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Energies that Throb and Thrill! --- Herbert Shelton lecture announcement
Continued interview with Dr. Virginia Vetrano - #4
In 1965 after I graduated and passed my state boards, I started working solely at Dr. Shelton's Health School. I ran the health school and did everything. Some of the patients we had were international, they came from all over. Shelton was bed-ridden, pretty much. He could talk still. When he couldn't get enough energy to push the air out to be heard, he would whisper.
Tosca did the books with him. She was 15 when she graduated, that's when she started working with him, when he couldn't work anymore. He couldn't get up. That's exactly when she started to come over in the evenings, in the afternoon, after school. (She worked with him until she was 25 and married.)
Dr. Shelton's chair, at the Royl retreat
It was at that time that she started putting out the first hygienic newsletter for children, probably at the age of 15 or 16. And it caught on, she had many subscribers.
I don't know where she got the subscribers, but it was called The New Dawn, and it was just like Shelton's Hygienic Review but it was geared for children, for young people, and had a lot of articles in there. I still have some copies of it.
She had a whole mailing list, but I don't remember where she got the names. Everybody in ANHS knew that she were putting this paper out, so they all wanted their children to have it. That's how she got the money to publish it. And she hand-printed it with this old type mimeograph, that the teachers used. It was like a paint tray with gel and ink, and she would lay out the sheet on this gel and it would copy. That was the first copying machine, hand-done copies on this gel. It took her about a month to put it out, but she got it out every month.
Where did she get the information? It was just out of her knowledge, her own writing. She had little stories in it, I don't remember what she put in it. It was darling.
When Greg Haag first met Tosca, and found out about Natural Hygiene, he took to it, just like I had taken to it. This was before he ever studied anything. When he found out what the Health School was all about, that's what he wanted. There was no question ever in his mind what he wanted to do. That was it; that was what he was gonna do; it was meant for him; it was fate; it was whatever you want to call it. He was so enthusiastic about the health school, and I think at that time we had somebody there who had no energy, and somebody with a knee injury, and he was so amazed that they got well.
When Greg and Tosca got married, she was about 25. Soon Tosca got pregnant and they had Raven when she was 26. By then, they both had decided to go to Texas Chiropractic College, which had now moved to Houston from San Antonio. But they wanted to be in classes together; because they studied best together. They moved to Houston, when Tosca was pregnant, and she was studying to catch up with Greg. They also had started taking classes at San Antonio college to catch up on the basic sciences, and were allowed to take them at the same time. So they were living in 2 places then. Greg stayed out of school one year and helped me. He was travelling back and forth to the Health School to help me out, and give me a break.
The first case Greg was introduced to at the Health School, was a horrible case. This patient (Golford) had been given antibiotics, and he had gotten carbunkles and fistulas and they just burst all over, on his arms and groin. He was referred to me from Dr. Cursio who had stopped practising at that time. The patient had an allergic reaction to the drugs that he had been given. The carbuncles would open and you could see all the way into his body, into his abdomen, even to his bones, where he had abcesses too. We fasted him, he fasted about 28 days; and the holes were closing up, slowly closing up. They weren't completely closed, because after all there were huge holes all over his body. He couldn't even take a bath, because then he would get water inside his body. He had had a reaction to the medicine, I think it was penicillin.
Greg had a similar case recently (2001), an 89 year old lady in Florida, who developed a huge carbuncle right on her back. It was that big, with purple & blue & black marks all over it, around a foot in diameter. On her little back. And there was a hole about 2 inches across. Greg has already gotten her over it, only about 2 months ago.
Tosca and Greg switched from chiropractic study to medicine, after 2 years, so they never graduated. They went and found a medical school they wanted to go to in Mexico. 7 1/2 years they studied medicine and worked in the hospitals. So they studied totally 11 1/2 years from the time they started taking basic sciences to go into that field. The school was a state school of Mexico, but it was right across the border from Brownsville, so they just went across the bridge into Mexico and came right back. They lived in Brownsville.
It was all in Spanish. They had to learn Spanish, a super-speedy course in Spanish, 6 months in Houston with a Spanish teacher, private classes. Learning how to speak Spanish to go down into Mexico and learn medicine.
In Brownsville I started my own health school and had to build up a new clientele, but it didn't work out too well. What I wanted to do was keep Shelton's open and mine open too. I spent 3 days at my health school and go up there and keep it open for him 3 days. Well, some at Shelton's Health School didn't like that, and the help started talking bad about me to the clients. One of the girls who took Tosca's place when she went to school, was trying to read his lips and could never do it right, and I told her when she learnt to proofread I'd give her a raise. Well, she never learned to proofread. So I had to continually keep reading proof, even though I wasn't getting paid for it. To keep the magazine going. That woman was working for me before I left, and she is the one who started lying, and getting with Shelton's daughter Willden, just telling lies about me. No reason at all. They spread a lot of bad rumors. So that made a lot of problems with me, so I said what am I coming back and killing myself for, when they don't want me to anyway.
Shelton's kids wanted him to close the school, they didn't want it open anymore. Because they had had too many lawsuits already, you know. So I left, they didn't want me there, they didn't appreciate me coming 3 times a week.
I worked for Shelton for 17 years, from 1964 to 1977. Shelton was still alive then, he was living at the Health School, but he didn't come with us. He stayed at his school but it wasn't open. And he had somebody coming in and taking care of him.
