My name is Dolores Cruz Meno. I am from Inarajan, Malojloj. I was born in Merizo. I was a residence of Merizo in 1941.
It happens that the airplane is zooming around on the Merizo area. I did not know what is going on, so, when it passes Merizo area, it goes through the other side of the island, where they started the bombing. We didn't know what's happening. It was on a Monday morning when it happens. It's the same time as the holiday for yesterday, Santa Maria day.
So, it happened that we ran away from our home in Merizo because we know something is going on wrong. They announce it on the radio that the American and the Japanese are on war. When we know that that's the Japanese bombing, we ran to the jungle where we had a ranch in the jungle, where the Japanese would not reach it because there is no way to go there, only by foot. We had a very thick forest there. Our family lives by my father, my mother was still alive. There were 10 children in the family. I was the youngest one.
My feet and my hands are all bleeding. When I came home, my mother looked at me and she was crying, "What happened to you, my daughter?" I said, "I'm sorry, mom, but I was being dragged by the truck. They didn't know that I was hanging on the truck. When I dropped down myself, nobody saw me because they're already far away." We were from the school over to my house. The house is way up on the mountainside. We were being dropped next to the road on the farmlands, or the ranches they're called. It was about one mile from the school to where they're dropping us. But, it happened that I'm all bleeding when I came home. I walked all the way home.
My mother said, "What's wrong?" I said, "I was being dragged by the truck. That's what happened to me." She said to me, "From now on, my daughter, you don't go back to school. So, the Japanese found out about that, that I was dropping out of school because my mother don't allow me to go to school because of that incident. Then my mother said, "You have to stay home." But, then the Japanese call us because I was already 10 years old and I was able to do something instead of just staying home. So, my mother said, "You go ahead and follow what it is they're commanding to do."
So, I was a farm labor, by that time. I was only 10 years old, 3 months. They make me work the farm. I cut down grasses. We clean it up and then we planted a lot of vegetable. When we were harvesting the vegetable, it happens that the old people weave a basket made out of coconut leaves, and we collected all the produces from that farm. We took it out to the Manganese they call the Manganese the headquarters for the Japanese in Merizo. So, we deliver it.
There's two of us girls, because I was so fragile, I was so skinny. My parents are very poor, I am the youngest one in the family. So, there's two of us girls to carry that with the bamboo. We put the bamboo on the basket, we slid it into the farthest part of the basket and we carry it on our back out to the Manganese to deliver it to the Japanese people for their supplies. We do not have anything for us. They all get it for themselves. Every day I go from my home up in the mountainside to the village next to where the Japanese are staying.
We were farming there, too much problem with me because we were getting water from the river to water the plants that we're growing because there's no pipe there, nothing. We just get the bucket and go down to the river and get water. Then we start watering the plants there so we could grow it.
That is the marched labor I am talking about, marched labor and the marched force is when we were being assembled on a, there is a valley called Ge'us Valley. One night all the old people and the young people were assembled, one night. It's a rainy day. It was on the 15 of July, '44.
We were assembled there, we don't know what's the reason. But, that night, by 10: 00, something explode. We heard explosion, on the 15th of July. We were waiting for the Japanese because they're watching us closely with guns and flashlight. It's a very rainy night. When it already past 12:00, they release us because they already killed my two brothers, my two oldest brothers on the mountainside. There's a trench there on the mountainside where they killed my two oldest brother, Jose and Antonio Cruz from Merizo.
Real People. Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Dolores Cruz Meno 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 Younex Enterprises Corporation. Photo courtesy of Expressions Studio.