In 1928, a happy, ambitious young student nurse was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her family sent her to a nursing home in Saranac Lake for several months of ‘curing’. She was destined to remain in bed for twenty-one years! Most people might have given up, but not Isabel Smith.
She approached the threshold of death on several occasions, but she never ceased to pursue the art of living. She read voraciously, loved to write letters, studied geography and taught other patients to read and write.
From her bed she studied atomic energy with a fellow patient, a young physicist, and organized a town hall meeting on the topic.
While ill, she met a kind gentle man, also a patient at the sanitarium. She dreamed of marrying him and having a little house ‘under the mountains’. At her lowest ebb, her dream kept her going, and in 1948, she did marry.
She then wrote a book about ‘all the good things life has brought me’. Wish I Might, published in 1955, earned her enough in royalties to buy her mountain retreat.
A tragic life? Hardly! Isabel Smith achieved everything she set out to achieve, even when the odds against her were 1000 to 1. Even flat on her back in bed, she never stopped growing, learning and giving.