Tidewater Times September 2019

Page 11

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity! by Helen Chappell

The other day, the heat index was 115 in the Y parking lot, according to my weather app. Walking out of the nicely air-conditioned gym into the summer heat was like being slapped in the face with the open door of a blast furnace. The A/C in the car didn’t even start to cool until I pulled into my own driveway, which I am sure you, dear reader, have also experienced. I staggered dramatically through the heat into the house. Eastern Shore humidity is possibly the worst humidity in the world. It’s like breathing raspberry Jell-O. Collapsing in the air-conditioned house felt like safety. Which leads me to ask: how did we survive without air-conditioning? While I don’t view my childhood through a nostalgic veil of Disney, I don’t recall collapsing from the heat. Do kids just not feel extremes of weather like adults? I can remember my parents and my aunts and uncles collapsed on the screened porch facing the water, too hot to move. Just sitting in these uncomfortable canvas folding chairs hoping for a breath of a breeze com-

ing off the creek. Meanwhile, my brother, my cousins and I pranced around outside, oblivious to everything but the cloud of mosquitos that rose from the marsh at dusk. I can remember my mother, crumpled from one of her endless rounds of housecleaning, sitting in her favorite chair in the living room, too hot to move, smoking a Salem and drinking a glass of iced tea. Her feet were propped up on the f loor fan in front of her. People of a certain age will remember f loor fans. They were