NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - “It was a dark and stormy night….” And that’s how Bill Hoefling’s story really begins. He’s talking about managing the Hurricane Floyd emergency response team in New Providence. His story is compelling and full of fascinating detail, like how the team responded when the nursing home in the center of town was beginning to flood. And after this summer his story and hundreds more about life in New Providence will be archived at the Library of Congress.
In celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the town, New Providence- Our Community For All is organizing the audio recording of townspeople’s memories. “We truly aim to record more than 300 stories- that’s our minimum goal,” says Patricia Jacobs, Executive Director. “Our high school interviewers want to listen, and really learn, from folks who have lived in New Providence a long time. There is a lot we want to understand!”
Students from New Providence High School and some recent graduates will form the core of the recording team. They will be listening not just for the obvious storylines but probing for the detail that brings history to life. By the end of the summer they hope to have a great archive of stories. Talented students plan to combine some of them into materials that can be enjoyed at Tricentennial Day in September and beyond.
Other partners in this effort are the New Providence Library, and the New Providence Historical Society. Both are recommending storytellers and helping keep the project on track. New Providence Historical Society President, Linda Kale, put it this way: “There is so much wonderful history in this town, we welcome people to look into it!”
Co-chairs Chris Flanagan and Jane Xu are hard at work gathering names of townspeople with great stories and scheduling interviews. A dozen students have already signed up to conduct the interviews with local Storytellers. “Lots of people are willing to share stories, and recommend others to be interviewed,” said Jane. Opening remain for more students to join the team of interviewers. Intern Kevin Montrone is the Project Coordinator.
Interviewers will use the StoryCorps online app to collect the audio recordings and compile them. This well-respected process is creating an archive of the American experience. Stories from New Providence will be part of Storycorps’ national effort to record American history. A variety of technologies can be used, even a simple phone connection will work. All levels of technology comfort can be accommodated in recording the stories.
To volunteer to tell your story, or to become an Interviewer please email email@example.com or call/text Kevin Montrone at 908-798-1904.
For more information about New Providence-Our Community for All go to www.npocfa.org.