My name is Marlene (Marhefka) Truscello. I'm from Johnstown,
Pa. I was very excited to read the article in our Tribune Democrat on Sunday, Sept. 6th about the TB center!!
You see, I'm not a former patient or a staff member, but my father was a patient from June 7, 1962 to January 8, 1963. I was only 8 years old at the time but I do remember him being gone and my mom going
to see him on Sundays when my aunt and uncle could take her. I was never allowed to go. I can remember typing
a paper my dad would read to me so I could practice typing (or so he told me!!) after he came back home. Years later,
I realized that it was a journal that he kept while he was in the center! I still have that journal, however it was
never finished being typed, but the last papers are in his own handwriting. There are 37 typed sheets and 8 sheets,
front and back, in his handwriting.
(GO TO THE NEXT PAGE TO READ JOE'S JOURNAL)
My dad, Joseph Marhefka, passed away on May 15, 2000. I read
the journal again after he passed, and never got it back out again until I read the article on Sunday. But to read
his version of the place, reminds me of a prison! He tells of all the tests he had that came back negative, yet
he couldn't leave. They took out part of his lung, yet they said it was a scar from when he had scarlet fever at a young age,
that showed up and not TB! But he was there for seven months and one day!
He mentions some names that I thought may be familiar to you. Another
patient Bob Calhoun, Frontz, and a black man last name Lamb; a nurse or aide
named Anna May Wilson; Dr. M, Dr. Mattes (maybe the same one), Richard Spriggs the barber, Bill Krutch (patient), Eddie (a
male nurse), Harry Grandy and John Lentorski,(both patients) just to name a few.
Please let me know if you know any of them.
mention a gentleman that my dad became pretty good friends with named Joe Bukovac who was also from Johnstown and lived not
too far from us. I think they got together pretty often after they were both
back home. I remember seeing him a few times.
My dad also made hats on a round wood loom with nails. I could give you one of them if you don't already have
one. He showed me how to make placemats on a mesh with holes and yarn. Unfortunately, I don't have any of these. I know
he also made a wallet for my mother and a type of belt made from leather pieces that were looped together.
I'm happy to hear that you are one of the ones that made it out of there. And I hope you are
doing well now! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org