YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown has evolved quite a bit over the last century, and Marie Bochan has been here to see it all.
Born Marie McCord in Peekskill on Aug. 23, 1917, she was raised on an 85-acre farm on Croton Lake Road.
She later married Henry Bochan and lived on the farm until the 1950s. She worked various jobs in Yorktown throughout her life, including at a Commerce Street restaurant. Her final job was at Yorktown Electric, where she worked for about 10 years, she said.
Because many of the commercial buildings were leveled in the 1960s as part of an “urban renewal” program, the Yorktown of today hardly resembles the Yorktown in which she grew up.
“I can’t describe it,” she says of the pre-1960s Yorktown. Though she recalls a time when the Yorktown Police Department consisted of just one officer and the school district had only one bus.
She was raised on the farm by her parents, Chester and Loretta McCord. She had two younger siblings: Henry (deceased) and Chet. Farm life was simple, she said. They made their own food and they had no utilities to entertain themselves.
Growing up, Bochan’s favorite place to visit was Ossining. She recalls her grandfather taking her to the neighboring town in a horse and buggy to buy her first pair of shoes, which cost $4. When she returned home with her new shoes, her father threw a fit.
“He was mad,” Bochan said with a laugh. “He never forgot that. Four dollars for a pair of shoes; that was a lot of money in those days.”
Her father was a well-known blacksmith who mainly shoed horses. A photo of Chester McCord was included in the 2003 book, “Images of Yorktown,” authored by Alice Roker and Linda Cooper.
Bochan and her husband eventually settled in the same Shrub Oak house she lives in today. They did not travel much, but enjoyed driving up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Florida. Her husband died about 20 years ago.
Today, Bochan lives in Shrub Oak with her aid, Juliet. Some of her favorite hobbies used to include crocheting and reading.
Family and friends celebrated Bochan’s 100th birthday with a celebration on Sunday, August 20.
Bochan said not indulging in drinking and smoking helped her reach the century milestone.
“What’s my secret?” Bochan said. “Keeping away from liquor!”