Around 1979 Shelton closed the Health School, because he couldn't get anybody to really do anything, and I had to come back to do the magazine.
He was there when other people were running it, but these other people were not very responsible people, because they just decided to pick up and leave, and all the girls had quit, and there was nobody to look after Dr. Shelton, and he was there for at least one full day or 2 days alone. Bedridden. No food, no nothing. Nobody to turn him, nobody to help him, they just left, and he couldn't get to the telephone. Somebody finally called and said: those guys left and took everything with them and Willden better come and get Dr. Shelton, or something. They said they took as much as they could of everything. They were about to take something else when somebody came upon them.
His daughter Willden came and took him over to his wife's home in San Antonio, and that's where they kept him until his death in 1985. They tried to run the Health School for almost a year, so I think this was 1980. They tried to run it without me for almost a year, but they couldn't do it.
When we were in Brownsville, Greg and Tosca were also studying midwifery. They set up those home birthing centers for people who didn't want to go into the hospital or the clinic, a natural birthing center, and we had women coming in there. We had little birth certificate for little girls and little boys, and had other things that we gave to the ladies.
They graduated from medical school in Mexico, at Universidad de Tamalipas. And Tosca was with child again, when graduating, she walked across the floor like that. I came down to see her graduate, because at that time I lived in Brownsville myself, near them. And I was running the Chateau de Sages health school, because I had left Shelton's at that time. And Tosca and Greg did the castle on the weekends, while they were studying. So I had 2 days off.
Dr. Vetrano portrayed in the Brownsville Herald, 1980
It was very hard to get that health school in Brownsville started, the Chateau. I should have retired, because I had worked day and night for 17 straight years, and here I was still commuting to San Antonio, trying to keep Shelton's open too. Wearing myself out for 6 months that way. I kept trying for 6 months. And it was just too difficult, especially with everybody talking bad about me. You know, after I was killing myself, and then I had people talking. This was 1980, and I was 50.
I was ready to retire. Working at a health school is hard. Natural Hygiene counselors, all they do is counsel in the daytime and they go home and have a nice night of sleep and not worry about anybody having a crisis or anything. That's fine, I think we need a lot of counsellors, I am not putting them down, I am really pleased that we have hygienic counselors like David Klein and all those other, we need millions of them, to teach Hygiene to the people, but we do also need some doctors. But the doctors have it the hardest. Because they have to fight the medical profession, and the family, the family comes out there, sees where the person is, and they get mad, and they say "you're coming home", boom, while they are still fasting, and then they sue you. And blame you for something that happened.
I was in Brownsville from 78/79, and my health school closed in 1981, something like that. We had a hurricane, a huge storm, the first year I was open. After that, zilch, no patients. We were full until then, but after, people were afraid to come in. So the business just went boom, and it was also during that 1981 collapse of the market. Nobody had any money for a while. It was sort of a semi-depression.
So it was just a bad time, the hurricane plus the economic condition in the US, and I had opened a new place.
Not many people came, the cost of electricity was 2000 per month. It was economically not feasible, because I had to pay 2000 a month on the mortgage that I had on the Chateau, 1800 a month for the electricity, and then another 2000 for the girls that worked there, and I wasn't even making 6000 a month. So I was losing money. While helping to put them through school. So we just went through a lot of money there, and didn't make any money back.
Next they sued Shelton's Health School and I was working there then. In the end they took the health school and the home. My home in Brownsville was taken away. One big lawsuit. And it was a physician's fault. This patient had been on cortisone for years and years, I told him he couldn't come until he had been off cortisone for 6 months, and then a month later he called and said "I just cannot do it at home, I want to come now". Unfortunately I said yes. But when he got there he didn't want to break his fast when I told him to, he got into a crisis and he needed cortisone to get through the crisis. He didn't bring his prescription, so I took him to the hospital. He was going into shock because you cannot take a crisis without a lot of adrenaline. There I told them he had been on cortisone for years and I said he needed cortisone, but they didn't listen, they just waited around, and he died. And then they blamed it on me and Shelton's Health School. We went to the court.
When I was foreclosed on and lost the Castle, I lost all the 200,000 dollars I had put into it, and all the monthly payments, making a fence, new roof, repairing, etc. I lost a lot of money and was broke after the lawsuit, because they also took my house in Houston. They didn't take the Queen's Castle away from me because I couldn't pay for it anymore, so it went back to the previous owner.
After this, there was kind of a long hiatus, when I spent many years traveling around, trying to keep writing all the time. I wrote a lot of stuff for Victoria Bidwell, but never got a book finished before I got started on another project. Now I have about 8 books that are more than 3/4 done, on the computer. I have a book on vaccination, on exercise, weightloss, arterial sclerosis, food and feeding, vegetarianism, water (8 glasses a day, that is not good for you), and food combining. (ANHS doesn't believe in food combining anymore, but I am bringing it totally up to date, scientifically proving that it is good.)
All those books are almost written, I just have to finish them. But I don't want to fall into the trap of no copyrighting, as Shelton did. Also, we have a book that Shelton wrote, that he never published, full notes for a new book. I have so much in my head that I cannot get to.
The earlier parts of the interniew available here, and in the INHS member area.
Dr. Vetrano and Drs. Haag at the Royl Retreat in 2001
Visit Dr. Vetrano's website:
vetrano.cjb.net or www.roylretreat.com
Many photos in the interview courtesy of Dr. Vetrano
Also see Shelton's bio by Bidwell for more background data