My name is Rebekah Pitts and I am an advocate for exploration.
I have just moved to Brantford this summer and have an intrinsic sense of curiosity. Over the past couple of years, I have backpacked through different parts of the world, always taking the time to explore, spend time with the locals, and naturally, find characteristics that make an area distinct.
There is no reason the same can’t be done here. I’m excited to look at Brant with new eyes and each month to report on what I’ve found.
Brant County is a place of opportunity. I already have a wealth of friends and family who live here. I’m blessed with many tour guides in this new place I’m now calling home. Given the short time I have lived in Brantford, I can see the potential for growth and development.
Brantford and Brant County’s underlying charm has made me excited to discover what the city will have to offer me in the future. Since I’ve moved here, I’m learning more and more about my family history as well. I might be calling Brantford home for the first time but many previous generations in my family have a past here and have proudly called Branford home.
In 1939, on 282 Marlborough Street, a young woman raised 4 daughters, a son and tended to her house. Every morning, her husband rode his bike to Jackson’s Bread. Six mornings of the week he loaded his wagon and delivered bread door to door. The seventh day was spent tending to the work horses. Their children attended King George School.
During the summer, playing in the river or public pools was not allowed because of the polio scare, but there was no shortage of picnics in Mohawk Park. In 1952, the 2nd eldest daughter met a young man at a dance at the Rainbow Room on Darling Street. In 1953 they were married. That 2nd eldest daughter was my grandmother, Joyce Swackhamer who’s still married to Joseph Swackhamer, the fine young gentleman she met at the Rainbow Room.
Today, when I visit my grandparents, I am reminded of the many happy years my grandmother and great grandparents had in Brantford and the importance of laying roots in a place you love.
Nearly 50 years later, with family members dispersed around the country, we have begun to move back to Brantford. Today, I have family members, directly related, extended, and through marriage, living in this city.
When people move, there are often the inherent feelings that come along with that change. For some, it’s fear, other’s anxiety or excitement. I had a blend of these before moving to Brantford, but I also experienced something that not many other people get to.
I was moving to a “new” city that held years of my family’s history, untold stories and countless memories already. I moved to a place where there are roots waiting for me. Family and friends literally steps away from my front door and because of this, I hold a sense of familiarity while I work towards making this city my own too.
There are places in this area that are begging to be explored; restaurants that are hidden gems, activities that everyone should try, scenery that will take your breath away. As a new resident, I am excited to experience these things through new eyes and with old roots.
I have realized in a matter of weeks that Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations and New Credit have so much to offer. Once one is able to explore and identify with the area, its charm, its history and its passion, the people will reach out to you, making you discover your own roots and your own passion.