The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 9, 2007


Home again on Concord Street

"So what is it like to live across the street from the barn where you raised chickens, geese and ducks until you moved to Groton six years ago?" I asked Judy Lane, who was seated at her kitchen table in the house she is renting at the corner of Concord and South Streets? Yes, it is the Judy Lane who lived for 28 years in the house most of us know now as This Old House or This New Old House, which we watched being reconstructed on WGBH television several years ago.

Lane hadn't wanted to move from Carlisle, but six years ago she became ill, living in the pre-1850 farmhouse that she was told had once been a blacksmith's shop. "My asthma got so bad I had to move," she was quick to emphasize.

From her rented home on Concord Street, Judy Lane can keep an eye on her former house, which became This Old House of PBS fame. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

The Lanes — Judy, her husband Hank, and their sons Alex and Tim — moved in 2002 to a Frank Lloyd Wright- style house on seven acres of land, on the top of a hill in Groton. "We had no neighbors, only deer and wild turkeys," said Lane. "There was a greenhouse on the property and we had a view of Mount Wachusett from every room in the house," she added.

As a nurse-practitioner, running a small inner-city clinic for the North Cambridge Catholic High School and teaching one day a week at Regis College, Lane found the 1 1/4-hour commute from Groton into the city much too difficult. In addition to the long drive, she missed her friends in Carlisle where she had served for many years, along with Alison Saylor, as town 4-H chairman. She had also been a member of the Carlisle Conservation Commission, the First Religious Society's Bell Choir and the Carlisle Trails Committee. In 1990 Lane was named Conservationist of the Year.

A return to the neighborhood

A few months ago Lane saw an ad in the Concord Journal for a house to rent in Carlisle. The ad had been placed by Lucinda Turley, the daughter of her former next-door neighbors on Concord Street. Lane jumped at the chance to rent the Turley house and return to her former neighborhood. "I had been close to Bob and Janet Turley and had stayed in touch with Lucinda over the years after her parents died," Lane recalled.

Since August, Lane and her son Alex have been living back in Carlisle, while Hank handles selling their house in Groton. Their older son, Tim, is living in Florida. Alex, 23, who sings and plays guitar, has been reunited with old friends Emily Saylor and Pete Hantzis. Together they are members of a musical group, The Foggy Depot, that plays gigs in Amherst.

Asked how it feels to live across the street from her former home, Lane responded, "It feels weird. The barn used to be shingled and now I look out on a porch where my chicken coop used to be," she continued. "The paddock where my horse and goats were kept is now a beautiful landscaped lawn. They kept the tulip tree in the backyard, and the stone wall that I shared with the Dewings is still there and preserved forever. I didn't realize they would tear down the center of the house where the kitchen and living room were, next to the barn." Lane admits to not having met the family now living in the house and was taken aback to learn that the house was recently put on the market.

Asked what activities she would like to pursue now that she is back in town, Lane said, "I would like to join the Carlisle Historical Society and possibly get involved again with the Trails Committee." As for being back in Carlisle, she added, "Living here in Carlisle is like being back in the family."

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito