We Used To Be In Tune With The Heat

August 1956: San Jacinto Battlegrounds. Note the Open WIndow on the Driver's Side of My Original '51 Olds 88. I was there on a Sunday picnic with my girl friend.

I’ve grown to hate our summer heat. And this drought heat is relentless. And scary.

We live two parallel blocks from Addicks Dam, at North Kirkwood, where the fires on the other side of the earthen water retention wall are still burning over in the now dried up water retention area of the Bear Creek water shed.And from the look of things on the 6:00 PM news, they seem to be burning grass and trees in an out of control sort of way. Only the buffer line of sand along the lower ridge of the dam’s other side, and favorable winds, seems to be what’s sparing us a disastrous spider-fingered reach of flying embers.

Thank God for the physical barrier and weather luck. The smoke in the air is bad enough.

Back in the post-WWII Houston East End, when and where I grew up, we lived in houses without AC, but they were built for cross breezes and cooling down vis-a-vis attic fans. When we went outside, we were already acclimated to heat. The temperature differential between inside and outside was not that great, so we simply didn’t mind it. That being said, I don’t recall a single childhood summer like this one. It was hot alright, but we had regular rain at fairly close intervals, and some summers, it rained every afternoon like clockwork. As I’ve already said, we were acclimated to the heat because we lived in houses and drove cars that had no air conditioning. Other than movie theatres and some buildings downtown, most of Houston was not air-conditioned back then. Home window AC units didn’t become popular or affordable until about 1957. I was a sophomore at UH by then, but I still had to get permission from my dad as to when he deemed it warm enough to use.

“Can we turn on the artificial norther machine?” I’d ask.

“Wait til it gets a little hotter” was dad’s usual answer.

Yeah, I know. It didn’t take some of us long  to find the road to AC dependency and Houston-Heat sissification. I wasn’t paying light bills in those days. Once I got out there totally on my own, it also didn’t take long for me to appreciate dad’s original notion that AC was a some time thing. In time, and not much of it, dad shifted from seeing AC as a sometime thing to a summertime – or any time-it-gets-hot thing.

Hopefully, we will get some rain in the next few days. It’s a little late to save some of our lawns, but still, water falling from the sky again would still make those of us now working around in the dirt sort of happy.

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One Response to “We Used To Be In Tune With The Heat”

  1. Darrell Pittman Says:

    My Mom had a 1950 model of this car… three on the tree and a flathead V8

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