I was born January 2, 1945 in the old Sherbrooke Hospital on Park Street, in the Queen City of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The family had celebrated New Year’s Day 1945 with my father’s sister, Inez Gundesen, in her little fieldstone house on Queen Street, Lennoxville about seven miles from home, Brightlook Farm, at Waterville. It was bitterly cold and a storm was anticipated. Because the road back to the farm was in questionable condition, my mother decided to stay overnight with Inez and her sons. In the wee hours of the morning, Mum’s labour began and she headed alone in a taxi to the hospital; Mr. Littlejohn, the driver, lived next door to Inez. I was greeted in the delivery room soon after 6:25 p.m. by my cousin, Anna Clair Bernard, who was completing her training as a registered nurse. I thank her for her love and for her support of this project.
I learned to love Jerseys when very young and as a toddler I could name the milking cows as I walked down the centre aisle of the cow barn. I loved to sing, and with Aunt Bertha Parkinson at the piano, performed Galway Bay at the United Church Christmas Tree, in December 1948. My Dad sang as he worked and I learned the song sheet hits of 1900 - 1920 from him because his sisters had played them on the piano.
Being a January child, I was almost seven when I entered Miss Ennals’ grade one class at Lennoxville High School as an eager student. Education continued there and at Compton-Waterville Intermediate when I returned to Lennoxville for grades ten and eleven.
I graduated from Macdonald College with a Class II Diploma in Education and taught grade six in East Greenfield in Chambly County for a year before attending Sir George Williams, now Concordia University. In 1969, I earned a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in English. I spent a couple of years in British Columbia as a supply teacher and came to Toronto in 1972 to work for the Jersey Breeder magazine. In 1973, I bought my beautiful home in downtown Toronto, with my partner, Drew Russell. After Dad’s death, Mother came to live with us. I held a variety of jobs including a long spell as Reservations Manager at Hart House, University of Toronto. Through all this time I have been proud to sing with the renowned Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, which has given me a musical life I could not have imagined, as a child, but knew I wanted.
This book has had a long germination which required endless fertilization and cultivation and although not apparent, some actual weeding and pruning. Any fruit it bears is, in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, for "the dear days of old with the faces in the firelight; kind folks of old, [who] come again no more."
Daniel B. Parkinson