Just when I thought I’d have absolutely nothing for this week’s Sepia Saturday theme, I ended up with two photos to fit perfectly. My husband’s parents recently moved and cleaned out the home they’d lived in for almost 40 years. During the course of cleaning, they found boxes of old photos that were saved when my husband’s grandparents died. I remember his father telling us that my husband’s grandmother had been sent away when she had tuberculosis which also ended her engagement to an unknown man. At the end of her treatment, she met and married my husband’s grandfather and the rest is history! Hilje Dijkema and Doede Jaarsma were married in 1941, and if I remember correctly, family history tells me that she was in the hospital somewhere around 5 years which would make her intake about 1936 at age 22. The numbers line up pretty well if you consider she would’ve been newly engaged when she went into the Sanatorium. Well, when the box of photos came home and I started going through them, I was excited to see there were photos of what looked like her time spent in the Sanatorium, however with no names or dates or anything on the backs. A few featured the front of the building and after a little googling, I found that it must have been the Sanatorium Sonnevanck in Harderwijk, Netherlands. The Sanatoriums were split up by religion, so it also clued me in that Hilje and her family were of the Reformed religion (Gereformeerde). There are just two little photo booklets that show her life inside the Sanatorium, but they’re a precious glimpse into what was undoubtedly a difficult time. However, even while recovering from TB, she clearly had made friends and they managed to have a little fun from time to time. In the above photo, Hilje is on the far right with the “x” in the border of the photo. They appear to be having a meal together and paused for a group photo.
In another photo, the group of ladies appear to be having tea together. Hilje is fourth from the right in the front row, seated. Here you can see some of the ladies are in robes while others are dressed or in coats, presumably having come in from being out in the sun and open air. Hilje apparently lived in Pavilion III which was demolished sometime in the 1970s. Parts of Sonnevanck are still standing though and are used as a nursing home. It’s really neat to see these snippets of her daily life while so far away from home and family and I’m SO glad someone saw fit to hang on to them for so many years. My apologies for showing up late to dinner this week, but I’m catching up this week, I swear!