Chuck and Joanna

Thirty days out of the Army in 1946, Chuck was ready to get to work supporting his wife Joanna and their two girls.  The job he applied for screened him for TB and he tested positive. For over a year he was a patient at a TB Sanatorium in Liberty, Missouri. 

Joanna not only became acquainted with TB through Chuck, but she also remembers how her aunt died of TB and the impact it had on her eight children.

In Joanna's words...

Before I met Chuck, my aunt had the 8 children and no twins. The oldest one was about 14 when she had the last baby but that is when they found out she had advanced tuberculosis and they took her to the sanatorium. She was there for several months but she died. The children, none of them had it. Four of the children came and lived with us for a while and then my grandmother and grandfather took care of the others. You know, that is the type of thing everybody did in those days. TB definitely impacted the family because everyone was poor in those days.

In Chuck's words...

At the TB Sanatorium, I was robbed of a year and a half of my life that I could have been doing something, but they did it for my own good. I understand that, but they didn’t really compensate me enough to keep me going, you know. It was my time to bloom, and I’m sitting there vegetating.

I saw some guys in the hospital that were in real sad shape, and I don’t know how long they made it, but I saw some pretty sad ones, and I would go around and talk to them. I knew they were hurting.

Back then, I never wanted anyone to know about my TB. Anymore I don’t care because there are so many years behind me, you know, and they can see that I’m no threat to anybody, but back then they considered you a threat, and you just kind of had to keep it quiet and just not let anybody know about it. You had to be discrete and not get out there and push yourself off on somebody, you know. And I did, I stayed away from everybody.

Chuck and Joanna, Snohomish County