He was my Ward doctor for two months after being transferred to the state hospital, and for two hours we talked and talked. He asked me why I thought I was there, so I told him that the child care center didn't like me for me because of the girl I am.
He asked me if I wanted to be a girl physically, to which I replied ever since I was very little. He smiled and told me that people like me were called transsexual and that was not considered a mental disease or defect, and he would do whatever he could to get me out of there.
He said he had just been named as superintendent but he wasn't going to wait until he took the office to start his campaign to get my mother to take me home. He called her from the office while I was there and said I needed to talk to her. She said I deserved everything I got, and I told that to Dr. Treffert and he took the phone and talked to my mom.
After a bit he sighed and said thank you, then hung up. "She won't let you come home, but a girl belongs home her mother, and you belong home with your mother." His voice was soft and kind, and understanding. This man actually cared for me, and didn't want to see me harmed.
He assigned me to a ward, and after I was settled in I began conniving how to get home. A couple of months passed, and I was allowed to go home on a visit, which I turned into a full summer. But when I got home, and I had asked mother why she didn't want me to come home for good, all she said was "because".
Is that a real reason, or just an excuse to get me out from under her resposnibility? Did she really love me, or was she just pretending until she could get rid of me? But after that first summer she allowed me to come home on more visits, and summer vacations as well. Was she feeling guilty about abandoning me and disowning me? Or was she just placating me, so I had a purpose and a hope?
What was her real reason she left me in harm's way? I guess I will never know, because whatever her reasons were, she took them with her to her grave.
Dr. Treffert was my knight in shining armor, because he was the one man I could actually talk to and get advice from. He was more than just a doctor to me, he was a father figure, a loving, caring, compassionate father figure. After my first home visit I was locked in my room because I was wearing makeup that one of the girl's had loaned me while out on a liberty pass on the grounds. While I was in my room, Dr. Treffert was showing the new ward doctor around, and when Dr. Treffert saw me in my room, he wanted to know why I was there.
The nurse who ordered me locked in my room told Dr. Treffert it was because I was wearing makeup like a girl. He told her he didn't care if I was wearing a dress, I was not to be locked in my room, because I wasn't violating and hospital rules. She argued with him, and he finally told her to unlock my door or she could stand in line at the unemployment office.
She refused, and Dr. Treffert ordered the orderly to open my room, and put my furniture back in. Then he told the unit staff that I was not to be punished for any infraction unless it was a serious infraction and only then after express written permission from him. The nurse and the desk orderly complained to Madison that Dr. Treffert was taking on personal patients while he was superintendent.
The letter that Madison wrote back said that if Dr. Treffert had personal patients as superintendent, then he must have a good reason for it, that is why he was named superintendent, because he was resourceful and understood psychiatric patients better than most.
Dr. Treffert was not the kind of superintendent to lord over others, unless it was for the patients benefit. He was a gentle man, well over six feet tall, but he had a kind heart. Then the next day on liberty I asked him if he meant what he had said about him not caring if I wore a dress or not. He said he did, and I asked him if I could go in to Oshkosh to do a little shopping. His smile was warm and friendly when he said, "of course".
His attempts to stop my abusers was futile though because the ward staff wasn't forwarding my letters to him. But I told him on liberty, and he made it known to the ward staff that all letters addressed to him will either be delivered to him or the staff person responsible will be fired. After I got my female wardrobe from J. C. Penny's and Sears & Roebuck in Oshkosh, I had new rules. The boys rules no longer applied to me, I was to adhere to the rules for the girls. By day I was to be on the girls ward, and by night on the vacant ward, with a key to my room.
Dr. Darold A. Treffert, PhD MD will always be the hero to me every girl dreams of, but he was my reality. I remember him still today and I will never forget the kind
man who had my life in the palm of his hands, but treated me like a lady, like a human being.
Today the Winnebago State Hospital is called the Winnebago Mental Health Institute
and the first street on the grounds is named Treffert Drive in his honor. He was a real
man, loving, kind, understanding, and never once raised his voice. To me he will
always be my ideal man.