Such a ‘Mechiah’

Whenever my air conditioning goes out, I panic! It usually happens on a weekend when temperatures have registered 90+ for days. It’s then I think about the summers of my childhood. It was a friendlier time then. Everyone was forced outside, sitting on porches, visiting back and forth, and, for us kids, playing kick ball under the street light. Sleeping, however, was another thing. In summer, the temperature never dropped below 95 in the upstairs bedrooms. Between the heat, the noisy floor fans and the restless movements of family members, it was impossible! We kids tried sleeping in the living room with the front door open, but it wasn’t much better. Some nights were so hot that our family took bed rolls to the golf course. (I really related to a similar scene in the movie ‘Avalon’ in which the characters did the same.) We didn’t rest much there either, because it was like a big party with friends and neighbors all around. Until early morning, the men talked about baseball or business while the women discussed kids and fashions and their dreams.

Nights on the golf course ended when my dad installed an exhaust fan. It was, according to my grandmother, a ‘mechiah’. (There is no English equivalent!) And how easy to maintain! No repairman! No huge bill! Just cool air blowing through the windows.

Lately, whenever my air conditioning goes out, I vow I’ll install that kind of fan, but of course, when the repairman leaves and my air is back on, I forget all about it.

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