Subject: The Cresson Center
I read your story in the Altoona Mirror. I also visited your
website briefly. I intend to read every word of it.
I write you because I have memories of being a little girl and visiting my Grandmother there. I was born in 1954 and my Grandmother spent a good many years at Cresson. My Mother passed away about
5 years ago and in some of her photos were photos of my Grandmother in the Cresson Facility. My Grandmother's name was
Katherine Naperkoski. "Kackie" as we called her always talked fondly of
being there like it was another "family" to her. She would tell us about listening
to Pirate baseball on the radio and she did that until she died in November of 1991. She was a wonderful, loving grandmother. She was my best friend. She was beautiful
and kind. She would very often speak of the Cresson Center and her life there but I had never seen the pictures until
after my Mother's death.
My Mother told us stories of her whole family contracting TB from a family that lived below them in their
apartment. Somehow, Kackie had a flare-up of TB and went there to recover so that she would not infect anyone in our
family. My Mother was then pregnant with me. I have memories of visiting Kackie
one Christmas. I was only about 3 and I took my new baby doll to show it to her
and one of the women in the center wanted my doll. The woman cried so hard that
my Dad told me to give her the new doll and he would buy me another one. I didn't want to part with it, but I did.
The pictures show Kackie and other women patients in their pajamas and robes, sitting on the floor of a
room and a nurse is standing beside them and they are all smiling and you'd never know they were in a hospital. It looked as if they were at a pajama party. There are other pictures and she is smiling in all of
them. Some of them are what you would call a little "risky" for the times. Many women are just in their bras and
What a great story and a piece of history that you have created. I want to read it all. Each
and every story.
I will locate the pictures I have and scan them and email them to you as soon as I can and maybe you will
recognize some of the people in the photos. I recognize my Grandmother but none of the other women in the pictures.
Maybe some of the women have visited your website. Thank you and God bless you for thinking of the web site.
My Grandmother would have so enjoyed talking with you. She often talked about getting in touch with some of the people
she spent the years with. She would have loved this story. Kackie would have been 96 this year had she lived longer. When
she was released she went on to become a waitress at the Heidelberg in Altoona and we took her there on her last Mother's
Day she was with us. A man that ran the place at the time brought out a photo album that he had found in the back room
and many of the pictures were of her and my Aunt when they were waitresses and she helped name people that were in the photos. Kackie
loved seeing the old photos and would comment about how that was after being in the Cresson Center. I had the best Grandmother
and Mother a girl could ever have.
I also want to tell you that I admire the people of your generation that made the best of your misfortune.
Your generation can find good memories in the midst of misfortune, which is lost
with the generations living now. People of the generations today would strive to be "victims" of their misfortunes but
your generation looked at it as a part of your life and kept the fond memories alive.
Thank you for the great stories and the learning experience. You should write a book about this.