Friday, July 09, 2010

Heat Wave

With the South in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave (104 yesterday), I got to thinking about my growing-up years in the 1950's and 60's and the key factor that, even though I lived in the South, we had no airconditioning, in the house or in the car.

I remember trips across the Smoky Mountains to Indiana every summer to visit my Grandpa and Grandma.  My Mom would get a galvanized bucket and buy a block of ice.  She'd put three washrags in the bucket and during the car trip (all windows down) she kept the bucket at her feet and periodically handed an ice cold washrag to each of us.  Our version of airconditioning.  (My dad was a travelling salesman and he bought the first airconditioner that you could install in a was literally a small unit that mounted under the dashboard and had three round vents that spewed cold air.

No air conditioning at home either.  In the ranch house I spent my elementary years in, we had a big window fan in the kitchen that was designed to pull hot air out of the house; with all the windows open, it supposedly pulled a breeze through the house.  I remember sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed because that was where the best breeze was.  I also vividly remember wanting to sleep with my sheet up to my chin, holding Mom arguing with me that it was too hot....but I was afraid that a witch would come and carry me off if I did not have hold of my sheet.  (I refused to tell her this reason, though, because I knew she would laugh...)

In my high school years we lived on a small lake and had the value of that cooler breeze.  However, I remember visiting one summer aas a young adult and refusing to budge from one spot in the den because there was a breeze in that one spot.  During that visit, of course my mother was making homemade ketchup and steaming up the entire house....)

While living in Germany in the early 1990's , I was back to no airconditioning (of course it is only hot in June and July).  We bailed out of the country back to the U.S. in June and came back in September twice, but the third year we were moving back and had to stay til mid July and it was HOT.  There is a reason for European sidewalk cafes......restaurants are not airconditioned and you have to eat outside in July and August!

Do any of you ladies of a certain age have living w/o airconditioning stories to tell?  Let's hear them.
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