|I copied this from a book
my mother bought when we first arrived in the PI. She told me that the
Officers Wives Club quickly sold out and when they went to the printer
for a reprint - the book had been banned by the Philippine government.
I typed it as published, mistakes and all. There are also many illustrations,
but I only have copied the text. If anyone here can narrow down the time
as to when it was written I would really love to hear from you. There is
no date in the book. I believe it was written sometime between '69-'72.
Poor Man's Paradise
written by, Mary Lee O'Neal
and Virginia Woodruff illustrated by, Lois Lindsay
This is the experience of three
Air Force wives as they lived it, suffered it, and loved it. With these
words, authors Mary Lee O'Neal and Virginia Woodruff and artist Lois Lindsay
introduce their lively and amusing chronicle of a sojourn in the Philippines
under the auspices of the US Air Force. Told in jaunty rhyme and illustrated
with wryly humorous drawings the story is one that almost any Air Force
wife on Clark Air Base could tell, although few would have thought of telling
it in so clever a fashion.
It is all here: the flurry
of arrival, the first impressions the heat the pleasures (and later the
exasperations) the bewildering round of activities the mad rush that follows.
And it is all related in sprightly
The book is clearly a must
for all those who would like to have a record of the pleasures and frustrations
of a tour of duty on Clark Air Base as seen through feminine eyes. It will
serve equally well as "picture letter" for those who wish to give friends
and relatives back home an idea of what such a sojourn in the Philippines
To service wives everywhere
who, in spite of hardships and heartaches, learn to make their own paradise.
Life in the Philippines, whatever
you've heard Combines the exotic with the absurd.
You've shed you coats, your
hats and gloves. And muu muus and sandals are now your loves. A flowery
fragrance you sniff everywhere. Gardenias and ginger blossoms you wear
in your hair. Life in this country club is lots of fun, With golf and swimming
and games in the sun. Your big screened porch has a lovely view Where you
sip your iced tea and have nothing to do.
Jungled hill beckon in the
west. When shrouded with clouds they look their best - Mysterious, and
misty - like Bali Ha'i; But head-hunters live there, to go is to die! A
variety of orchids grow in profusion. Bananas and coconuts give the illusion
That you are living on a tropical isle. Idle, happy hours fill your vial.
You order meals for the maid
to prepare And watch her cleaning the house with care. She scrubs and polishes
the floors of concrete With a coconut shell under one of her feet. To watch
her movements you can't resist. The rhythm's astounding in this "Philippine
The hardest day for you to
endure Is the day the houseboy airs furniture. All that you own goes out
in the sun, The battle with mildew is never done. All the furniture out
in the yard? Entertaining friends sometimes seems hard!
With so many people doing
your work, You're bored to tears, what a strange quirk. So you go to the
BX, the one place to shop And on your list is a sponge and a mop. "I'm
sorry, these items are out today. We're expecting some in on a boat in
May." "It's the same old story," you say to yourself, "Wonder what I'll
find on the Commissary shelf?"
You brace yourself as you
enter the door. The cooler system drips on shelves and floor. You show
your ID and your CEX card. A lady checks your name and looks at you hard.
You wait while she gives you an OK to buy No more than your share of tea
bags. Oh my! All this trouble to get into this place Whats the use, it's
such a wild goose chase?
You wheel your basket as fast
as you can And head for the fresh produce man. "Sorry - no lettuce, cucumbers,
tomatoes. No celery, no apples, not even potatoes." Bananas and avocados
are there, over-ripe. So, on canned goods you stock up though the family
will gripe. The day is not wasted, you hear a friend shout! "Chocolate
chips! Hurry! Before they run out!"
Worn out with shopping, you
want to get cool. You wilt on the porch, but the kids want the pool. You
make the big effort. The kids can't wait. "Pool pump broken" says the sign
at the gate. "Well, how about the movie," you say off hand. "But mommy,
we've already seen! "Savage Sam". You've hit rock bottom. You say with
a moan, "There's still the library and an ice cream cone."
The mail from home is out
of date. Newspaper's arrive three days late. You Pick up the paper and
what do you read? TYPHOON MINERVA APPROACHING WITH SPEED! The radio confirms
it. Condition two? You've got to save water, there's so much to do!
Do you have enough food? Are
you set for the night? You've run out of candles. What a plight! At the
BX there are only left to buy Birthday candles two inches high. Your family
at home seems so far away You almost wish they could share your dismay!
The wind blows hard, the rain
slashes in. You batten down tight, vigil begin. The power goes off. The
kids want to eat. The maid saves the day and barbeques meat. She sops up
the water out on the porch And turns the hot dogs before they scorch.
The rain is deafening and
you hear branches fall. The wind cries out its tortured call, And flings
garbage cans and other debris. CRACK! "What was that? Our favorite tree?"
The storm is spent and morning brings to light Our acacia tree uprooted
during the night. Thus you weather your first typhoon And brace to meet
the next one soon!
The long wet summer has finally
past. The dry season comes to the P.I. at last. Glorious, sun-drenched
dazzling days Lure you outside to feel the sun's rays. "Isn't this the
life?" you sigh to a friend. "This could go on and never end."
Your serenity is shattered
when a friend you spy Coming out of Toyland with packages sky high. "Christmas
toys" You gasp - "It's only September!" You've got to buy now - they'll
be gone by November! >From the pool to Toyland is quite a transition. Christmas
- in summer - a ridiculous position! Out of date toys offer no appeal,
That heat's so oppressive your head starts to reel. Time to mail Christmas
cards so you've heard. The BX is showing snow scenes - how absurd! There
are shelves of Christmas paper, a colorful array. But the ribbons to go
with it are still on the way! To a slim choice of gifts the BX is confined.
Why! You SOS when you're in a bind. So you decide on Manila, you'll buy
some wood . . . Everyone thinks Filipino art is so very good.
A car you hire for the three
hour haul Past rice fields, Nipa huts and sugar cane tall; Natives in fields
working very hard, Mothers washing clothes from a pump in the yard. Unrestricted
children play happily in the sun Along with dogs and carabao they freely
run. You like the local color once you get off base, In the air-cooled
car you don't mind the slow place.
In Manila the city market
is the first place you eye. "Driver, stop! I know I'll find something I
can buy." Armed thus with baskets and trinkets you might use, You go to
Mabini street, more items to chose. With horse-drawn calesas the streets
are congested. While jeepneys race by their speed uncontested. In a shop
you find banana cloth in turquoise blue And wood fruit and place mats,
and salad bowls, too. All these bargains and your frequent stopping But
these are for you - you've forgotten the Christmas shopping!
Christmas Eve comes in spite
of the weather. In sun suits and muu muus you're gathered together. The
Christmas tree is lighted and the porch is aglow. The 4 A.M. queue to buy
it was worth it you know. Carols now rise in melodious air. But your voices
are joined by others somewhere. Smiling little people in the dark you can
see. The Negrito guards have joined your Christmas tree.
Christmas once over, you feel
no depression. For each sparkling day brings an impression Of beauty that's
fresh and sparkling bright, Of orchids on trees, a spectacular sight! Deep
red poinsettias tower roof high, Flame trees are orange beneath the blue
sky. Pink Plumeria blossoms drift to the grass. Thus the tropical winter
comes and gently does pass.
In the States it's a struggle
with snow and ice! But look at you here - you're in PARADISE!
printed by: The Letterpress
Angeles City, Philippines sometime between '69-'72