Oshkosh Stories and Snapshots: Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning
Late 1970's (1976-1977)
Contributed by: Steve

As important as heating a house is, today, air conditioning seems to be just as important. When we built the house on South Lark Street, everything that was needed for air conditioning was installed, even the A frame in the furnace. All we needed was the outside unit and we just could not afford the $600 it cost. We went about five years without one. I had a friend who ran an appliance store and also sold air conditioners. I was in his store one day talking to him when he told me he had a problem. He ordered eight central air conditioners for eight people and the distributor told him he could only get four. He told four people that they would have to wait till next year or get one some place else. When the shipment came in, there were five units instead of four and he didn't know whom he was going to give the fifth one too. I solved his problem right then and there. "George," I said, "let's load the unit on my pick up truck, I'll take it home then I'll go to the credit union and borrow the $600 and I'll take tomorrow off and help install it." George agreed. I didn't say anything to my wife because I was afraid she would say, no way, and I had my heart set on it. The next day it was hot, very hot, and very humid. It took us about an hour to set up the outside unit and run the piping into the house. Once we were working in the basement, it wasn't too bad. I had every fan in the house on us. We had it installed by noon and ran a temporary wire to see if it would work. Oh boy, did it work! George was not an electrician so I had to wire it up myself. He left and it took me until about two o'clock to complete the wiring. My wife worked in the fourth floor office at Miles Kimball. All the windows could be open but there still would not be a breath of fresh air, and during days like this, she would come home looking like she just walked out of Lake Winnebago. She arrived about 4:15 and on this day I was intentionally sitting at the kitchen table to get her reaction. And what a reaction I got. She walked through the door looking like she walked home in a rain storm, stood there for a second or two, dropped her purse on the floor, threw her arms in the air and said, "Oh my God". Then she cried. I never once heard anything about spending money we didn't have. In fact, I made more brownie points that day than I ever made in all the rest of the days in my married life.

One last thought. Any house built today that doesn't have air conditioning would be as rare as a Ford Model T with disk brakes.

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