NOTA BENE BOOKS BLOG

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New York Trip (1): Of Books and Baskets, TB and Trudeau, Bethune and Stevenson

Strolled into this bookstore on the drive down to New York City on the weekend and made the acquaintance of its charming, dynamic owner Tracy Santagate

 

who, as the store name suggests, years ago married together her two favourite passions: books

 

and basket weaving,

 

and turned the union into a successful business, whilst home schooling her children. All she does now is run the shop, make baskets,

 

lead bicycle tours of the Maritimes, teach at the local college, and sit on the board of the local TB society.This is a woman of accomplishment…with a list. 

She told me about Dr. Edward Trudeau (cartoonist Garry’s grandfather) who, after graduating Med school in NYC was diagnosed with TB. He moved to Saranac Lake, supposedly to die; but he survived. And what’s more: "With virtually no knowledge of bacteriology and no scientific training, he began investigations on tuberculosis and a medical practice that would eventually draw patients from all over the world. The attraction, apart from his vivacious personality, was the sanatorium Trudeau established at Lake Saranac, the first devoted exclusively to the treatment of tuberculosis in the United States of America." Trudeau’s  patients included Robert Louis Stevenson who stayed in a ‘cure cottage’ during the winter of 1887, where he wrote "The Master of Ballantrae," an essay for Scribner Magazine.

The ‘cure’ evidently had much to do with the region’s climate,  sitting out on porches in the fresh air, and living  without heat, freezing your balls off, during the winter months. 

Dr. Norman Bethune also shows up in the story.  Admittance to Trudeau’s sanitorium at an early age apparently saved his life; an achievment that had as much to do with his determination to receive compression therapy, (a treatment he later mastered, championed, and practiced successfully on others), as with any local environmental conditions.

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