Front Porch: Summer 2009

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence S. Earley, from his photo essay, "Lessons of Core Sound Workboats."

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Front Porch: Summer 2009

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 15, No. 2: Summer 2009

"I once listened attentively as a native New Yorker explained the South to some newcomers more recent than he. 'What made this place possible was the invention of air conditioning,' he pronounced. 'Before that, nobody could live here.'"

I once listened attentively as a native New Yorker explained the South to some newcomers more recent than he. “What made this place possible was the invention of air conditioning,” he pronounced. “Before that, nobody could live here.”

Now I love that sweet cold blast as much as anybody. Whatever the environmental consequences, I’m not hot to give it up. But I also remembered that my family did not get central air until after I went to college, and we certainly weren’t the last to take that delicious plunge. And before we came on the scene, black and white southerners had been waiting about four centuries for air conditioning, without even knowing they were doing it. And Lord only knows how long the Indians did without it.