Saturday, July 23, 2011

What did we do before air conditioning?

When I was growing up, we did not have air conditioning in any way, shape, or form. We had "box fans" that we put in the windows during the day to suck the hot air out, then we turned them around at night to bring the cool night air in. It must have worked out because I'm still around. :) We didn't very live close to a swimming pool so we didn't really have too much that we could do to stay cool. We sprayed with hoses, had water fights, and drank lots of iced tea.

Sleeping with your windows open was also much safer during the 60s and 70s. I'm not sure I would sleep with my windows open now. At least, not in a big city. Not even in our last town. But, in this one I might. In this town, people leave their keys in their cars. They leave their houses unlocked during the day. Sometimes, they leave their houses unlocked at night. I don't think I'll ever feel safe enough to do that (LOL - but I have done it accidentally before, and I've slept with my keys hanging in the lock - plainly visible from the street if anyone looked; also slept with my garage door open more than once [think kids here]).

Back to the air conditioning... My parents ended up buying a window unit for their bedroom. My dad was working nights and trying to sleep during the day. No way to sleep in the house that hot, even with a fan. Especially since it was summer and the noise ofkids playing outside would just be brought into the bedroom. They finally got central air in about 1977.

The house that Ron grew up in had a HUGE fan built into the side of the house, kind of like an attic fan but in the side of the house instead of the ceiling. I wouldn't have believed it by just being told, but we actually lived in that house for about a year (his sister owned it at the time). I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't. It was huge and when not in use, it had doors that we closed from the inside. That kept bugs out in the summer, cold out in the winter, and people from crawling through to break into the house. When we ran that fan, we slept with blankets at night. Seriously, it was that good.

When I was married to my first husband, we lived in a mobile home. Without air conditioning. 1980 was HOT. Much like this summer, it broke a lot of records. The building I worked in was very old and the central air didn't cool the floors evenly. My floor was one of the ones that got lots of the cool air. So much, in fact, that we ran space heaters at our feet. Imagine being so cold that you need a heater at your feet and then walking out to 115 degree temperatures, even hotter in your car. Then, coming home to a house without air conditioning. I got really sick that summer. That was fun. Not really...

Everyday that I look at my thermostat and realize that I can turn the temperature up or down, I am so grateful for the electricity that powers my central air. I feel for those who live without it and who have to work out in the heat. Heat kills many people every year and many more get very sick from the heat.

So thankful for the air conditioning that cools our house.

Do you have central air? Did you when you were growing up? How did you beat the heat?

11 comments:

Jo-Anne Rambling said...

Central air? I don't know what that is but my guess it is like ducted air conditoning which is air conditioning that is in the roof and runs into each room......and I do not have it here in fact the only people I knew that had it was my grandparents....We have window air conditioners in fact we have 3 a large 2hp one in the kitchen window and a small one in our bedroom window and another small one in another bedroom window.......

Growing up we didn't have air conditioning at all and in fact Tim and I only got air conditioning in this place around 10yrs ago. When I was a kid we slept with the windows open.

jojo said...

we had room fans, the hose, and lots of water to drink and I don't remember ever feeling like we were doing without. We rode in the car with the windows down our used paper fans too, and just like you...we survived!

Bouncin' Barb said...

When we moved into a brand new house when I was 6 my mother insisted on A/C. She can't take the heat. Before that house, we used fans and I had a Donald Duck Sprinkler that stook in the ground with the hose connected so it was like an outdoor shower. When my Dad came home from working outdoors, he'd change to his trunks and we'd go out there and cool down. At 13 we got a pool so it wasn't too bad. But I am so grateful to have A/C now.

Thisisme. said...

Back in the days when I was growing up over here in England, we just didn't need air conditioning in our homes, and we still don't need it now! LOL!. I am always so grateful for air conditioning in my car though. It's amazing how quickly we get used to things, because a/c in cars has only been around in England for the past few years - mainly because we simply do not get hot summers!

orchid said...

Hello,Good Morning from Japan. First comment for you♪♪♪
I was fascinated with the Attic fan. Good old days,isn't it♬
I remember sleeping on a straw mat placed on the bedding was comfortable enough for us when young. Well, my dad used to have night shifts and I remember he had hard time to sleep during the day especially in summer as well.
I cannot bear the muggy summer here without air-conditioning now(^^;) Almost forgot the days opening all the doors and windows using screen ones. Haha, screen ones were all removed now.

ps> Thank you SO much for following me and return mail. Really happy to have you as my new friend and hear about your son's story♡♡♡

SkippyMom said...

My first two cars didn't have it - and I don't turn the A/C on in the house if the family isn't home. It is for Pooldad really. We had it in the final house I grew up in, but we spent weekends at my Grandma's [who didn't have it] and we didn't miss it.

This heat the past week has been intolerable for so many people and I feel for them, but I can honestly say the ceiling fans and a table fan gets me by. I understand why folks want it [in fact, some need it :waving: heehee] but I can keep myself cool.

It is such a beautiful invention tho'. A gift actually.

Pat said...

I remember those box fans and turning them one way during the day and the other at night! I remember when we finally got central a/c at home. It never seemed to work well in the upstairs bedrooms!

Jumble Mash said...

We didn't have AC growing up either and my mom had 6 kids (including step children) We had fans and stayed in the pool until bed time!

labbie1 said...

I was reading a book about the town in Kansas that Gman grew up in. The author spoke of a particularly hot summer in the 1930's during which everyone brought their beds outside into the back yards. You could look all the way down the street and see everyone's beds.

They had a baby that summer and it was miserable and had a terrible heat rash. The doctor told them to take a sheet and wet it then hang it over the rail of the crib with a fan. It made the baby cool and able to sleep. The rash disappeared.

He said that they decided that what was good for the baby was good for them, so they wet their sheet down before going to bed, turned on a fan and slept well the rest of the miserable summer.

Necessity really IS the mother of invention...

Mechteld Abelli said...

It was a bit challenging to have no AC in our house especially during the summer. No matter how many windows and doors we open to allow for the passage of air, still, it is not enough to cool down the temperature in our house. That’s why having an AC is a blessing! It is one appliance that’s worth investing on.

-Mechteld Abelli

Darryl Iorio said...

Playing with water outside the house is really fun! It's a very awesome part of being a child! It's always good to relive your childhood and play in the water every now and then, even if you already have an AC system at home. Haha!

Darryl Iorio