SWELTERING ON HIGH
The temperature must have been near 100 degrees. Breathing would cause one to sweat profusely, droplets of water descending one’s forehead in clusters. Living on the top floor of an apartment building, in which the roof was flat, helped to bake whoever lived in the top floor apartment.
I was only about 5 or 6 at the time, and used to all that life offered so far in a poor family. The heat and humidity was part of that. Relief was moments away, however!
That night, Dad had brought home a fan. The first fan I had ever seen, and it was a marvel. Dad took it out of the box and set it on the table in our kitchen. Mom looked on as me and my sister watched Dad. It had a thick black and white cloth like cord that he was about to plug into an outlet.
Placing it down on our linoleum floor, he explained that it was a fan for two seasons, the two seasons being the sweltering heat of Brooklyn summers and the second the frigidity of winter blast of the same Brooklyn. A simple switch made it go from “fan to heater.” He pointed out the coiled element that circled behind the fan. “NEVER TOUCH THIS FAN.” Said Dad. The heater could warm about 4 square feet as the fan cooled 4 square feet.
Finally, he placed the plug into the wall and the fan came to life. I immediately stuck my head next to the thing and felt the sudden relief of the cool circulating air, as big Sis elbowed me away in a New York minute!
Dad stepped in like a referee at a Joe Louis – Rocky Marciano fight and told us to lay on the floor, with our faces touching the linoleum. “Feel how cool the floor is?” asked Dad. He was right! The floor was several degrees cooler than the air inches above it!
The fan was an oscillating type, like a giant radar dish, swinging first one way than the other, with a steady whirl. The cool air rushed over my head, and soon we were fast asleep. The amazing thing was when I awakened the next morning; I was still in my street clothes on the floor! Dad let us sleep there all night with the fan on!
Today, I look around me and realize what a wuss I’ve become! I can’t live without an air-conditioner! I had a heart attack because my wall unit died on me and I had to live without it for a few days!
It seems TV and computers are essentials. I couldn’t live without them either. What have I become?