Memory Lane: Holy Moly, Hot, Hot, Hot!

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“And the heat would make yer bloomin’ eyebrows crawl…”  –Kipling, Gunga Din

There’s a lot of talk about heat these days–in the summer! who would’ve thought it?–but some of us are old enough to remember real heat.

When I was a boy in, say, 1958, no one I knew had home air conditioning. We didn’t even have an upstairs fan till later. So when bedtime came around, up we trudged to the bedroom: you could cut the air with a machete.

Way too hot to fall asleep, I used my flashlight to read comic books. Eventually the batteries would start to fail, but fair enough–by then I was too tired to stay awake.Turn off the light, turn over the pillow to the side that wasn’t saturated with sweat, close your eyes, and–


Our house was fully screened, but somehow mosquitoes always got in. Oh, that hateful humming sound! You couldn’t go under the covers, it’d cook you. Children must have been incredibly tough and resilient, to make it through the night back then. Up and at ’em in the morning, all ready to play horseshoes!

People are carrying on now like summer heat is a new invention, and government can stop it if only we give it more power over our lives and a lot more of our money.

You wait! Someday they’ll declare mosquitoes an endangered species and make it against the law to swat them.


14 comments on “Memory Lane: Holy Moly, Hot, Hot, Hot!

  1. I remember when local newspapers used to have photos of people frying eggs on the sidewalk in the summer.

    1. I never saw it done in person, but supposedly it worked. Of course, no one would want to eat such an egg, but it made a good photo op. What I remember about summer streets in NYC was the smell of hot and slightly softened tar where the asphalt had been patched.

  2. Yeah, all this fear mongering would make me laugh if it weren’t so disgustingly asinine. I recall all the things Lee is speaking about. Missouri was hot as a firecracker from late June to mid September. It was just the way it was and you dealt with it. I always looked forward to September – school, cool, and much more fun.

    1. I always loved going back to school. Fresh book wrappers (usually made out of paper bags), fresh notebooks, and newish books (actually well used, but new in the sense of not last year’s).

    2. I grew up in a poor family. We dreamed of having paper-bag book covers, but we could only afford book covers made from old newspapers. 🙂

  3. We had a fairly hot July, but I’ve seen worse. Yes, it’s hot in the desert southwest, but that’s hardly unusual. Actually, the hottest I remember here was at least 10 years ago. I remember a day when it was 125 degrees at my office. It’s lovely here, today. 81 degrees, and not too humid.

  4. I don’t remember what month, but when I was 15 (55 years ago), we were camping in central Wisconsin when the temperature hit the triple digits. The main campground was about two miles from the lake where we swam. A blacktop road connected both. Late in the morning, I told my mom I’m going swimming. I ran all the way to the lake under a cloudless sky, on the road so hot, it was starting to melt, and the heat rising shimmered like the Sahara. And I ran back about three hours later when I was done. I told Mom I ran all the way, she didn’t bat an eye. It was summer in Wisconsin, and it gets hot, so what’s the problem?

    1. In some inequality. 🙂 Before income inequality, Venus was a paradise filled with joyful, non-binary persons. Now you can next lead there. 🙂

      I laugh when people talk about Venus like it is a mystery why it’s so hot. It’s a lot closer to the Sun than earth; that a should be the first clue. 35,983,000 miles versus 92,960,000 miles means that the Earth gets far less solar energy that Venus. It’s not linear, it uses the inverse square law. Venus is, essentially, uninhabitable, simply by virtue of its proximity to the Sun. The Sun is a violent neighbor and at roughly 36,000,000 miles from the Sun, Venus would be like living in a huge microwave oven.

  5. When I think of the summer of my youth, I think of stuffy, hot, humid, and words like that. I rarely slept due to the oppressive heat. I would sit by the screened open window hoping that a breeze would pass by and stop in for a visit. Very early on Thursday mornings I’d often see a man walking up my street pushing a baby coach. Cranky baby? Taking the baby to a sitter before work? I don’t know. Just thought it odd having a baby out at 3-4 in the morning. Well, one morning the man stopped right where a pile of newspapers, all tied up, was sitting next to a trash can. I was so surprised when he took hold of the newspapers and threw them into the coach! Right on top of the baby! Or so I thought. Turns out the man was picking trash and the coach was his means of transporting the goodies he found. Those wonderful hot and sticky summer nights in Philadelphia! Lost a lot of sleep but I enjoyed looking out of my window.

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