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Memories of the Great Indoors

mother and children

How Heating & Air Conditioning Can Help Create the Greatest Childhood Memories

When I was a child we lived in a small house in a cozy fishing town on the north shore of Massachusetts. My parents were still young and although we had everything we needed, we did not have the benefits of central air conditioning. Most homes in the area at that time (the early 1980s) did not have central air systems as our homes were mostly cooled by the ocean breeze. However, there were occasional heat waves and extreme temperatures plus high humidity which created some of my favorite childhood memories.

On the days it was too hot to play outside, when the box fan just wouldn’t cut it, my mother would turn on the one window air conditioning unit in her bedroom and shut the blinds. Although it wasn’t an energy efficient central air conditioning system, it was better than nothing. As the room was cooling down, we would gather some books and toys and pack a picnic lunch. After Mum grabbed a quilt from the linen closet, we would enter the cool, crisp oasis of her semi-dark bedroom.

She would lay the quilt down and read us stories as we colored. Or, we would play a game then eat our picnic lunch of cheese and crackers with fruit or tuna fish sandwiches. We only had one television in the living room at the time, but we didn’t need it to entertain us. I was more than happy just to be with my mother enjoying her company in a nice cool room. It was our own little world.

When I was five, we moved to the west coast where central air conditioning was essential for those 120-degree Summer (Spring, Fall and Winter) days. We found ways to have fun inside as we didn’t want to leave the comfort of home. Mum would often make popsicles or homemade lemonade and popcorn and we would watch a movie. Or, play board games and enjoy a nice cold lunch of ice box chicken and fruits and vegetables. We were no longer contained to one room as our new central air conditioning system cooled down our entire house, but we still used the hot days to spend quality time together.

Winter wasn’t as extreme in California, but we often went home to Massachusetts to visit family at Christmas and we would hope for snow. We would stay at my Grammie’s house, a farm house built in the 1800s. Although the steam boiler system (along with cast iron radiators) was older, it was well maintained each year and was quite efficient in creating a nice cozy, comfortable environment only adding to our Christmas spirit.

If we were lucky we would get to watch snow fall gently from the sky creating a soft white blanket on the ground. Again, we would always find a way to have fun and stay warm indoors while the Winter wind whipped around outside making the old house creak and groan. Most of the time we would explore the house where my mum and her siblings spent their childhood. There were plenty of treasures to investigate as my grandfather was an antique collector. I could have spent hours looking at interesting artifacts, but I mostly enjoyed sitting in the big kitchen looking out the window at the Winter wonderland drinking hot cocoa and sharing stories with my family.

My parents always encouraged us to spend as much time outside as we could, but sometimes due to the weather, it is not always possible. There are so many ways to enjoy the great indoors, thanks to the magic of heating and air conditioning. If you are inside on a hot or cold day, find ways to create your own memories you and your family will treasure forever.

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