Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered
The following email was sent to me on September 6, 2009 by Linda (Sherman) Ondriezek, daughter of Samuel Sherman.
The front page of our local newspaper (Tribune Democrat) had "San" man story.  It brought so many memories back of my Dad, Samuel John Sherman.    I was only a small girl at the time, about 4 or 5.  That was too young to remember all the details.  Dad was there in 1953 - 55.  It was such a hush, hush disease and not really ever discussed after his return home.
I remember the day he started coughing blood.  We were on a vacation to visit family in Ohio.  I was so scared.   Dad was wisked away to a hospital and I was taken back to Johnstown by my grandmother.  My mother stayed with my father.  When I returned home my sister and I were not allowed out of the house.  No one but the doctor came and went.  When my mother returned from Ohio my Dad was not with her.  He was already in Cresson.  I remember crying a lot.  I wanted my Daddy.  Without him there was no income so my mother had to find a job.  My sister, mom, and I were subjected to weekly TB tests and Xrays.  There were no jobs in Johnstown so an Uncle in Columbus Ohio found Mom a job.  We stayed with family there while she worked in a grocery store.  We drove every weekend to Cresson.  I was not allowed inside the compound so my Uncle Buddy would hide me under blankets in the back seat.  Dad would come out on the fire escape and wave.  I wanted to hug him so badly and cried all the way home.  He called me Pigeon.  He even made me a leather wallet with that on, which I still have.  That's a craft he learned at Cresson and became a life hobby. 
Mom did remember driving to and from Cresson in the bad weather from Columbus, Ohio.  Her boss used to pack boxes of goodies for her to take to the guys.  She said the guys would be standing at windows waiting for her to come and then utter madness as they grabed the treats.  She always made her fudge for them.  She is in a nursing home now and memories are fuzzy.  It comes in bits and pieces.  Finally I'm hearing the story.
Upon his return home it was like it never happened.   Just remember being told to be quiet because he had to rest.  He did keep in touch with a guy by the name of Mike from Titusville PA.  We went to visit once, but his family didn't want my dad inside their house.  Afraid of catching the disease.  I also remember Dad getting his weekly "gas" treatments.  He would have to take a day off from the steel mill and came home with a big belly.  After reading your web site I now know what it was (pneumothorax or "air"). 
Dad passed away in 68 due to a botched surgery from stomach ulcers.  I always wondered if the damaged lungs had anything to do it.  My mother fell and broke hip and some other bones about 2 years ago.  She was placed in a nursing home and they did through physical exam.  They discoved that she too must have had TB because of the scars on her lungs.  Probably caught it from Dad.
Thanks for remembering all the people who were treated at Cresson.  Thanks for making me remember and retell the story to my grandchildren so it isn't ever forgotten.
1.  Sammy getting some sun on the porch.
3.  You can see here and in photos 1 & 7 that Sammy had at least 3 different bathrobes during his san stay.  Most men had a lightweight robe for summer and switched to a heavier flannel or terry cloth robe for winter.
5.  Each ward had a decorated tree at Christmas.  The items under the tree show that a boy never outgrows his need for a train chugging around the tree and thru the village.
7.  Mike Jez, Sammy, Joe & Charley standing next to their cubicles in the locker room.  The doors and walls of the cubicles were perforated to allow for good ventilation.
2.  Many men enjoyed working with leather, making handbags and wallets.  It was a tangible way we could express our love, so it was not just a way to keep busy, but a real labor of love. 
4.  L to R:  Unknown, Sammy & Joe.  Sun and fresh air were still a basic part of the cure and the san had plenty of both.  
6.  Sammy and friend either trying out for the role of Santa or comparing profiles after getting a refill of pneumo.
8.  Chuck Felton Note:  Mike Jez and I outside the Dining Room after we both made meals in 1956.  That's the same Mike as in photo #7 on the left.  Mike and I were friends and visited when we were in the ward.  During my visits with Mike, I got to know Sammy as well.