Thursday, November 22, 2012

My sister Angela / Leonida

My father Early 1947

A story that began in Manila seventy one years ago, ended two weeks ago in Limay, Bataan. 
My father, an American, soldier stationed in Intramurros Manila since 1936 was happily ensconced in his duty and with his life. His Filipino fiancée and he had a daughter while they were waiting for permission from the U.S. Army to be married.
On December 8, 1941 that all ended when the Japanese attacked the Philippines. My father, Tech. Sgt Richard C. Hudson who worked at the Quartermaster Depot, Post of Manila was suddenly shipped to Corregidor and then Lamao Bataan, never having a chance to say farewell to his fiancée and daughter. He would never see his fiancée again.
After the bitter fighting on Bataan, he suffered the Bataan Death March, three weeks in Camp O’Donnell, a hellish Road Work Detail in an area known as Tayabas and then two years in Cabanatuan. He was eventually shipped to Japan on a Hellship on July 17, 1944 and became a slave laborer in a Japanese coal mine very near Nagasaki.
In 1945 when the war ended, he was taken to Madigan General Hospital in the U.S. and spent six months recovering from the various diseases and vitamin deficiencies and the effects of long term starvation. All he could think of since the war began was how his fiancée and daughter were. In April of 1946 he was able to return to Manila and look for his family. He went to his fiancée’s family home and they told him that shortly after the war began she was raped and murdered by the Japanese. They had no means to care for his daughter and they had taken her to the Hospicio de San Jose orphanage and dropped her off knowing that they would care for her.
My father went to the orphanage and with their help, discovered who had adopted his daughter. It was a Filipino doctor by the name of Augusto Cortes who worked at the San Juan De Dios Hospital and his American wife, Blanche Brinker. He contacted them and informed them who he was and why he was there. They met right away and spoke about his daughter who he had named Angela. Her adoptive parents had renamed after adoption to Leonida. The doctor and his wife were frightened and begged my father not to take her. By this time, his daughter was almost six years old. My father could tell that the doctor and his wife loved Angela and provided a good home for her. He did not have the heart to take her from the only family she had ever known. He asked to see her and was introduced to her as Uncle Richard. When he left the home of the doctor that day, he left with a photo of Angela (Above) and was never to see her again. He also had the promise from the doctor that he would send letters and photos about Angelas life which he received until 1960 when communication was lost and he never heard from them again.
My father, for the remainder of his life had that photo of his six year old daughter in a frame on a nightstand next to his bed until he died in 1988. A day or two before he died, he asked me to find my sister and I promised I would although I had no idea how to even begin. With the advent of the internet in the 1990’s, I began some searching but got absolutely nowhere.
In 2004, a friend in Manila named James Litton hired an investigator and he was able to discover some information which at first I believed to be true but some eventually proved to be false. I knew for sure that Angelas adoptive parents had died but had no idea what happened to Angela. In 2007, I began this blog of the war in the Philippines which became somewhat popular. In it I posted the story and photo of my sister. It is further down in this blog. The photo was the one that sat next to my fathers bed for 42 years. I had been heavily involved with POW groups and took a tour of the Philippines in November of 2011 with Edna Binkowski. I met Ednas sister Rosalie at Ednas home and we fell in love. I retired in January of this year and moved to Bataan to continue my research and hopefully find my sister.
Two weeks ago, I received an email from a man who read my blog and recognized the photo of my sister. He recognized it because he had an oil painting of that same photo hanging on his living room wall that had been painted many years ago by doctor Augusto Cortes, my sisters adoptive father. He was shocked. His mother had always told him that she was adopted, but was an only child. She never knew who her real father was and that she had a brother. His mother (my sister) had been married twice, both to Filipinos. She had four children with her first husband, three girls and a boy and two children with her second husband, two boys of which he Charlie) was the youngest.
What he said next brought me to tears. My sister died of cancer in 1999 and is buried in Loyola Memorial Park in Paranaque. Thus ended a 24 year search for my sister. Never to hear her voice or embrace her. I have honored my father’s wish but am so very saddened that he never knew he had six grandchildren on top of the three I gave him.
On December 16th, I will meet my two nephews from Manila and possibly one niece from my sister’s first marriage who is coming in from Singapore. We will meet at the Loyola Memorial Park and I wish to place some flowers on my sisters grave and get as close to her as I ever will. I know it will be extremely emotional for me. I now have three nephews and three nieces to add to my family tree. It was not a fruitless search, for my sister bore fruit and I will find joy in their company now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

after reading your post, I cried, as i had always wondered what had happen to this young child.