After a few months my friend Guadalupe "Lupe", a migrant worker, was released
for transfer back to his home state of Texas. He went back to Martindale, Texas and we kept in touch for awhile, but
he has passed away.
Rockville was not nearly as large as Cresson so we did not have movies and such other than ceramics.
As I look back on it, weird as it was, we used to use the gurneys from the morgue and have hallway races!
As time went on, I got used to not having family visits as they lived too far away. My
boss would come up to see me and that helped a lot. Then in one of my letters, I was told my parents, brother and a
friend were coming to visit for a few days. I thought that day would never arrive! They spent a few days out there
with me and I was negative so I was able to get day passes and leave the hospital.
When they left I wanted so badly to hide in that car and disappear, but I knew that I could not
run from what I had. I would only take it with me. A few months later, I was told that my dad had arranged to
have me transferred back to Pa to a sanatorium there.
Arrangements were made with TWA to fly me from Indianapolis to Harrisburg. Rockville supplied
confirmation that I was not a risk and I was headed home on December 4th, which is my birthday. I was allowed to spend
four days with my parents and then they had to take me to Cresson.
When I checked in, they assigned me a bed in a ward and once again I felt the empty feeling of
being alone and having to make new friends.
I was only in my bed for a few hours when they came and moved me to a ward with younger patients.
There I met Dan Sexton who was across the wooden partition from me and would become my best friend.
As time went by, May came and I knew I would not make it out in a year as I stated, but my
tests were all coming back negative and I knew I only had a few more to go to hit the 12 I needed.
Cresson was beautiful in the winter and we used to sit on our beds and watch the deer and wild
animals. There was an old building across from our ward which had been the school in years gone by. I
often wondered how many kids went through there. At the time my cousin, who was only 14, was at Mont Alto TB Sanatorium.
She passed away three weeks ago, so we both did very well after our treatments.
The staff at Cresson was wonderful and my doctor, Dr. Han Sho Ma, had a thick accent, but he
was very kind and understanding. I saw his picture on Page 48 of the scrapbook on this website. Joe Kokal was
the Occupational Therapist in leatherwork and gosh knows how many wallets I made. I still have mine after all these
years but it is in no condition to use!
There were a few deaths and no matter how often it happened, you never got used to it.
I was fortunate enough to get a part time job at the post office. I would stand in the
door and wait for the train to go by. Just like in the old movies, they would hang the mailbag out and a hook would
snatch it and they would keep on going! After the mail was sorted, I would deliver it to the patients. Male wards
were no problem, but when I got to the females, I had to shout "Mailman coming". My doctor used to see me flying around
delivering the mail and told me to slow down and not walk too fast. I told him if I were going to break down, I didn't
want to do it after I got out and had to come back.
About July I was moved from the ward to a cottage! I knew I would be leaving shortly and
going home. In August, I was discharged and my parents picked me up. All those who were my friends were still
in the hospital and as we pulled away I could see Dan and the rest looking out. You bet I cried! They were tears
of joy and sadness at the same time.
I'm hoping to see some folks who may remember me or I them, but at my age I am sure they (with
the exception of young Dan) are gone now.
This is my recollection and I hope I did not ramble too much. There is quite a bit more
I could have put in, but this was enough and probably too much! I hope to talk to some
of you next year at the reunion.