All interviews were taped and documented.They are available through the Reference
Department of the Teaneck Public Library. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy
of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.

Richard Verlini

(Interview taped 7/14/1975)

I came to Teaneck from Cornelia St, in New York (Greenwich Village) in 1914. We lived at 59 E. Forest Ave. It belonged to Reeve, there was an A& P on the ground floor. Today it is a 4-family house. I came with my mother, stepfather, two brothers and sister Edith.

There was no station in Teaneck then, we'd take the train in West Englewood or Bogoda, $4.50 a month round trip. The Teaneck station came after World War I.

Our neighbors were the Thomas Olivers at Forest Ave. and Arlington, the Sherrys at Overlook and Forest, he was a tinsmith. Forest Avenue was dead end at Teaneck Rd. The old school house had 3 classrooms upstairs and the police department downstairs.  Later they moved the school to Bedford Ave. and the VFW took over.

South of Route 4 was an old fire house. When they built the new fire house Billy McDonald had a gas station there. Bucky McDonald was a letter Carrier. Their dad was an electrician on Elm Avenue. The Caseys, Bill and Joe lived at 36 or 38 West Englewood.  One brother worked for the post office. Then there were the Washington Hazeltons, two girls and two boys.

We had a 13-room house counting the attic. It belonged to Mr. Reeve, vice president of the Building & Loan in Englewood.  He built it for his mother and his aunt, I saw the ad in the N.Y. Journal, $4200 on 75 by 100 plot. How to I got there from 28th and 8th in N.Y.? Take the trolley, transfer at 42nd for Weehawken and got off at West Englewood Station. Mr. Reeve met me there.

I was night foreman at the Washington Square Garage in N.Y. Mr. Murray was a banker. When I bought the house I paid down what I had.  He said pay him what I could when I could. When I had paid $2200--about half--he said I was paid in full.

I started driving a bus between Englewood and Hackensack and Hackensack to Rutherford in 1919.  I used Reo buses. The next year I got a contract to take Teaneck pupils to Englewood High. I bought 5 Garford trucks.  Didn't have to put no money down, they took the three old buses. The drivers were Teddy Morgan, Red Uber, Sam Dunn, Ray Nolan and Bill Fox. We went over Lafayette (the monument wasn't there then) up Forest, down Teaneck Rd. to West Englewood, then to River Rd. Going to Rutherford I didn't touch the trolley area, but later they took my franchise because I was going parallel to the trolley.  No one lived on River Street. We started at 5:30 a.m. and ran until 2 a.m. It was 15 cents to Hackensack and 10 cents to any place in Teaneck. For driving the students I got $250 a month with two buses. I used to work 20 hours a day.

Kobbe and Flannery was across from the old Fire House.  I remember old man Ridley and his two boys. George Ahrens the letter carrier lived on Robinson and Summit--I think he still does.

Mrs. Manze, my sister, lived across from the Catholic Church. I remember Mrs. Anastasia Kelly. Mrs. Selvage, her daughter, gave a big piece of property to the church.  It was where Rte. 4 is. I think the state gave them $40,000 or $45,000 for it when they built the highway.

Over there lived the Samples and the Cambells, they had a farm that ran from Canterbury Court to Minnell Place. Fuchses lived on Forest Avenue. Nelson had a grocery store and deli. There were Liefferts. Clarice Cole's grandmother built a bungalow on Arlington off Forest Ave. Sitzman had a grocery and ice cream store.  The macaronis were there.  They built a garage on Forest Avenue and Madison.  I rented the garage for my buses. They raised a family of 14. One of the boys was found dead. Tietjon had a big farm with a bunch of cows.

On the other side of Forest Avenue was a family named Klein. Around Arlington and Madison lived a niece of William Randolph Hearst. Ask Clarice about that. Next door was a girl named Miller on Tuxedo Square on the north side of Forest Ave.

Captain Phelps had all the property where Fairleigh Dickinson in now. On the other side, too. His house is still there. Where Balestrini's lived had been a drug store.  Brown in Englewood opened it for his son, Julie Balestrini lives there all alone now.

