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NARRATOR: Marie De Yampert
INTERVIEWER: Gloria Howard
DATE OF INTERVIEW:    April 5, 1984
TRANSCRIBER: Jackie Kinney (7/1985)

(I) Now Mrs. De Yampert, is there anything that made you select Teaneck when you moved here in 1959?

(N) Yes. We drove across the bridge and we saw this little town and we liked it very much. It was suburban and we wanted to get out of the crowded city.

(I) Well, when you moved here, did you find it very different than your expectations? Tell me about how you felt when you moved here and how you adjusted.

(N) Well when we moved here, we felt that we were in a little town that we could be part of and it was a different type of life than in the city so we immediately became interested in gardening and its different phases.

(I) I see. Did you join an organization or something?

(N) Yes. We immediately joined the Garden Club of Teaneck. We became members and we are members at the present time, nearly twenty five years.

(I) Oh then I assume that, did you like it there, were you welcome there?

(N) Yes, we were welcomed there and we participated avidly in their flower shows which were quite exciting and we were fortunate to win many trophies and blue ribbons for our exhibits.

(I) Tell me, did you have any problems evident when you came here? How were the schools? Were they undergoing integration that late or . . how did you. . what would you say the tone was?

(N) Well the tone at that time, there were very few blacks here at that time and the schools were supposed to be some of the best in the country in this little town of Teaneck. We attended several of the school activities such as Open School Night to be apprised of what was happening in the schools, in the classrooms in particularly and then the Cooper Avenue Garden Club which was organized early on offered to plant bulbs at the Bryant School to beautify the garden with the aid of the children.

(I) Was that a new school, the Bryant School, at that time?

(N) No it wasn't a new school. It was an old school, a primary school. 

(I) Did you notice any difference in the schools before the Supreme Court decision in 1964 and afterwards?

(N) Well after 1964, it appeared that more blacks were moving into Teaneck from, particularly from the city and the schools were becoming more integrated than they were in the past.

(I) Do you remember, did you affiliate with any of these organizations that were doing anything particular? Was anything going on that you remember, either politically, socially or what have you? Any of the movements? Did they discuss busing or anything? Do you recall any of that or . .

(N) At some of those public meetings, they did discuss busing the children in but what actually happened, I really am not aware of. I wasn't that closely related to the situation. Only what we read in the newspapers.

(I) Did you affiliate with any organizations in particular in Teaneck? You mentioned the Garden Club.

(N) We joined the local Garden Club and the Greenhouse and we participated in their annual flower shows. In those days, they gave, they presented two flower shows, one at Christmas time and one in June and we were very active not only as exhibitors but really a part of the program, the flower show itself.

(I) Did you join anything like NECO or PTA or the AARP? 

(N) I joined the AARP when it was organized.

(I) Do you remember when that was organized?

(N) It was organized in 1976. And in AARP I was their tour coordinator for six years and there I brought happiness and joy and pleasure to people who were not able to go away on trips and they enjoyed the trips very much and it was pleasure that we brought to them. 

(I) When you say trips that they could not go away on, can you tell us more about these trips?

(N) Well these were day trips that they seemed to be interested in and even overnight trips. We ran both. They had overnight trips just for the pleasure of these people who seemed very lonely and so they joined and we enjoyed volunteer having them. It was a part of the program.

(I) Can you describe any changes in the community today that may be different than when you came here?

(N) Well I feel that some of the services changed after the town began to grow and the services that we once received, for instance, our garbage pickup was three times, every other day, then later on it became twice a week and they would sweep the streets every third day and now they only sweep them once a week. Things like that began to change as more people moved into the town. The town grew and it was just, the town grew and yet it brought its problems I think with it as well as some people were advancing and others were just standing still. Well I feel this way about it that, you know when blacks move into a community, everything seems to go down and that's the way it looks up at Teaneck Road today after twenty five years living here, Teaneck Road has changed and I feel that something could be done to improve the picture of Teaneck Road. It doesn't look like it did when I moved here twenty five years ago.

(I) Is there anything you could attribute that to?

(N) Well I think it was lack of interest on the township officials. Not taking direct interest in the newcomers who come in to get them adjusted to the old way of living before, ... in the early years, in the early 60s, it was a quiet, nice town. We had very, very little, if any, crime. We never heard of crime in those days.

(I) Was there much of a change in the ethnic population? Did you notice anything there?

(N) Yes there was a change and it seems as though the majority of the ethnic groups that are coming in, they were not the caliber that this town should have had.

(I) Can you attribute that to any particular factor? Was it economic. .

(N) Well I think it was due to the fact that the real estate brokers were blockbusting at that time and they were getting anyone to come in and advertising in the Amsterdam News.

(I) Mrs. De Yampert, was there much contact between you and your neighbors when you came here?

(N) Yes there was contact and they were friendly and congenial and they told us about the history of this section of Teaneck. This was known as Cooper Farm and it was nothing but a farm area years and years ago and that's how Cooper Avenue got its name and they also showed us the three (unclear) by the Indians that lived here years ago and two of those trees are still surviving today and they are on my property and these people, one of these neighbors came as a bride and she moved next door to us. Her husband had given her that house as a bridal gift. They were very nice, friendly, congenial people. Even when some of the people had moved, they came back years later to look at their old neighborhood and they were quite impressed with what they saw and they told us that they knew, to the right of me, how the place had changed and they were very happy to see that the newcomers had taken over and improved it.

(END OF TAPE)

 

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