|General||Library Services||Children/Young Adult||Township||Help the Library||Contact Us||Virtual Village|
Mrs. Frank Scolpino & Det. Sgt. Anthony Scolpino
(Interview taped 8/11/1976 by Mildred Taylor & Edna Spath)
Mrs. Scolpino: I have lived in this house since the day I was married--Oct.16,1921-- nearly 55 years. I came from Brooklyn as a bride. My father -in-law had first come to Teaneck in 1909. He worked for the Brooklyn Sanitation Department and came here part time. He built the house in 1913.
Sgt. Scolpino: At first he built a one-room shack on the back of the lot and lived there before building the house. People used to do that in those days. We three boys were born here.
Mrs. Scolpino: We had no gas at first. We had a little range where we burned wood for cooking. After a couple of years my father-in-law had a gas line laid from Teaneck Road. Our neighbors were the Materas who lived on the corner at Teaneck Road. Vackas lived in the back. They haven't been gone too long,
Sgt. Scolpino: Miss Decker owned apple orchards in the back of our house where Galway Place is. Maria Decker was related to the Ackermans. I remember when she was up in years she had a little church built because it was hard for her to go to Hackensack. She donated the little Baptist Church on Teaneck Road near Tryon Ave. She was related to Richard Ackerman. The whole grounds belonged to them.
Mrs. Scolpino: The boys had a nice time there. In the early 30s, they rented to people who brought cows in. My father-in-law had a goat and chickens. He kept the shack he had built and used it as a summer house. He had white Leghorn chickens.
Sgt. Scolpine: When I was about 10, I sent away for 25 chicks, They sent me 250! The neighbors and my father put up two more chicken coops.
Mrs. S: We had grape arbors--there is one still there. My father-in-law made barrels of wine. At the end of the street was a speakeasy. Ralph Troy, he was a retired actor and she was an actress.
Sgt. S.: I remember the traffic. They made it into a night club.
Mrs. S.: I have three sons: Tony, Robert, who is a planning director in Gloucester County, and Frank Jr., a captain in the Navy. He is a graduate of Annapolis. They are coming for a visit.
Sgt. S.: In the early 20s people who built put up temporary shelters before they built their houses. That was true of many homes in this area. Mary Baird's house next door was built the year my mother was married. That was a two-family house. Mrs. James Herrold who lived there now lives in Dumont.
Mrs. S.: I'm 76. All my boys entered the Navy. They all went to Teaneck High.
Sgt. S.: In 1942, 20 of us fellows from this neighborhood enlisted the same day.
Mrs. S.: They built Bryant School when he was ready for kindergarten. They built it in time for Tony. We had lots of eggs and chickens. I didn't sell them. I used them or gave them to relatives. Mrs. Gould Harris bought some. I was a Red Cross volunteer during the war. I was in charge of production. I did lots of sewing. When the army set up the Anti-Aircraft camp in Teaneck after the war I repaired uniforms and sawed on patches. I remember Mrs. Talbort. I think she was in Motor Service -- and Dorothy Lupton, now Mrs. Beach. She's in Florida.
Sgt. S.: I joined the Teaneck Police force in 1949. I've been in 27 years. As for that episode at the race track--I had done a lot of wrestling and football playing in school. I was a good tackle. I was at Yonkers Race rack on my day off when I saw this follow walking around. I recognized him. He used to live in Teaneck but he was not living here then. I knew he was wanted. His picture had been posted. He had escaped from Elmira where he was sent for rape and robbery. I had no gun. I went to the Pinkerton guard and asked him to help. He stayed behind. I tackled the guy. People spotted me. People were being knocked down left and right. A New York City cop behind me had a gun at my back. When I got close the fellow drew a gun. I tackled him. He shot me. I didn't realize I was shot till some one told me there was blood running down my back. He fired a second shot. Then he put a bullet through his head. People screamed that I did it. I was being pulled and shoved, The Security men came. They protected me. I had pain in my shoulder. The man behind me said "You're bleeding." De Cannio my friend was with me. He called the ambulance. I saw this follow bandaged. He died later that night.
Mrs. S.: I got threats. They told me they were going to send Tony home in a box. They had a hearse drive by the house.
