Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 56
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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by trees, inside all was gloom and shadow. And the Bournewood
regime, I found, was as irksome as the physical aspect was de-
pressing. Dr. Stedman was a hard taskmaster, almost impossible
to please. Nonetheless, I remained there for two years, always
reading in the medical books that Bernard and Leman had
recommended: in Simon on chemistry, Chapman on physiology,
Klein on histology, et cetera.
Altogether, this period of my life, which for some is a golden
time, was hard and gray, a laborious monotone. But this much,
in retrospect, I will say. I believe with Alexis Carrel that the
psychosoma is made to be used, and used hard, up to a point.
With hard use comes strength. From this standpoint my years
at Bournewood had value.
There was something else that weighed me down at this time.
Shortly before I took up training at McLean, my parents sepa-
rated. According to his lights, my father was a good man. He
read the Bible, and quoted from it. When crossed, he raised a
hard and heavy hand to his children. He struggled fiercely,
but was too rigid in manner and expectation to make his way. To
his family he was a tyrant. Today I have only pity for him, for
he was a man who could not be loved, which is a bitter fate.
One by one the children quit the nest, following my example.
One of my brothers, Fred, went to California as a mere boy.
Presently, with only their youngest son John left in her care,
my mother rose up in defiance of my father and went to Cali-
fornia, herself taking John with her. To people of Calvinist
persuasion like ourselves this took great provocation and in-
volved a deep moral decision. I shared in my family's distress.
Thereafter I undertook not only to save for a medical educa-
tion, but to support my mother and John as well, after they had
settled in the West. Meanwhile, my father, embittered and
completely unable to understand the havoc he had wrought,
eventually returned to New Brunswick and the farm. There he
died and is buried in Baie Verte. When I visited his grave in
later life, my only feeling, I discovered, was sadness. And my
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/68/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.