“There’s a time in each year
That we always hold dear,
Good old summertime;
With the birds and the trees-es
And sweet scented breezes,
Good old summertime,
When your day’s work is over
Then you are in clover,
And life is one beautiful rhyme,
In the good old summertime….
~“In the Good Old Summertime”
Although school is back in session and swimsuits have disappeared from retail stores, the final weeks of summer linger. In spite of these minor inconveniences, “good old summertime” spirit could be found in our pool last weekend as the neighbor children accepted my invitation to come swim. Besides being great fun, it is one of the most perfect ways to cool down. In temperatures close to 100 degrees, the water worked its magic and reluctantly the refreshed children returned to their homes.
This past week SCE replaced the telephone/utility pole in our backyard. What an ordeal! It took most of Saturday to dig a six-foot hole as the rocks of La Crescenta demanded a jackhammer. At one point two cranes holding poles dangled over the backyards before being set in place. The power was off for 12 hours. A generator kept our food cold while our wonderful library kept me cool. Necessity often sparks ingenuity during the “good old summertime.” The following are a few ideas that were implemented to keep homes and inhabitants comfortable before the invention of air conditioning.
1. Cold baths in metal tubs not only cooled bodies, but the surrounding air.
2. Opening windows in the basement and on top floors created an air flow or syphon-effect.
3. In the south, homes built on stacks of bricks allowed a breeze to cool from beneath.
4. Covered porches protected first floors from direct heat and cooled the air coming through the windows. When screened off, they became a “sleeping porch” on warm nights.
5. Iced tea and relaxation helped. Women could reveal petticoats and ankles to cool down.
Cooler weather is predicted as the week concludes. A warm-up begins Sunday and continues on. For how long? Until it cools down once again. Just how good was “The good old summertime”? First off, leave behind the petticoats. Point me to a pool and I can survive without a/c … maybe.
As for the relaxation and iced tea? Timeless necessities…
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.