Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 6
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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the example of many others in the Maritime Provinces, to pull
up stakes and gamble on a new life in the great and growing
country to the south. They moved first to Massachusetts, and
then scattered, with some of them going on to California, drawn
by the lure of the West to which so many Atkinsons have re-
sponded. Meanwhile, for three happy years I was left behind
with my maternal grandmother, Grandmother Grant, to keep
her company and ease my family's load.
As for the farmhouse at Little Shemogue, my impressions of
it are fragmentary. But I do remember the stands of black spruce,
stiff and still against the snow, as night fell on the wintry land
and the scented wood smoke from our chimney went straight up
toward a crescent of new moon hung in a crackling cold sky. I
remember, too, the maples aflame with color in the fall and
oozing sugary sap in the early spring when only corn snow was
left on the ground.
Like all farm boys I had to do chores and help my mother
around the house as soon as I could toddle. I was a blue-eyed
child with a ruddy complexion and fair hair that later came to
have a reddish cast. I took after my mother, I would say. In any
case, like so many mothers the world over, she was the family's
mainstay. In her I was blessed, as indeed in my father, too.
Mother early taught me to help her make bread and how to
card wool and knit, although the spinning of the yarn she did
herself. We lived, in the clearings of Little Shemogue, a pioneer
life not much different from that of the Acadians of two cen-
turies before. Sweaters, socks, and mittens we made at home,
from wool my father sheared from his own sheep. Our shoes,
unlike the ones he made for cash, my father fashioned of sewn
rawhide, cut from the salted skins of our own beasts after he
had slaughtered them. In the spring these homemade moccasins
began to give out a rank odor, one that I still connect with
Canada and the Canadian backwoods.
In our home I never saw so much as a kerosene lamp, let
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/18/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.