Interview by Claire Millett
Jane Klamer first moved to Clayton from the city in 1982. After being mugged for the first time, she became very nervous about continuing to live in the city, so she began looking at apartments. One such apartment was on Concordia Lane, in Clayton. After much deliberation, Mrs. Klamer ultimately decided to move to Clayton, not because of the schools, but because of the public pool.
As more time passed, Mrs. Klamer began to appreciate Clayton more and more. When out on a blind date, a great snowstorm swept through the area, blanketing everything in white. When the Mrs. Klamer and her date emerged from the Esquire after seeing a movie, they saw how difficult it would be to drive home in the storm. Her date, in fact, could not start his car and get it out of the snow, so she was forced to drive him home. She noticed, however, that the streets in Clayton had already been plowed, not hours after the storm had began. Driving was relatively easy, as only one or two inches of snow covered the streets. However, as soon as she crossed into University City, the streets were unplowed and difficult to navigate. It was then she realized just how amazing the public services in Clayton were.
Being a long time resident, Mrs. Klamer has seen the area change. When discussing Clayton with older friends who had been living in Clayton since the 60s, she found out that Clayton had been red-lined by banks. This meant that residents in Clayton could not get mortgages at standard rates because it was considered a risky neighborhood. As more people began to move west, the neighborhood gradually began to improve, so by the time Mrs. Klamer moved in, Clayton was very busy. During her time long in Clayton, Mrs. Klamer saw the emergence of new businesses and the closing of old: she saw the area transform. She remembers a great old bookstore, and a sleepy antique store in DeMun. She also remembers the “Clayton Hole”: a giant pit where the Ritz is now. One of her favorite places was a pancake place called “the Parkmoor” near where the current Walgreens is today. She would take her kids there, playing rock-paper-scissors while they waited on their flapjacks.
Finally, although not the first reason she moved here, Mrs. Klamer grew to love the Clayton school system more and more the longer she lived here. Many of its teachers were very special to her children and after her husband decided to run for the School Board, Mrs. Klamer ran for a position herself.
Although the deciding factor for Mrs. Klamer’s move to Clayton was its amazing municipal pool, she began to love it more and more as the area opened up to her. Clayton became not only her place of work or where she raised her family, but a true home.