family she had ever known. They were good parents and loved her dearly, it was plainly evident. After telling them his decision, he said he wanted to meet her. They decided that he would be introduced as uncle Richard. I can only surmise what went through his mind and his heart at this moment. He left that evening with the above picture of Angela in his pocket and the understanding that the Doctor and his wife would send pictures and updates about Angela as she grew and matured. They did this faithfully until something happened in 1960 and contact was lost with them. The picture of Angela sat in a frame next to his bed until he passed away in 1988.
Through some investigating and the help of Mr. James Litton in Manila, I discovered that Angela married an ethnic Chinese man in 1961-62 and emigrated to another country. She is nearing the age of 67 and at this point in time and to this day she has no idea who her real father or mother were and that she has a brother. I have done what I can within the scope of my ability to find her and have failed.
So, in requiem to a lost sister and heartsick soldier/ father, I have posted this story in memory to what could have been. I did not come along until 1948. When I reached the age to where I can remember, the picture of Angela was always on the nightstand next my fathers side of the bed and after he passed away, I was the one to box it up and remove it from the light of day where it had been for 42 years. It wasn't until five years ago that I unpacked it and began my search for her. Her picture now sits on my desk next to a picture of a young Filipino girl who I sponsor through "Children International". It is my attempt to link my father through me to a young Filipino girl in a nuturing relationship. She is a sweetheart and writes me interesting letters of her life and family. Someday soon, I will meet her and embrace her as I would my sister, would I have had the chance to find her.
Robert Hudson

The above article was posted in 2007. Since I retired and moved to Bataan in early 2012, I have continued my research and was fortunate enough that one of my sisters sons happened across this blog and saw the photo of my sister and recognized it as his mother. I was contacted by my newly discovered nephew who lives in Manila. He and his brother will meet me on December 16th of this year 2012, and the great mystery and search of my life has concluded with my sister dying in 2009 of cancer, however, also discovering that I now have three nephews and three nieces I never knew about.
Dad, I did the best I could. Your two families are now joined together and they are aware of your great sacrifice and your family history. I hope you are smiling as am I.  With love, your Son. 

3 comments:

Linda said...

What tragedies and losses so many have suffered throughout history, due to the evil in some of mankind. Such stories must be heard, must be shared. How else can society change their attitudes, perceptions and assumptions and thus make a difference.

Linda
Fukuoka Camp 17 Project Manager

Bataan Son said...

Linda,

The driving force behind this blog is to thrust onto people computer screens
the harm that evil has perpetrated on the soldiers and civilians of this conflict. You and I play a small part in this endeavor. Our part is to generate heat so that the discomfort impels others into action.

Thank you for your insightful comment.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting finding and searching where is your now.I had been looking for my grandfather too and i dont have either his picture.All i have is the short incomplete story of my grandma.Sad, but this remain history.Please share more about WW2.
Truly,
Gracy from Philippines