Call – Opelika-Auburn News
I loved the attic fan that
pulled air across my bed
nice rain Wednesday broke the monotony of this summer’s sweltering heat. I
welcome the arrival of July. I am glad June is history; it was a long month of
hot days in our area. And we all know the next cool spell will not arrive until
at least October.
are days when we struggle with the setting of the AC thermostat. We want it
lower but not so low that the electric bill will be more than we can afford. The
90-degree heat makes some of us want the house to be a cool 70 degrees. I try
to keep it on 75 but my roommate prefers a lower number. Air conditioning, I
fear, has spoiled a lot of us, especially the younger generation.
things help me to feel comfortable with a higher thermostat setting. Obviously
one is the power bill. It costs money to cool a house in the summertime.
Somehow it makes sense to save a little by raising the thermostat. When the
monthly electric bill comes in during the summer months, I usually wish I had
set the thermostat on 80 degrees.
memory is the other thing that helps me. I remember that in my childhood days
the windows of our home had screens. We had no heating and cooling system. We
endured the heat by opening the windows and the doors. Back then we had screen
doors too, and we never locked them unless we were away from home for a few
lamps provided light at night before REA finally reached us with electricity.
In the winter we heated the house by burning wood in several fire places. I
recall that one of my earliest chores was cutting wood with an ax and bringing
it into the house, large pieces for the fireplaces and smaller pieces for the
wood-burning stove that Mamma cooked on.
the 1940s Dad decided to rent a Propane Gas tank and install “space heaters” in
the house. One was positioned in each fire place, thus retiring the fire place
and heating with wood. We felt like we were “moving on
up” as a family when we began using those space heaters. At the time we had
little awareness of how dangerous they were. Fortunately we never experienced
an accident with those heaters.
later Dad removed the space heaters and replaced them with much more efficient
and less dangerous, electric heaters. They did the job until finally they too
were replaced by an air conditioning system that used duct work to cool the
electricity became available in the mid-thirties Dad and Mom used small
electric fans, usually one in each room. They were helpful but not as nice the
larger window fans we secured later. The fans did not cool the air but they did
move it. Moving the air provided us a bit of an indoor breeze that helped us
endure the heat. They were cheap fans and the coil would burn out frequently.
That left us nothing to do but sweat until we could go into town on Saturday
and buy a replacement.
remember well the day my dad got up the money to buy a large electric attic
fan. He installed it in the hall in the center of the house. What a blessing that fan was during the summer! All of our beds were beside a window. At
night we opened the window slightly, about two or three inches. The powerful
attic fan would suck the air across your bed and allow you to sleep in heavenly
That was our first air conditioning
“system.” As the temperature dropped at night the air coming across our bed seemed
cooler. By midnight we might have pulled a sheet up over us, but never a
bedspread. During those attic fan days we felt we were “up town;” we were
really living. Never having heard of air conditioning we had no reason to feel
this age of “entitlements” I suppose some people may feel they are “entitled”
to cool air at someone else’s expense. Those who think like that are badly
mistaken. Cool air is a luxury which millions of people cannot afford. We who
enjoy it should not take it for granted. Remembering what life was like in “the
good old days” can inspire an attitude of gratitude.
are after all more important issues of life than the room temperature. We must
be careful not to allow minor issues to become major. That I try to remember
when I find the thermostat turned down so low that if my Dad were still alive,
he would say “It feels like hog-killing time in here!” + + +