People who live in Northern New England, as I do now, have no right to complain about the heat, but we do anyway. Several weeks ago the newspaper reported that we had just ducked a heat wave because by definition that is three days above 90, and there had been only two. So now after several weeks of seasonable temps – actually sometimes unseasonably cool- we hit 90 again. It’s laughable when you realize other areas of the country would be delighted to see a low of 90.
Of course I grew up in the days before air-conditioning, even in stores and offices. The state of Massachusetts would send workers home early on extremely hot days. Movie theaters were among the first to offer “air-conditioned comfort”, and they advertised this fact with banners hung outside the theater. The banners were blue and featured icebergs that looked like they were melting and giving off cool breezes. I recall that one summer I actually saw Esther Williams in “On an Island with You” three times so my aunt and I could get out of the heat. I think it was that same summer there were so many hot days that by the first week of August there wasn’t an electric fan, of any size, to be had in the greater Boston area!
The hottest I remember being in my life was not, as an adult, in the afternoon in an elementary- school class room without a breath of air, not in Israel on a dig, but sitting in my Pacer (Remember those?) in traffic on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway. The car did not have a/c, and the expanse of windows magnified the sun, “cooking” me, two of my kids and our cat. When we finally got home, I ran in the house and jumped in the shower with all my clothes on. Believe me, all my cars after that had a/c.
The other day when I was in a store, someone was complaining about the heat. Another customer said, “Mmmm, remember last winter with all the single digit and zero temperatures? Before you know it, we’ll be complaining about the cold again!” But first we get to enjoy fall with its moderate temperatures and the bonus of magnificent foliage.
Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2015
Next post: Monday, August 24