John Adamczyk and the Westfield “San”

Babu is a great record keeper and it throws me for such a loop sometimes when she does not input enough data.  For example, normally she puts the full date on the back of her pictures as well as everyone’s names.  I have been transcribing 1940 and gathering up all the images for that year.  We all know that I love it when events in her diary and her pictures line up.  However, I ran across this striking image and I cannot place it.

adamsky 1940adamsky 1940 b

I could stare forever at that image.  It sparks my interest and imagination and emotions all at once.

Here we have John Adamczyk and I am assuming he is Frank’s brother.  John has mussed hair, is lying in bed, and has his bed clothes on.  However, he looks well enough.  He isn’t attached to any IV or any of the other machines I am used to seeing people in the hospital attatched to.  There is, however, that contraption above his head.  How I wish I knew what it was.  It almost looks like an over sized walkman with headphones.  Speaking of entertainment, I can see books piled by his bed, and of course the chess game.  It suggests he has, and possibly will, be there a while.  I pondered for a while whether the glass behind him was a window or a mirror, but it occured to me I don’t see the reflection of the photographer.  If it is, in fact a window, the bed behind him seems empty and the place seems quiet.

It seems I’m not to know any more details for certain.  Not only did she fail to put the month of this image on the back of the photograph, but she might not have written about her trip to “Westfield San.”  All I found was this:

Sunday, December 8th, 1940

Awoke with a headache and took a pill before church.   Stayed for choir meeting.  My cousins from Holyoke came and then Jake and Edmund.  Ed drove Jake and me to see the new “rest cure” palace our priests have bought.  It’s a big place way up on a hill.

“Rest cure?”  Could this be them visiting “Westfield San?”  Why wouldn’t Frank be with them?  It’s possible they have the same last name but are not related?  Maybe it is not all all connected as she did not mention visiting with anyone while she was there.  Maybe this was something she did during the month January while she was not writing in her diary.  See why I think these blank pages are such a problem?!

Here is some information I found out about Westfield Sanatorium

The Living New Deal


Formerly the Westfield State Sanatorium, what is now Western Massachusetts Hospital was constructed as a New Deal project with Public Works Administration (P.W.A.) assistance. The P.W.A. supplied a $364,275 grant for the project, whose total cost was $1,002,217. Construction occurred between Jan. 1936 and Dec. 1937.

And from Wikipedia

During its 100-year history, the hospital has provided health care services as needed, starting as a tuberculosis sanatorium, then cancer treatment and training physicians in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation and chronic care, treatment of handicapped infants and children, coma patients and care for Alzheimer patients. Today the hospital’s focus is on specialty care for patients with chronic diseases, terminal illness, neurological disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

So it is possible that John had Tuberculosis.  As I shared in a post I wrote a few days ago,

Searching for Stanley: Part two

I may have found his gravestone.  If this is in fact him, it does not seem like Frank was his brother and it seems he recovered just fine.




13 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m so intrigued!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And me. TB was my first thought when I saw this picture and the name of the hospital but I did wonder about Babu’s term “rest cure” as if it were a euphemism for something else. Maybe they treated mental health issues? It is such a striking photo it would be interesting to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, the first thing I thought was some sort of mental breakdown but that does not seem the case. In my research into the “Westfield San” I found it was basically a quarantine for certain illnesses. However, I’m not sure the passage where Babu mentions the “rest cure” has anything to do with this…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great photo! Lends itself to an interesting writing prompt, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. P.S. No disrespect intended.


    1. I can’t see where any disrespect may have been taken. No worries!


  5. Annie C says:

    How intriguing. My mind is running rampant with possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing interests with me!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How fascinating! I hope there is a way for you to delve deeper and solve the mystery. I’ll be here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah! My guess is tuberculosis. My research said that’s the biggest illness they treated at “Westfield San.” I think I need to get some sort of membership or something to find out more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wanted to sign up for that so bad, but it’s $99. just for 6 months! I’ll have to keep it in the long term goal column for awhile.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup! Me too! 😦


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