The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 9
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 9

Arlington Heights, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page 9
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SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 DAILY HERALD SECHON 1 PA6E 9 Debt: Japanese would have punished villagers Continued front Itigf 8 intelligence officers of headhunters in these highlands. Then, as they sang in an island tongue, he picked out the melody: "Onward, Christian Soldiers." He felt reassured. They took him downriver to their seaside village, Ea Ea, a place of grass-roofed lean-tos. They gave him a hut and fed him boiled pig, shellfish and taro, their starchy tuber mainstay. He went fishing with them in their canoes under cover of darkness, and began to learn Pidgin, the islanders' simple, English-based common language. In his tattered aviator's uniform, he joined in services each Sunday led by three Christian missionaries, natives who had fled New Britain's main town, Rabaul, when the Japanese landed 17 months earlier. Because enemy troops patrolled the beaches, Hargesheimer spent many days in a hut hidden in a nearby swamp. But one day he was caught away from his hideout when an alarm went up that Japanese were approaching. Village friend Joseph Gabu led the American into the rain forest, sending him up a eucalyptus tree to hide. Through the night, he was tormented by swarms of mosquitoes, until finally the next day Gabu came for him. All was clear, but within weeks Hargesheimer was stricken with the severe chills and fever of mosquito-borne malaria. Villagers protected "Mastah Preddi" — Master Freddie — apparently because they hated the Japanese for their cruel treatment of natives. Time and again, the low echo of a conch shell blown by a villager would warn of Japanese. If Mastah Preddi wore his boots as he rushed to hide, children would follow with makeshift brooms, sweeping away his prints from the sand. The village took a great risk by protecting him from the Japanese, he says. "If they'd seen my boot prints, I think they would have tortured everyone in the village until they produced me." When he finally left, "some of them wanted me to take their children back to the States with me," he recalls, sitting so many years later in the afternoon light at his dining table, sharing indelible memories of human kindness. Fred Hargesheimer walked repeatedly through the 23rd Psalm's "valley of the shadow of death," always emerging safely with the help of the people of Ea Ea. In February 1944, eight months after he was shot down, Hargesheimer was picked up from a New Britain beach by a U.S. submarine, in a rendezvous arranged by EASTERSUNDAY Champagne Brunch Omelet Station Eggs Benedict Scrambled Eggs Spinach Quiche French Toast,;,: Cheese Crfei with BejPif' Breakfast;5|iUSagi Bacorti" Salad > Baked Glazed Ham off the Bone > Leg of Spring Lamb Roast Prime Eye Rib of Beef Red Roasted Herbed Potatoes, Wild Rice Pilaf &Penne Pasta stoVodka Sauce with Sun Dried Salmon en Croute with Lobster Mousse Chicken Vesuvio Cajun Shrimp Creole Beef Nicoise Bagels, Muff Croissants arUfSfi Danish plus,;; assorted brea ...... ,. Pasta with Alfre^q || j| f j> sauce & vegetables Adults 17.95 Children (4-12) 14.00 3 8c under (FREE) { i ; Roasted Mixed Vegetables, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Red & Yellow Peppers The Easter Bunny will visit,:! If your patio doors stick, squeak or leak, these could take some getting used to. 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By then he had married Dorothy Sheldon of Ashtabula, Ohio, and by 1949 they had three children — Richard, Eric and Carol. In 1951, he took a sales job with a Minnesota forerunner of computer maker Sperry Rand, his employer ever after. But the people of Ea Ea never left his mind. He corresponded with a missionary to learn how they had fared. He studied and restudied international air schedules. "The more I thought about my experience with the people in New Guinea, the more I realized what a debt I had to try to repay," he says. In 1960, with the family vacation money and the family's blessing, Hargesheimer made a solitary, 11,000-mile journey back to New Britain, biggest outer island of Papua New Guinea, then Australian-run, now independent. The villagers, hearing Mastah Preddi was coming, lined the beach and sang "God Save the Queen" as he stepped from a boat in the moonlight. "It was wonderful, overwhelming," he says. He was met by Luluai Lauo, Joseph Gabu and others, and later found Ida, who had kept him alive with her mother's milk, and her 16-year-old son, to thank her, too. But "a simple thank you didn't seem enough," he recalls. Back home, he consulted with a missionary, who ASSOCIATED PRESS Fred Hargesheimer visits with pupils of the Airmen's Memorial School in Ewasse on Aug. 2,2004, during a return visit to the southwest Pacific island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. told him what the people needed: a school. The Minnesota salesman went to work, raised $15,000 over three years, and returned many times to build, eventually, two schools a library and a medical clinic. • Iff news for songbirds, shutterbugs and workhounds. Great deals on music phones, camera phones and smartphones. SAMSUNG SCH-r500 WITH TONE ROOM, YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP FOR OVER 30,000 RINGTONES GET ONE FREE WHEN YOU BUY ONE FOR $29.95. After redemption of *50 U.S. Cellular Reward Visa Cards and unlimited easyedge plan purchases. 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