Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mowing lawns in 1953

I was about 10 years old when I started mowing the lawn at our house and I took that responsibility over from my older brother Bill. We had a large lot around our home and so it was a lot of work. My Mother was concerned about the yard and was always doing things like replanting bare spots with more grass to make my job tougher. We had a silver reel mower that I would dutifully push from one end of the yard to the other, sometimes forward and back and sometimes in squares. Every once in a while I would do it at angles just to break up the boredom of the job. It wasn’t an easy job: There was a right front lawn and side yard that reached back to a hedge; there was a left front lawn and side yard; there was the tree belt; there was a left rear lawn that had my Mothers flower garden and ended at the garage with a vegetable garden on the side; there was a right rear lawn that ended at the garage side where we had a basketball court with the hoop attached to the side of the garage. There were miles and miles of obstacles and fences and sidewalks that had to be hand trimmed and out back and around the vegetable garden I had to use a hand scythe on the weeds. I hated mowing the yard!

Each time when I started, I would pull the mower out of the garage and faithfully oil each wheel and the wooden rollers behind the reel and I would put oil on a rag and wipe down the blades on the reel. I believed that if I did, the mower would push easier. I think the reason I hated mowing our lawn was that I didn’t get paid for it. I did get paid for doing other peoples lawns and I did about 10 of them, a week for 50 cents each. Big bucks back then. I remember, when I would head out to do the neighbors lawns that I would turn the mower upside down to push it down the sidewalk and the reel wouldn’t turn if you did it that way. Ted’s lawn-mowing service was a big deal back then, a real money making enterprise because I had a BB gun to pay for. Twice a year I would push the mower down to the end of the street to Ted’s Repair Shop and one of the multitude of tasks they performed was sharpening lawnmowers. A sharp mower was a happy mower I felt and besides my Dad paid for it.

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