Jeannette’s Story From Snohomish County, Washington, U.S.A.
Jeannette was six years old when she was sent to Laurel Beach TB Sanatorium in West Seattle in l943. For two and one-half years she was the only child at the sanatorium. A girl her age was admitted in 1945 and became her roommate and childhood friend. Their schooling was conducted by a TB patient who was a public school teacher. Gas was rationed making visits from her family very special. Jeannette was released in l947, starting back to school in step with her schoolmates. In telling her TB story, Jeannette found relief from the stigma she had been harboring which is common to the TB experience.
In Jeannette’s words…
“Having TB carried the stigma with it, and I didn’t realize how heavy it was weighing on me until I decided to come to TB Voices Project and tell my story. I started delving into that kind of secret time of my life. The only person I had spoken about it to was my husband, and when I asked him if I should do the project he said of course you should. He was excited for me, and inside I’m thinking should I really come out? Is it safe? At 76 years of age now, I was still harboring that stigma. This project has been a big relief to me because it has taken that stigma somewhat away and I can easily tell people about it.”
“After being able to go home from the TB sanatorium, my mother and I travelled to Seattle every 3 months to my doctor’s office. He was such a wonderful man, I just loved him; he was like a grandfather. The part that I dreaded was would they find that I had TB again, and that I would have to go back to the sanatorium. Being separated from my family and then getting to be with them, I was afraid I would lose them again.”