I lived in Alabama in the 1940s before air conditioning. One summer I lived
on the third floor of the Alabama Apartments with a small electric fan. Somehow
we managed to survive. My worst summer was probably in 1945 when I worked at
Herman Hospital in Houston. I had to stand over a steam table in a hot kitchen,
checking trays. When the tray line finished, I was could eat lunch but I was too
hot to eat. That's when I learned to drink iced coffee. I took a glass of ice to
the coffee urn and filled it with coffee, which refreshed me enough that I could
It wasn't until I moved to Little Rock and was expecting my second baby in the summer of 1955 that we got two window air conditioners. Before then, I remember a good friend from Pangburn was a patient in St. Vincent Hospital and I took her an electric fan from our house, because there was no air conditioning at the hospital. When I went to work at the VA Hospital in 1959, the only part of the hospital to have air conditioning was the dog lab and the library. I would go to the library to plan menus and do my paperwork. The poor patients suffered from the heat and it really affected their appetite. It was much later that we had air conditioning in our cars. I remember driving to Florida one summer in a little Corvair with no air conditioning, we nearly roasted and the girls kept saying, "are we there yet?"
We are so spoiled today; we wonder how we lived in the past. We may be paying a big price for our comfort, if it results in global warming.