Over a year ago I shared here a few excerpts from old letters written from Central and South America by Aunt Ida. I still plan to transcribe them all and share some more stories, but I’m afraid have fallen right down on that job.
This week we’ve been struck by an unusual heat wave. No one has AC here, because it’s so rarely warranted, and my recent experiences of wilting and sweating made me remember this passage from one letter in which she writes home to her sisters about how to cope in the Panamanian climate. I managed to dig it up and offer it here for anyone who may have need of it.
Tues. a.m. Aug. 5, 1919 …I like this country. Talk about the lure of the tropics. It’s got me. You couldn’t pull me away from here. It’s warm but everything is built for it. And it’s always the same so you can get ready for it and stay ready. I sleep with a sheet partly over me every night, and it’s the same at 4 a.m. as at 9 p.m. Everything is built open like a porch and tightly screened and it’s comfortable. All you have to remember is to take it easy and not hurry. “Never hurry” …. A negro sewing woman said one reason why I was so warm was because I had “haste in my blood.” And that is right. If you even “feel” in a hurry, the heat just surges through you. But if you keep calm, you stay cool. This place would never do for Ma. She’d just naturally die. Because she has so much “haste in her blood” and she simply cannot learn to take it easy. You have to learn it or you perish. You know how easy I take things – well if I keep that pace I’m OK but just let me take a spell where I want to straighten up or do the least thing and I’m all “het up.”
May you all keep as cool as possible this summer, in every sense of the word.