Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered
Mary Liebal
The following email was sent to me by Helen Liebal.  Her email is:
Hi Chuck,  
My name is Helen Liebal & my sister, Mary Liebal was  a patient at the sanatorium from 1947-1952?  I am not certain of the date that she left. 

She was only 13years old and was just starting Altoona Catholic  High School at the time. She spent all of her high school years there. When she was cured she worked there as a telephone operator for about a year. One of her friends there was named Dorothy Keyes and she left around the same time as Mary.  Mary's age was a problem for the hospital, too old for the children's ward and too young for the women's ward. She always said she got a good education there. She was eventually put in the women's section even though she was so young. Mary passed away this past July and we were reminiscing with her right before she died about the San and I always kidded her and said that she should try to get a reunion together. She would really enjoy talking with you all about her experiences there. I have a few pictures with some people she was friendly with at the hospital but not a lot of names on them.  

Mary did have her lung collapsed also and had a lot of back problems because of the surgery. She talked about Drs. O’leary and Weest quite a bit. 

Upon leaving the hospital Mary attended the Altoona School of Commerce and after graduating worked several jobs. She was manager of Layfferty  Trucking and worked in the A&P office for a short while. When she retired she took a part time job at ABCD Corp. in Altoona and always said she should have started there.  She really enjoyed her last job. 

Helen Liebal


The two poems below were written by Pearl Butler to Mary Liebal while she was at Cresson San.
               (Poem #1)
       Wed. Feb 23, 1949
             Mary Liebal
There is a little teen-age girl
Across the aisle from me:
She really is a charming lass
As any one can see. 

She is a child of many moods:
You never know just when
She’ll change from sunny smile to frown
And back to smile again.  

She has a little tricky way
Of lifting one eyebrow
In mock superiority
Which we do not allow. 

She likes to listen in on things
We don’t want her to know;
She’s always prompt to add her bit
To every little show. 

There’s scarce a movement ever made
Escapes her wary eye:
You can’t get by with anything
However hard you try. 

Sometimes she wants to be grown up:
Act way beyond her years,
But if she doesn’t get her pan
Her eyes fill up with tears. 

It matters not how hard she tries
To grow up like the rest
Her efforts only show that she’s
A little girl at best. 

She’s like a cool and fragrant rain
On sultry summer days:
She brightens up our dreary ward
In countless little ways. 

We’re glad she’s here in G and H
Perplexing tho’ she be;
She really is a charming lass
As anyone can see.
(Poem   # 2) 
Dear Mary, 
Right now I just can’t seem to find
A card with just the line
That truly could express the thoughts
And wishes that are mine. 

For Seventeen is set apart
And special; It’s I feel,
The door onto young womanhood;
I hope yours is ideal. 

I pray this year’s a turning point
In more ways than just one.
And joy and health, and happiness
Are yours ere it is done. 

That, too, you’ll know the things that God
For youth has set aside;
With life a happy, open road
And Love to be your guide. 

While each new day shall bring a hope
Of wonderful surprise,
With tender wishes in your heart
And starlight in your eyes. 

When there’s a very special thrill
In just a certain tune;
When every hour is short and sweet
And all things end too soon. 

When over all your dreams and hopes
Is cast a rosy sheen,
And life is good and wonderful
Just  ‘cause you’re Seventeen! 

So, happy birthday, Mary, lass,
May God go with you, too;
And down thro all the years let life
Be very kind to you.                      
Best Wishes, Luck,
Pearl Butler
P. S. Happy Birthday !