Thursday, July 8, 2010

Question of the Day

What with the heat wave in the East and Midwest, my mom suggested this one:

Did you grow up in an air-conditioned house (or place of residency)?

It wasn’t until 1972 that I had a place with central air. I was in college and lived in an apartment in Coconut Grove. Since then, it’s been off and on; our place in Colorado didn’t have it, nor did the house in Michigan, but we really didn’t need it there. In New Mexico, the preferred cooling method is evaporative cooling, commonly known as a swamp cooler.

The house where I grew up in in Ohio was large with high ceilings; cooling it in the summer would have been expensive, and we didn’t have that many summers where it was unbearably hot. We had a collection of fans, including the floor type that oscillated, an old hassock fan that made a droning sound that lulled me to sleep, and window fans. It wasn’t until some time in the mid-1960’s and I lived in a bedroom in the attic that we got a simple window air conditioner — it was either on or off — and a large Westinghouse unit that we mounted in the kitchen. Unlike Florida, where summer nighttime temperatures rarely drop more than a few degrees, Ohio summers cool off a bit after the sun goes down. Then we’d sit on the back porch under the slowly spinning blades of a ceiling fan, watch the lightning bugs, and listen to Tigers baseball on the radio.