My mother, Doris Jean Newell (McFadden) was married May
10, 1947 at 18 years of age. Dodie and her husband Don lived in Scottdale, Pa. By
1953 she had lost two babies and had three little boys. Her youngest son, Larry was 9 months old at the time. Donald, the
oldest, was born in 1952 and Gerald in1951. Then she received the diagnosis of Tuberculosis.
With the experience of the loss of two babies not so far away and the reality
of being married and having three sweet and lively little boys, she had to be sent away
to live in the Cresson TB Sanatorium. The children were split up into family homes to live for the duration.
How hard it must have been on her. She was probably afraid of dying and very upset to have to leave her
husband and little boys. I know she had to miss them terribly. To make matters worse
her mother passed away in the same year. Doris could not attend her dear mother’s funeral due to
TB. She loved her mom so much. Dad would hitchhike to see her every Sunday and would
brag about how he only missed two visits, once when the Pa turnpike killer was running loose and one Sunday when he was sick.
Mom would so look forward to his visits. He would bring her special treats like a huge
sugar daddy sucker that she broke and shared with her friends. I’m
certain it was not just the candy that she looked forward to. It was the high point of the week for both
of them. I do not remember how long Mom was in Cresson. I would say about a year at least. She
got over her TB and was released and went on to have five more children. I am the oldest daughter and first
child born after her release from the San. I was born in June of 1958. Doris lived a
long life after her near death experience. She spoke well of her time in the San. She
happily told us of the people who took care of her and of the friends she made. Dad had to move to
Arizona in 1956 due to his asthma. He left mom and their three boys by themselves until he could get a
home set up and send for them. Once more her family was separated. She followed behind him on the train
with her three little boys in tow when he sent for her. They were all separated at that time for about
another year. While in Phoenix, Arizona she had five more children.
In all the years after, mom had no more lung trouble except for a short case of pleurisy in her early 70’s.
Mom passed away a few years ago in October of 2006. Doris and Don Newell gave God the glory for
her healing from Tuberculosis.
Left: Wedding photo of Don and Doris Newell taken May 10, 1947 when Doris was 18.
Right: Doris with sons Donald and Gerald in the spring/summer of 1952. At the time, she was pregnant with her son Larry who was born later that year. One year later in 1953 she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and went to Cresson San.
Left: Don visiting Doris at the san. The photo was
taken on one of the sun porches of the women’s East Wing building.
Right: Doris and friend posing on the sun porch wall.
Left: Don is holding Cheryl, born in 1958.
Right: Don and Doris in 1985.