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New Book: The Lake Julia TB Sanatorium

Jun 14, 2020 12:15PM ● By Editor
From - June 14, 2020

In the early years of TB sanatoriums, mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents … both the young and the old, the rich and the poor … went away to recover at hospitals where, even in winter, they slept by open windows. 'Open Window' takes you inside the Lake Julia Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Northern Minnesota where the author’s family once lived and worked—a place where a community was created and bound together by a bacterium called the tubercle bacillus.

Patients sometimes woke to snow and ice on their thick covering of blankets, frozen water in their glasses, and frozen urine in their pots. Today, tuberculosis still casts its sinister shadow back to earlier times by reemerging in new, drug-resistant forms and infecting one-fourth of the world’s population.

This collective biography introduces you to the community made up of:
• The determined Dr. Mary Ghostley, who, in the early 1900s, some called a witch for studying medicine
• Dedicated employees like the author’s parents who met and fell in love at the San
• Courageous nurses like Thora Bakken and Wilma Watts, who risked their own health to help others
• Patients, like valedictorian- hopeful Art Holmstrom, who worked hard at doing nothing, hoping their treatment would allow them to return home rather than leaving in a wooden box. It is not uncommon when you delve into family history to run into the words “consumption,” “tuberculosis,” or the “White Plague.”

After reading “Open Window,” you will have a better understanding of the struggles of those who were stricken with this illness. Open Window’s more than 135 photos make it a visual history as well as a compelling story about the Lake Julia Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Northern Minnesota. This book is of interest to anyone who is interested in family history and the history of medicine. As people quarantine and social distance during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is especially interesting to learn how tuberculosis sanatoriums were created to keep those who were ill out of the general population.

 About the Author: Pat Nelson

Pat Nelson was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, where she lived with her family on the dairy farm of a tuberculosis sanatorium. She was a shy child, and she learned that writing was a safe way to express herself. Once she stopped being timid, she became a writer with a quick wit, one who enjoys finding humor in most anything. 

She is a freelance editor, and enjoys making the work of other writers even better. She hates seeing so many errors in many of today's books and she respects writers who care as much about good editing as a good story.

Her quick wit and love of humor, combined with her editing skills, come in handy as a co-creator for and story contributor to Publishing Syndicate's humorous and sometimes edgy anthology series, "Not Your Mother's Book." The publishers of "Not Your Mother's Book" previously co-authored "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books for 10 years, but their NYMB series contains no sad stories, only true stories that are humorous and just edgy enough to make them a fun read. And speaking of quick wit . . . Nelson has attended the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshops in Dayton, Ohio, a gathering of 300 quick-witted writers. 

Nelson co-created "Not Your Mother's Book . . . On Being a Parent." Don't worry, it's not another guide on how to parent. This book is filled with stories of people who survived parenthood and lived to laugh about it. You will, too! Of course it is available at in print or Kindle versions. She is accepting story submissions at www.Publishing for "Not Your Mother's Book . . . On Being a Grandparent." Her next ROFL book, "NYMB . . . On Working for a Living" will be released in November, 2014. She also proofreads the "Not Your Mother's Books." Her column "Windows on Woodland" appears monthly in "The Valley Bugler" and she previously wrote columns for "The Daily News," Longview, Washington. Her stories appear at

Nelson offers these writing workshops: "Finding Your Story" and "How to Write for Anthologies and Build Your Platform." She has also worked with students for many years to encourage them to write.

She lives in Woodland, Washington, where she participates in Cedar Creek Writers, WordFest Northwest, NWPA and Willamette Writers. 
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