Kansas Heatwave

A family memory from 6 years ago today.

It gets pretty hot in Kansas but Gail and Clyde were adamant about not using their window air conditioner. Summers could reach 105 degrees during the summers when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2011, knowing that Kansas was suffering through a heatwave even hotter than usual, I asked Mom how they were faring.

melting fan (artist unknown)

Melting Fan sculpture. I don’t know who the artist is.

July 10, 2011, Gail Lee Martin: “Depends on where you are in Kansas! We almost got rained on, which would have cooled us off. We have all the ceiling fans going and of course, we do have the great big pecan and oak trees on the south side of the house that cools the house. A cool shower now and then or a wet towel around our necks helps us get by. One of the benefits of being retired is we don’t have to get outside. Sitting on the porch swing is nice in the mornings.”

Apparently, my sisters were badgering them as well about turning on their air conditioner.

Mom sent us all an email on July 13, saying, ” OK, we give up. Tonda cleaned the wall-mounted air conditioner plugged in the unit. When it seemed to work, the girls shut all the windows. If Clyde throws a fit when we get the next bill, you will have to handle him. Mom”

Tonda and her daughters cleaned the folks’ house every two weeks. I’m guessing that consideration of their comfort while they worked overcame Mom’s scruples about using the air conditioner. 

I sent this message that day, “Well, good! Don’t save your money for your kids to inherit while you die of a heat stroke. Be comfortable and we’ll survive without anticipating getting your life savings. Ginger

PS – got so hot here in New Hampshire, that we even had our air conditioner on yesterday. We avoid using it but finally gave in.”

Her daughter, Cindy, messaged too, “We’re thinking our grandson may have gotten a touch of heatstroke from walking to the Park City pool, staying in the heat with the sun reflecting off the water & then walking back again.  To say the least, this summer has been hot-hot-hot.  Leaves are already falling off the trees.  The excessive heat makes me major grumpy & tired.

So Mom, don’t think of it as giving up, think of it as being wise.  Just know your kids are concerned for you especially after all the warnings we’ve heard on the news lately.  And if you/ dad think your electric bill is too high, then I’ll offer to trade you my bill.”

 Gail answered her daughters’ concerns with this message, “Thanks, everyone, but I think we will manage. Clyde is afraid we will lose our economy rating with the electric company.

One thing I miss is hearing the birds singing. Probably won’t miss hearing all the kid noise or the speeding cars. The unit does make a noise that I don’t like.

We were cold during the night, but Clyde is learning to adjust it to not be so cold. Yeah, I have socks and slacks on this morning. The kitchen and the writing room are the warmest places, but fans will take care of that.

We ate ham salad sandwiches from Susie’s last night, had Jerica go get them for us. We have lots of tater tots left over that will make good hashbrowns to go with fried eggs.”

The month of July 2011 averaged 102 degrees in the Wichita, Kansas area. The hottest day was 111 degrees. The heatwave continued on into August. Kansas was just one of many states suffering the excessive heat. According to Wikipedia, “The heat was blamed for at least 25 deaths across the Midwest and the Northeast.”

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