Transcription: Jean Babcock (JB) interviewed by Erika Mazanik (EM)
EM: My name is Erika Mazanik and I’m here interviewing Jean Babcock at Hollandviewtrail Retirement Community on October 26th, 2014 for the Oral History Aurora Project. So Jean, you are, how are you today?
JB: Oh I’m good
EM: So you did not grow up in Aurora, but you had a lot of connections with Aurora.
EM: Can you tell me about those?
JB: Well, it was uh, I lived in a little village called Kettleby and our nearest town was Aurora and we would come in here to do the big shopping, you know, and then later on we came to uh, Wells Street High School and that’s really where my connection with Aurora was. Later on I married a chap from Aurora, who lived in Aurora and we started a day camp in Kettleby, we sold that and we moved to Aurora. So I did have some experience of living in Aurora in my later life, but not my childhood.
EM: So, but you came here for shopping, can you tell me kind of what the shopping was like here? Do you remember that?
JB: Oh I was kinda small. Well I remember Ardell’s, they sold clothes and things like that. And there was the five and ten cent store which you could get things for a quarter, we used to shop there. Of course the parents did the drug store things. And there was uh, other than that there was nothing that really I was involved in as a child.
EM: You didn’t come to town for any activities or events or things like that?
JB: Oh yes, I remember one Christmas time we used to have Santa Claus come in for the parade and he would come in with the horses and a sleigh and park, you know where the United Church burnt down?
JB: Well next door to that was a lot and he would come there and we children would get a little bag of goodies and that was sort of special to have Santa Claus to come into town. And uh, I remember and I don’t know the year, but was a, a jubilee of King George the fifth and Queen Mary and there was a big deal over in the park, a big fair and everything. So that was a big deal for a little girl to go into, yea. So other than that, and then they always had the horse show, which I didn’t get into that as a child. So I think that would be the highlights, of the childhood and that was the jubilee, and the Santa Claus Parade. That was special.
EM: Sounds like fun.
EM: And then you went to High School at the Wells Street High School. Was that the closest High School to where you were?
JB: It was the only one
EM: It was the only one.
JB: Well there was Newmarket but that was , and King City but that was
EM: Did you have to get bused in here?
JB: Yes, there was a bus ? coach lines from King City was the bus but it started at Nobolton and came through the country and picked us up.
EM: And how was that, going to school here?
EM: How was going to High School here?
JB: Oh, it was wonderful.
EM: Do you have memorable moments from High School that you can share with us?
JB: I got one detention in five years oh and, I enjoyed High School made a lot of friends and uh I was on the basketball team and the track and field and uh, plays and commencements, all involved in those 5 years.
EM: So back and forth a lot with all of your extra-curricular activities as well. That’s great. Uh, um and then you married an Aurora man, Bill Babcock.
JB: That’s right.
EM: And did you meet him in High School here.
EM: Can you tell me a little bit about that?
JB: Well he really didn’t go with me then, he went with someone else. Later on we met up he was going to University and I was going to teacher’s college, so, yea.
EM: So he had grown up here his whole life?
JB: Oh yes, his whole life here. I believe he was born in the house where he lived on Wellington Street. I’m pretty sure he was.
EM: So a long time Aurora boy.
EM: continues those connections to town right. And you mentioned one of your most memorable Aurora moments was going to the United Church at the end of World War Two for a mass, can you tell us about that.
JB: Well I just remember being in the school, I was in 5th form, we heard the news and we were told we were all gonna march down to the Aurora – to the United Church and there’d be a service there. That was pretty special, because we did have cadets. Aurora High School was known for its cadets. So we just uh, well I forget how but I think we used our, our cadet inspection was always in May, and I think we just followed that, like the different groups, and that’s how we marched down. We didn’t just walk down higgily-piggily. It was really organized.
EM: That’s good, a really happy moment.
JB: Oh it was really happy, yea.
EM: Did Aurora change much that you can think of? Was life different when you were coming to school here during the war as opposed to other times?
JB: No we had a teacher in High School that taught us to knit, and some of the girls, I wasn’t involved, but some of the girls used to go down to the Eaton Hall Farm, and the sailors, the vets were there. It was a nursing hospital at most. And they used to go down and sing. But I wasn’t involved in that. Anyway, that was something that we did in Aurora, during the war.
EM: Was there an, um. Do you have any other significant memories of town that you would like to share with us now?
JB: No I really don’t think so, no.
EM: But clearly you had good times, cause now in your later life you’ve chosen to move here. Did your past influence that?
JB: No well our day camp was in Kettleby and because we were both close to Aurora, Bill grew up here, so when we sold it we decided we’d move, come here. So that was the connection, to go back to his roots, not mine. So that was good, yea we enjoyed it. But I’ve noticed a difference, the growth in Aurora, very much so. And the stores have changed, you know, and the church burnt down, you know, good and bad.
EM: Everything’s a little different?
JB: Yea, but not. Different, but not different. You know what I mean? Still the small town atmosphere you know yet, that never disappears.
EM: Well excellent, thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing these wonderful stories.
JB: well they weren’t that wonderful.
EM: I thought they were great. So thank you so much.
JB: So anyway, thank you very much, I enjoyed it and it brings back memories that I’ve shared with you. Okay?
End. 8 min 16s