Phyllis Pilgrim tells of her childhood experiences from five to nine years old, when she was interned as a prisoner of war with her mother and brother in a Japanese internment camp during World War II in Java. It is the story of survival, courage, and insights of daily life in captivity. The whole family survived. Phyllis also describes how these early experiences shaped her adult life and career choices.
Phyllis Pilgrim was born in Tampico, Mexico, of an American mother and a Scottish father who worked for the Shell Oil Company. Later transferred to Borneo and Java, they were captured by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. Five-year-old Phyllis, along with her mother and younger brother, were held in civilian internment camps for more than three years until 1945. The family survived and returned to England, where she started her education and earned a degree in geography from London University. She married a Barbadian in London, but left Barbados in 1981 to work as a yoga teacher at Rancho La Puerta, in Tecate, Mexico, where she still teaches.