When I was two, we lived in a small second-story apartment. The year was 1958, a time when air-conditioning for the common-man’s household, was still science fiction. To cope with the Texas heat, Mom put two big box-fans in windows at opposite ends of the apartment. She turned them to face the same direction, to create a breezeway effect. They ran twenty-four-hours a day.
The fan-window in the living room was low enough for me to see down to the street. One day, when no one was watching, I waddled over and squeezed between my Dad’s chair and the window. The heavy chair was there to block my access to the fan, but I love a challenge.
There I stood, gazing through a blur of spinning metal blades, with the back of my head pressed into the cotton-padded fabric of the easy chair. Rectangular globs of my pudgy, grinning cheeks, bulged through the fan’s wire grille. It was so cool!
I looked through the fan to the street below, and saw the little girl from downstairs playing on the sidewalk. ‘Ah, something interesting!’ I thought. I strung together a few syllables, and called to her through the fan. She heard me, smiled up at me, and waved hello. Being a gentleman even then, of course, I waved back, by sticking my fingers through the grille and into the blades. I almost lost three of them.
Girls have been getting me into trouble ever since.
photo credit: Mike Krautter