By the 1930s a/c units were smaller and safer, but also entirely high-priced. Back then only the wealthy could afford to install 1. Politicians still cared about what their constituents thought about their lifestyle at that time, which is why they hesitated to install a/c in Washington–for fear they would be mocked for not dripping with sweat love the rest of America. One story our mother told us children was about her Grandfather, who was a congressman. The two of us never got to know him, but from pictures we could see that “Papi” was a sizable man who appreciated a nice meal. The summers must have been entirely difficult for him. Then my mother said that, on the weekends, Papi would take his spouse and children out of city on the bus to take in the fresh air and swim at the lake! He liked to sit on the upper deck for the breeze. When it was certainly entirely sizzling he’d spend the day up there, travel all around town, with the excuse to stay in touch with the regular folks. A man with an engaging personality, he became known as the “People’s Politician.”
His spouse found many solutions to keep him comfortable, from wrapping ice in straw and placing it near the bed with a fan, to cooling his feet with a tray of chilly water under the table at lunchtime… But the most extraordinary show of how much she cared for her partner’s well being was she would put his underwear in the icebox! Papi’s kid finally made the decision to buy her dad an air conditioner, not so much for the congressman, but for her spouse!