My mother’s wilted every summer for as long as I can remember. Even when we lived up north, she had window units in her bedroom and in the living room. I never thought about it much, but most of my friends’ homes didn’t have air conditioners. Once we moved to Texas, the hot summers waged full battle against Mom. Fortunately, the houses down here had central air, so she didn’t restrict herself to one room of the house. The early mornings became Mom’s time to do anything outside—watering, gardening, laundry. Many days the laundry hung on the line by six in the morning. One of us kids pulled it down in the afternoon. I never thought much about it, but any outside activity of my mother’s that didn’t get done in the morning could wait until evening.
My mother melted when my parents moved to the higher humidity in League City, Texas. Situated right between Galveston and Houston, the little town becomes a sauna from May through October. Add pollution to the mix, and my mother suffered tremendously. She much rather preferred her San Antonio allergies to the Houston crud! Everyone knew that Mom would move straight back to San Antonio after Dad died because she could tolerate the subtle summer differences better here.
The record breaking heat of this summer smacks down the average person. For my mother, it means she restricts herself to the house even more. Before this summer, Mom liked weekly outings to a store or restaurant, but the triple digit temperatures force her to remain inside. Mom hasn’t left the house since the first week of July. I don’t know if it’s her age, or Huntington’s, or her lifelong struggle with heat that keeps her homebound. This week she needs to have blood drawn, which means a trip to the lab. Next week she has a doctor’s appointment. I suspect she’ll ask me to postpone both until the end of September in the hope that fall will eventually arrive in central Texas.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman