A tale of five lawnmowers

By Kate Cogswell Carr - Correspondent
November 22, 2022

In the early 1950s, many of Concord’s fields and meadows were being transformed to welcome returning GI’s and their families. Capes and ranches were built. Maple and faster growing willow trees planted. Lawns were seeded and watered. Men in suits, overcoats and hats took the short walk to the train station.

When my parents outgrew their tiny apartment in Cambridge after I was born, it was time to move to the suburbs. They chose Concord.

Our home at 14 Riverdale Road had a big picture window, newly planted trees and grass. As life-long city dwellers they had never had to tend to a lawn, but knew it had to be mown. So dad went to Vanderhoof’s.

Vanderhoof’s was much the same as it is today. You could find just about everything you could need or want and they’d help you find it. Dad asked for a gas lawn mower.

“Well,” said  Parker, “you don’t want one of those. You want to be able to stop and listen to the birds. To enjoy nature.” Dad bought a push mower.

Mowing the half-acre with a push mower after a week’s work was not what he bargained for. He bought a gas mower.

1n 1979, my husband Steve and I moved to Cambridge to a little Mansard with an urban sized yard. Electric lawnmowers were a new thing. We bought one. All went well until Steve ran over the extension cord.

In 1989, we moved back to Concord to raise our sons. The yard wasn’t big, but it did have to be mowed. Steve bought a gas Honda.

Fast forward to 2015. After a combined 88 years of living in Concord, we moved to Newburyport. The house has a tiny yard. The soil has nothing like the fertile soil of Concord. But we have a yard. The yard has grass, and it takes me 12 minutes to mow it with a push lawn mower I bought from Scott Vanderhoof.