“Cooling Off In 1928”

It’s the fourth of July, it is very hot here for the sixth day in a row, and many people are heading for the beaches and parks. We are staying home, avoiding crowds, looking forward to going to the movies in what once was advertised as an “Air Cooled!” theater. I did always wonder what that meant before air conditioning came in.

After my mother died, my brother used a photo service to put all of the pictures in the family albums on DVDs. My mother was the only surviving child of her parents, so the albums also included those of my grandmother. Fortunately my grandmother, unlike my mother or me, was very organized. Her albums have carefully annotated descriptions of the people and places in each photo.

Here in 1928 her mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother, Jennie Durham are relaxing on Long Island on a family outing. My mother is wearing a bathing suit, but my grandmother and great grandmother are both wearing long cotton dresses. And someone–my grandfather?–has hauled a chair, a huge umbrella, picnic gear, blankets and all down to the sand.

Jennie sits in the chair, regal in her demeanor. I imagine she is wondering why she ever agreed to this expedition. She surely isn’t finding the beach a welcome respite from the heat!

17 thoughts on ““Cooling Off In 1928”

  1. I tried to look up the temperatures in Long island that day, but no one seems to have it. Even the sites that go back to 1930 say no datat is available for much of the time.

    I just recall ‘the summer’ as being ambiently much cooler, especially on the beach (or ‘down the shore’ as we called it in NJ), and would expect that these beachgoing folks who have had something more like 70-80` to contend with, although I may well be wrong.


      1. I’m thinking that something like Wimbledon or maybe Forest Hills tennis might have records of temperature somewhere…no guarantee it’d match with that specific area, but it might give some idea. A great grandmother might simply have observed propriety too, even if it was hot. I’d be interesxted to see how hot it may have been.


  2. I didn’t realize they had the style of bathing suit your Mom was wearing in 1928.

    You do have to wonder why humans head to the beach when it’s hot. The beach is even hotter.


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