By Dorothy Denne
Remember when we had no air conditioning? We expected to be hot and we expected to sweat. We were and we did.
When it got too hot, we rested. We would sit in porch swings or rockers or on the ground and “just rest a spell.” Those pesky little gnats would fly around our faces. We’d swat at them and try not to swallow any as we talked.
Fanning was in. Little old ladies would tuck their petticoats between their knees and fan themselves with their dress tails. In church the ladies would fan with cardboard fans advertising the local funeral parlor. We kids thought we were really fancy if we had a piece of paper to fold accordion-style and fan away. Mothers would lay their hands over ours and smile admonishingly to silence the crinkling. Remember the ceiling fans in the stores? We always thought the stores that had fans were pretty uppity class.
On hot days we often jumped in the creek. When the water got too shallow to jump in, we would just sit in it. Felt so good. Best place in the world to take summer baths.
Hot Sunday afternoons were special when we had picnics down by the river. The men pitched horseshoes, kids swam and ladies sat in the shade and talked. We cooled water melons in the river, to be eaten the last thing before we packed up and headed home in time to get the milking done.
Nights were killing in hot, humid upstairs bedrooms so we slept downstairs on the floor. We always left the doors open but hooked the screen door; hooked screen doors made us feel secure at night.
Today our doors are double-dead-bolted but our stores are air conditioned, our homes are air conditioned, our cars are air conditioned. We don’t sweat as much but we still bathe. Actually, we shower. That’s nice but, you know, we didn’t have to scrub that creek.