Flannery lived in Englewood.  He started the garage after the fire house moved. Lewis was on Teaneck Road around Genesee St. John Caddy lived in that big house on Teaneck Road. He was drunk 24 hours a day.  He'd give you his heart. He lived with his aunt Matte Scott.

There was a gin mill on Forest Avenue. Brarman's father used to have a place where they played miniature golf.

My sister Eda worked in Jersey City as a dressmaker. She married Manze and she told me she had a friend she wanted me to meet. Emma's father had a glove factory.  She worked there. I told my sister I couldn't get married till I was 29. I was married in 1929.

During World War I they started to build Camp Marritt.  A bunch of us went to Hackensack to enlist. They asked how many follows could cut a piece of wood, how many could drive a truck. I was in Motor Truck Transport 377. We were later ordered to Camp Bragg, N.C. Drove all the trucks down there. I was discharged from there. I could speak English, French and Italian.

I gave up the bus business in 1957. My brother-in-law and I decided to run a bus to Monticello. It cost $15,000. My brother-in-law was driving Up Wurtsboro Hill which is 7 miles long.  He was using the brakes going down when the bus caught fire. He had to got 14 people out. He went to the fire department and they said they didn't come out for buses. I was taking care of the lines here. It cost $220 to got that bus off the street.  They sent us a bill for damage to the highway. When it came to court I was afraid they'd say we set the bus on fire. I went up there and got the fire chief to testify that they would not come out for the bus.  He charged $250 for his expenses, but it was worth it. We won the case.

Selvage died while I was up in Monticello with a bunch of boys in the army celebrating a birthday. When I came back they told me Selvage was dead. I don't knew how it happened. He used to sell a house but say you still owed for the land.

Stevenson had 17 children. He lived in a house belonging to Sample.  It went when they built the highway. One morning Stevenson packed up and he left.

The Blue Bind Inn was a nice place. Used to have nice parties there. The place was torn down and Volk's went in. Capt. Phelps donated the property where Holy Name Hospital is.

I remember when they built the new school on Fycke Lane and the Municipal Building. The first fire chief was named Murphy --he went around on a motorcycle all dressed up. There was Jess Witham, Bublitz Bill Jahnes and Bill Decker on the force.

I remember if you got a ticket there was one follow would give you a date when he was off. Queen Anne Road was one big corn field.  He'd tell you when you see a big apple tree, I'll be standing there. We'd go there and pay him for the ticket.

Cedar Lane was on a long hill up to Queen Anne Road. You can see how much dirt they cut through. You can see how high the dirt was. They tug away 20 feet around those houses facing Frances Street. I remember when farmers were going to market they'd tie chains on the back wheels of the wagon so the horses would have to pull it down hill and they could stop when they came to the railroad crossing.  It was 60 degrees down hill. Then they build the bridge.

There was a baker shop between Front Street and Elm Ave. There was no bank in Teaneck before World War I.

Cutler the pharmacist was a good man. He never raised his voice. He'd say you can pay me when you can. His brother-in-law Boyer started a store on Teaneck Road near Billy McDonald's garage. When I drove the bus I'd have a box of gum on the dash board and I'd give it to kids when they were good.  Since I've been working in Amman Park. I'd have caddy to give the kids on Friday afternoon. I've worked 9 years in Amman Park.

Amman was a character.  He used to yell "Get off my property". He was in the real estate business. Used to buy up 10 or 15 acres.

When I first came here my taxes were $48 a year for a 75-feet lot. Then I get am extra lot off Mr. Selvage.

I remember Harry Graham, a big football player in Teaneck.  He died of cancer. I used to go see him in the hospital.

I was born in 1891 at 7 Cornelia Street, N.Y. When I gave up the bus business I became a school crossing guard at Canterbury Court.  Been there 9 years. I got a pension from Public Services because when I sold the bus line I didn't know the people that bought it were connected with Public Service. I worked for them after I sold the line. I bought the house in Dumont in August 1957.  My wife had her birthday there and two weeks later she died. I have two daughters and a son, some nice grandchildren and a couple of great grandchildren.


Back to Oral History of Teaneck