It is hot in New England! As many of you know, the beginning of summer brought with it temperatures well into the 90s and an unwelcome heat index above 100, with very little relief at night. And we don’t have air conditioning!
As I was closing all the blinds and trying to find a cool spot, I began to remember stories that I had heard about how my ancestors had handled the heat in times past.
Most of our ancestors made preparations for the summertime heat. I guess this is partially where Spring Cleaning came from. I remember liking to hear how my great grandmother had had slipcovers made for the furniture and every spring out they would come. She also had all the rugs taken up. In the summertime, it was important to know how to close the drapes in the rooms where the sun would be strongest and how to keep a cross breeze going in the house. Meals changed to much lighter fare and many times were eaten on the porch.
My parents talked about the Dust Bowl days in the 1930s when the heat never let up. When it was too hot to sleep upstairs, they slept on the porch. My mother played marathon monopoly games to pass the time, but said that by August they were so tired from the heat. They could go to the show, the movie theater, to get some relief, as it was about the only place in town that had air conditioning. My father loved coming in from the farm on Saturday to see the serials that played.
The everyday occurrences in our own lives often have parallels to our ancestors’ lives. Take this time, while you are “unplugged” from subscription sites, trips, etc. to write down some of these stories.
I’m going to make a concerted effort to write. I’m having fun with this blog and it is helping me take the time to think about the information that I already have, the stories I have heard, and to dream about what life would have been like in those days.
Take a free trip: live vicariously through your ancestors. I’d love to hear some of your stories and how you are using this time to do things other than collect more information. Please comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.