My name is Concepcion Judicpa. I was born on December 9, 1943. (Crying). I'm sorry. I'm getting emotional right away. But, I'm thinking of my mother, who passed back in 1983 and did not live to see this day. I'm not here to testify on her behalf. I'm testifying on my behalf.
I was a baby back then. I don't have any emotional, or firsthand, in other words, I don't have any emotional experience back then. I was too young to understand what went on. But, based on what my mother had told me, I had an accident. I had a third degree burn on my hand. Up until I was nine years old, I always thought that I was born with this hand. It had some kind of a social impact on me, women, girls being so vain. I used to hide my hand.
Even to this day, when I'm at work and someone is behind me, immediately I'll turn my hand. It's a physical reminder of the war. I believe now, I consider it emotional, although I was too young to remember. I was less than six months then.
But, from what I understand, I was in the camp. My older sister, who was seven years old at the time, was carrying me while my mother was taking care of my other brother, who is older than I am. What had happened is I roll onto the campfire and my hand was in the fire. Apparently, there were some good Japanese there because the doctors took care of my hand. So, not all Japanese soldiers were bad. There were some that were good.
Anyway, going back as far as marching, I didn't march. But, I believe that my mother had hard time marching, carrying me and trying to keep me quiet. From what I understood, if children make noise, the parents also get punished for that.
I wasn't forced into labor, again, I was too young to be forced into any labor. But, I did remember back in 1946, '47, my mother would talk about Tiempon Chapanes (Time of the Japanese). I always wonder how come it's a favorite subject of the elderly. What is Tiempon Chapanes? I have no inkling what is Tiempon Chapanes. It's Japanese times. At that time, I just took for granted that that's the favorite subject of the old folks. I never really bothered, because I was too busy playing around.
Until months later on in life, when I start inquiring, I asked my mom what happened. Was I born this way? She said, "No. It's just a result of that accident in the camp, in Manenggon." That's where we were interned.
Although I did not put in my testimony, I would like to, and maybe I will revise that later, but, in my testimony, my sister, up to this point, my sister's only about 80 pounds. It's because she lived during those days. She had, like all the other testimonies, there was malnutrition and so on. I, when I got married, I was only 85 pounds. Thank God I had five kids and was able to gain some weight. But, I believe that was as a result of the times when there was hardly any food to go around.
Real People. Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Concepcion Judicpa is recorded in the Guam War Claims Review Commission public hearings held in Hagåtña, Guam on December 9, 2003. This story sponsored by the community involvement of Gary Wayne Francis Gumataotao, Attorney at Law. Photo courtesy of Expressions Studio.