Neither of my grandparent’s homes had an air conditioner… not even the window type. The house were I spent the first 10 years of my life didn’t have one either. The funny thing about it, was that it didn’t really matter. The reason that it didn’t matter was a wonderful invention called a Cool Aire window fan… the fan with a spring mounted motor for smooth, quiet operation. These fans were usually installed between the middle of May and the first part of June depending on how hot it was that particular spring. They sat in a window centrally located within the house. In both of my grandparents houses they were usually installed in the window located on the landing part of the way up the stairs. The thing I always found so funny about these fans was that they would blow the air out of the house.. not in. This meant that all the other windows in the house needed to be open. As a result of the combination of this huge window fan and all those open windows there was always a nice breeze coming into the house through all of the windows regardless of how calm it might be outside.
I use to love to lay on my bed next to the window and feel the breeze coming through the window… hearing the frogs and the crickets singing their night songs. It would put me right to sleep.
In addition to these window units, my parents house had what was known as a whole house fan. Located in the ceiling in the hall was a huge fan that worked off a light switch. When you flipped it on, the louvers would open up and it would pull air up from the house and blow it out the gable ends of the roof. It would generate such a breeze that the curtains would stand almost straight out on the curtain rods… I can remember waking up some morning in July and August when the humidity was low (which wasn’t often) and was almost freezing it was so cool in my room.. I loved that feeling!
Now we never open the windows… we never feel that breeze or hear those frogs or those crickets… I do miss those open windows and the hum of those old fans and seeing the curtains fluttering… maybe one day….