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A Very Special Gift

An Excerpt

In 1933 while a student at the University of Georgia, Emily Crum was exposed to typhoid fever. The administration acted quickly. Emily and the girl who'd been unlucky enough to spend a night in Helen's bed were immediately quarantined. They were locked in a room in the campus infirmary and allowed no face-to-face contact with anyone else.

Emily was furious. She felt fine. If she were going to contract the disease, she reasoned, she would already be sick -- like Helen was. She was not afraid of getting typhoid, but she was very unhappy at being held prisoner. And she was not about to accept such treatment without a fight. Besides, she had a date Friday night and had no intention of canceling it.

Late Friday afternoon, she slipped out an infirmary window and made her way across campus to her dorm. She found the door to her room had been padlocked, but that barely slowed her down. Using another student's room for access, she climbed out on the roof and crossed to the window of her own room. She went inside, got into an evening dress and telephoned her date. After arranging to meet him away from the dormitory, she retraced her route across the roof and was off for a night out. After that, the administration more or less gave up on the idea of quarantine.