From HolyCoast.com July 20, 2007
As I have stated before, I subscribe to a magazine called "Reminisce". A Contributing Editor named Clancy Strock writes a monthly column called "I Know ... I Was There". His topics mainly relate to the days of the 1930's, 1940's, or 1950's. This article titled "Hot Enough For You?" from July 2007 was especially timely as it relates to the weather and the "global warming" issues of today.
During the 1930's heat records were set in 15 states that stand to this day. In 1935, even Duluth, Minnesota topped 100 degrees. Meanwhile, both Kansas and North Dakota racked up record 121 degree temperatures.
In Detroit, 364 people perished from the heat, in 1936. The Salvation Army put ice trucks on the street, selling chunks of ice up to 50 pounds for a penny. Now get this -- why a penny" Because in those days most people refused to take charity. By paying even a penny eased their conscience and saved their pride. You won't find that in the 2000's!
Those torrid years started in 1930 and continued through 1936. In 1934 (year of my birth), 160 people died from heat causes. And then, in the worst year, 1936, the national toll was more than 5,000.
Air conditioning was invented in 1902 but still wasn't widely in use 30 years later. The public air-conditioned place was the movie house. People gladly paid the 20 cent admission price for 2 or 3 hours of blessed relief. Didn't matter what was playing.
Clancy's last paragraph brings us up to date. "We had never heard of global warming back in the 1930's. But I'm sure that if we had, by 1935 there would have been widespread agreement that the world would soon end in a big fireball. Books would have been written, speeches would have been made, and demonstrators would have demonstrated. Not knowing any better, we just sat and cooled oursleves with our fans from Melvin's Funeral Parlor. I know ... I was there."
You can learn a lot from history!
UPDATE: The recent issue of Reminisce has Clancy's obituary as he passed away December 16, 2007 - two months ago today. His column and timely humor will be missed.