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81 and Still Mowing: 1955

81 and Still Mowing: 1955

My father (53) and my grandmother (73) watch my grandfather (81) mowing his lawn at his "new" house in Calpella, California; at left with trunk agape, our trusty Hudson (7). A couple years before, grandpa sold his large grape vineyard (off screen immediately to the left) that he'd ranched since about 1915. I still have a lot of memories of this house, like this, but geekily enough, also of watching TV, courtesy the gigantic TV antenna that picked up the nearest stations over 100 miles away in San Francisco. For some reason, I have a very detailed recollection of being 15 and watching the 1951 Cary Grant film People Will Talk on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies and being utterly mesmerized by Finlay Currie's characterization of the mysterious Mr. Shunderson. Thanks to the fact that every bit of information ever is now on the Internet, I can actually pin down this memory to one of two exact dates in 1962, depending on whether it was a rerun or not. Zowie. My brother's Ektachrome slide. View full size.

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Northern Cal

I really enjoy all the wonderful photos that you share tterrace. I've especially enjoyed the old Marin Co. pics i.e. Larkspur, Greenbrae, Corte Madera, etc. Thanks for sharing.


Ahhh, "People Will Talk," one of my favorite movies! Tterrace, we seem to have more and more in common. My last surviving grandparent died last year. Ironically, he was mowing his lawn and fell off his riding lawn more and broke his hip. It is amazing to think how much life changed while he was alive.


Keeping active is the best way to health. Your grandfather shows that. My grandmother was taking aquasize classes when she was in her 80's, walked a half hour every night until she was 95 until she went into a home and died at 99. She taught me that sitting around moping about thing does do something. It makes you lazy, fat and unhappy. The old " don't complain about it unless you try to do something about it." Photos like this a prove that people like this existed.

Rising to the top

First post here. long time reader. As always an interesting glimpse into the memory files of TTerrace. The bits of childhood and teenage memory that stand out from a remove in time of 35 to 45 years is always interesting. So much goes by and is lost or submerged in the daily blur of life. Then there are those bits that rise up to the surface after many many years. Thanks TT, keep em coming.

Grandpa's lawn today

Good old antenna technology

Luckily we had a motorized antenna rotator back in the pre-cable days.
Usually pointed south to catch the Fresno stations but at night reception improved enough we could get KTVU Channel 2 out of Oakland and sometimes other channels.

Your grandfather reminds me of my neighbor across the street. 79 and active, just now going to be fully retired from his job.

That Mediterranean Diet

Something in their lifestyle obviously kept your grandparents in really healthy condition well into their old age and I bet they took very few pharmaceuticals, if any. More likely it was PLENTY of good wine, fruits, vegetables, seafood and sociability along with not shirking hard work. (The "use it or lose it" theory.) I notice there are NO handrails on either set of entryway stairs, no ramps, no grab bars. To be 81 in 1954 and still self-sufficient bodes well for you and your siblings since good genes are also a major factor in longevity. Your photos are priceless and nostalgic and they all strike a chord in most of us. Live long and prosper "T".

Are we there yet?

tterrace, does the house still exist? Can you pinpoint it on Google Maps?

81 and Mowing

that's amazing!!!!

TV Markets

Depending on any terrain obstructions, and if the antenna had a rotator, the stations from the closer Sacramento market might have been viewable there as well as SF's. Our 1955-57 TVs there only had VHF so 4, 5, 7, 9 and 13 (they moved it from Mt. Diablo shortly after we left) were it. Consistent DTV (mostly UHF now) reception over those ranges presents a formidable challenge, though some short-lived favorable conditions do occur.


Wow! Does this picture ever bring back the memories. My grandparents had one of those old push mowers, and by the time I was twelve, it was my job to push it up and down the backyard. I was so excited when my dad finally bought a power mower.

Marching Steadily Backwards

Today, with the so-called advancements of digital television, the over-the-air reception of television broadcasts from 100 miles away is no longer possible.

The antenna is great.

However, I'd like to see your grandmother's kitchen.

Modern History

It amazes me, how fairly modern this photo appears, and to think, your grandfather whom you knew personally was born in 1874. I am now 40. In our family, six generations span back to 1796. I loved hearing my great grandmother talk of her childhood. She was 10 in 1905 and passed at 95. It is difficult to imagine someone's life spanning from before cars to landing on the moon and/or playing video games, etc. I think, many times, we do not truly appreciate the great wealth of knowledge present around us as children (by way of our grandparents) until long after they are gone. In any case, this is a great photo. I can just picture myself going in, when the lawn is done, cooling off with a cold beer with your dad and grand-dad and listening to a game the radio.. or arguing about those darned Communists down in Cuba.

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