Gonzales was 10 years old when the Japanese invaded [Annotator's Note: Manila, Philippine Islands]. At the time he lived near Santo Thomas University which was used to hold prisoners of the Japanese.Gonzales remembers the Japanese as beasts. He witnessed people being beheaded in the streets. At the time it didn't affect him but they scare him now.If a civilian passed a sentry and didn't bow 90 degrees they would be slapped or kicked. The Japanese would enter Filipino houses and take whatever they wanted including raping any women they wished.Gonzales had 8 siblings at the start of the war.Gonzales was caught many times doing things he wasn't supposed to. During the death march he was caught dropping food [Annotator's Note: purposefully dropping food for American soldiers during the Bataan Death March] but the Japanese soldiers let him go when he started crying.Life was fine before the invasion even though he was poor.At the time of the liberation Gonzales looked at the American soldiers as saviors.In 1939 life was good.Gonzales enjoyed watching the dogfights in the sky. When he got home his mother would spank him but she couldn't watch all of her kids at the same time. Gonzales saw it as a game and didn't realize the danger in it at the time.Gonzales watched from the side of the street as the prisoners on the death march passed down the street. Some of the prisoners would fall and would be kicked or beaten by the Japanese guards. Someone told him to drop some coconut candy. When he did he was caught but let go when he started to cry.The Japanese were rude and bad. Things got worse and worse during the occupation. Food was scarce. Gonzales witnessed people hunting rats for food.Gonzales lost 1 brother during the war but the remainder made it through the war.
Gonzales had a brother who was a guerilla who was caught by the Japanese and never returned. All they were able to hear from him was through a small note that his mother paid dearly to obtain. That was the last they heard of him.Gonzales older brother would bring him along when he would work. The older Gonzales was the bread winner. He had a horse drawn cart that could carry 9 passengers. On their last trip of the day they had filled their horse drawn cart with grass in addition to the passengers. When they passed Bilibid prison they saw someone jump over the wall. The man then ran toward them and asked if they could give him a ride.The Gonzales brothers put James [Annotator's Note: James Carrington, US Marine Corps] under the grass then the passengers surrounded him. When they passed a sentry he started poking his bayonet into the grass. Fortunately James wasn't hit.For 3 days the Gonzales family hid Carrington in their house.Gonzales retells the story of how he met Carrington.After hiding Carrington in their house for 3 days Gonzales' older brother took Carrington into the mountains to join the guerillas. 2 months after that the older Gonzales was caught. 20 Japanese soldiers ransacked the Gonzales home. The Japanese took the older Gonzales and asked repeatedly for the younger boy in Filipino.Years later Gonzales related this story to his daughter who then searched the internet for additional information. Gonzales was able to remember Carrington's name because Carrington had given him a cigarette lighter with his name engraved in it - "James W. Carrington, USMC".Gonzales' daughter found an article about Carrington on the internet in the summer [Annotator's Note: the summer of 2007].An invitation was extended for Gonzales to visit with Carrington. It was the first time they had seen or spoken to each other in 64 years. The meeting between the 2 men was overwhelming.During the reunion the two spoke of things they did together. It was at this time that Gonzales learned that when the Japanese sentry had poked the grass in the cart with his bayonet he had hit Carrington in the leg but Carrington didn't move.
Gonzales is very glad that he was able to help save a life even though he lost a brother.After Gonzales' brother brought Carrington to the mountains life went on. The older Gonzales was the bread winner and after he was taken by the Japanese life got even harder.The liberation was like being in heaven. The Gonzales family had evacuated to an area about 60 kilometers from Manila in hopes that Gonzales' brother would be moved there but he never was.The guerillas liberated the Gonzales family first. It wasn't until they returned to Manila that they saw their first American soldiers.The Gonzales home was just like they had left it. Life went on.In 1948 Gonzales' mother came into a lot of money and the familys quality of life improved significantly. Gonzales' mother was able to secure a large number of quotas for her import business. The Gonzales family was close with President Quirino [Annotator's Note: President Elpidio Quirino] who gave his mother the quotas.President Quirino was Gonzales' god father.In 1966 Gonzales' wife got a job to work in Canada. It was a big change for Gonzales. In the Philippines he had a driver and a houseboy. In Canada he cried the first time he had to wash dishes. During the first 3 years he had urges to move back to the Philippines. He visits his family there every 3 years.Gonzales can no longer handle the climate in the Philippines.
The place where Bilibid prison once stood is now government buildings. Even though the building is gone Gonzales still remembers that night. Even today when he sees a Japanese person his blood boils for a few moments.Gonzales witnessed beheadings in the streets and still has a hatred for the Japanese.The liberation is the thing that stands out the most in Gonzales' mind.The interviewer informs Gonzales that some of Carrington's [Annotator's Note: James Carrinton, US Marine Corps] items are on display in the museum and will bring Gonzales to see them.Gonzales is grateful that there was an America to liberate them.The 9 passengers aboard the wagon convinced Gonzales' brother to hide Carrington. He didn't know it at the time but Gonzales' brother was a member of the resistance. The older Gonzales was turned in to the Japanese by his girlfriend when he refused to marry her. The jilted girlfriend gave the Japanese all of the details. Gonzales doesn't know what happened to the girl but was told by James that he had sent some guerillas to take care of her.Carrington remembered Gonzales when they spoke after all of those years. Carrington also remembered Gonzales crying. When the Japanese asked Gonzales in his native language why he was crying he just cried louder.Gonzales is glad that he didn't turn Carrington over to the Japanese. He is sure that the Japanese would have killed everyone on the cart.Gonzales hopes that the new generations of Japanese aren't like those during the war.
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