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Rob Atkinson and his brothers came out to homestead in
Manitoba, as did Duncan Day, a second cousin. Duncan married
Jenny McClaren, the window of another local homesteader, but Jenny's
maiden name was Atkinson. We now know that Jenny had Myotonic
Dystrophy type 2, a form of Muscular Dystrophy that attacks later in
life. The Myotonic Dystrophy had manifested itself about the time that Jenny had her fourth and last
child Arnott, and she was
having trouble caring for her new baby. Duncan called on his
sister Annabella (Belle) Day to come out from Ontario to help.
Single eligible women were hard to find in rural Manitoba at
the time, and Rob Atkinson eagerly accompanied his friend Duncan to the
railway station to pick up Belle when she arrived. The story
goes that as Rob was preparing to leave for the station he discovered
that his one and only tie had a stain on it. Anxious to make
a good impression, he turned his tie inside out so that the stain
wouldn't show. Probably the tie was not a big factor, but Rob
was able to make a good enough impression on the young Belle that they
eventually got married. So Jenny, who was born an Atkinson
was now a Day, and Belle, who was born a Day became an Atkinson.
Belle and Rob went on to have 3 daughters, but Belle always
had a special place in her heart for Arnott, the nephew that she had
helped raise and the son she never had. Jenny died when
Arnott was still a very young man of 13, and Arnott then spent a lot of his
time at Rob and Belle's farm, visiting with his special aunt and
with their three daughters - Calista, Wanda and Mary - he thought of
them much like the sisters he had never had. Later, the ties
between their offspring grew stronger when Jim Brown, the widower of
Calista, married Dorothy Day, the widow of Arnott Day.