Sgt. S.: This was in 1955. They didn't know I was a cop. Capt. Fitzpatrick (now chief) and Patrolman Carl Franke came to visit me at the hospital. They said I shouldn't be in the same room with the follow. That was before I went into surgery. Getting back to the old times. When we were young we played baseball where the Armory is. Then we played at Tryon Ave. and Van Cortlandt, using Bedsprings and such for back stops. We didn't have any planned play programs.
Mrs. S.: The train was the main transportation. We also took the trolley to the ferry. We got off the trolley in Englewood and walked home. We shopped in Englewood.
Sgt. S.: When I was 3 or 4, I walked to Englewood once a week with my grandfather. We'd pull the groceries home in a coaster wagon. We used coal and wood for the furnace. I would sit on the sawbuck while grandpa sawed. He had stacks and stacks of wood. When we changed to oil heat they carted away two truckloads of wood. He was a great gardener. He raised lots of tomatoes, peppers and squash and Grapes!
Mrs. S.: We have one arbor now. I have a hard time picking grapes. Now we make juice. Last fall some boys came and I let them pick a pan for me and they picked all they wanted. Next day they had had their fill of grapes.
Sgt. S.: I now live in Tenafly. I did live in Teaneck, but the children are grown and we moved to a smaller house. We used to shop at Etten's Market where Cutler's Drug Store is and Benny Manno the barber was.
Mrs. S.: I joined the Red Cross in World War II, Tony used to deliver hospital beds. Mrs. Mayerhoff of Englewood would see that the work was cut. Many women didn't know much about sawing--how to put together the little coats we made for England -- Bundles for Britain. I knew tailoring.
George and Mrs. Cady lived near here. Mr. Cady designed Bryant School.
Sgt. S.: During the depression I remember old men who were in construction and had no steady work. They would be picked up in a truck when day work was available. They were good workers. They were in demand. Older boys were affected by the Depression. They'd work a day on the coal yard when they could get it.
Mrs. S.: I ran rummage sales for Women of the Elks--a project to raise money. This was the Bergenfield Elks. Pop was there 49 Years.
Sgt. S.: There was no Shepherd Ave. But there were sidewalks that went no where. Curbs where houses were never built during the 20s. They never put in the street at the west end of Tryon for a long time. Sidewalks and curbs were there for 25 years. Galway Place as well. They didn't cut it through because residents objected-people would cut through before Tryon Avenue.
In the area of Teaneck Armory were houses without cellars. Those houses were built about 22 years ago, When they dug down 3 feet for footings they found skulls--one with a hole in it. We thought we had a murder but where the Armory is used to be the Poor Farm. When inmates died they'd wrap them in a black sheet and dig a grave. Those were the bodies that were unearthed. They built the Armory in 1938. This was when they built the houses on Ward Plaza near the Armory property.
I work with juveniles and I don't think youth is getting better. I think they're worse. Maybe it's too much permissiveness. There's nothing wrong with hero worship. These kids don't look up to any one--the priests, teacher--nobody. I respected teachers. Respect for the others and the law is necessary for an orderly society.
This town is very slow in getting Senior citizen housing.
Mrs. S.: A friend lives upstairs. She is 80.
Sgt. S.: About the shopping, We used to have a vegetable man, a milk man and a bread man who came around. Louie Polizzi had a vegetable wagon. He lived on Hamilton Road,, but he has moved. There was a man who came around and picked up shoes, took them home and repaired them. 25 cents for half soles and heels.
Mrs. S.: We went to New York by trains, but my husband's brother got A Ford, and he'd take up to Brooklyn. My father had an old Hudson and he'd take the children to Coney Island.
Sgt. S.: The VFW would like to have a social for long time. Teaneck residents to mark our 50th anniversary and the Bicentennial. I am a past commander and a trustee. Bob Blanchard is commander. I was fortunate in growing up here. Boys didn't get into real trouble. The old bunch still gets together-- we have reunions of the boys, their parents and families. The next will be in 1977.
Mrs. S.: Next door lived Mrs. Bill Whitman. She came in 1918. Her husband was electrician for the Board of Education. She's 86, sold her house and now lives in Now Milford.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410