The Window Unit

There are nights when I miss the old window unit air conditioner that served my childhood’s modest, three-bedroom ranch house in Southern Alabama. That’s right: three bedrooms, one window unit! “Where’s he going with this,” you’re probably asking yourself?

Summer’s gotten a jump-start at my current residence of Palm Springs and in my hometown. Folks in the desert reference “a dry heat.” Not so much in Alabama, where humidity is also a factor. As a young boy growing up on the outskirts of town, I thought nothing of the scorching, sticky months. It was all I knew. Throughout the summer, my sister, neighborhood friends and I played outdoors nonstop, until it was time to come in for supper. And, even afterwards, we’d dart outside again to play nighttime hide-‘n’-seek or go snipe hunting (that’s another blog in itself). Eventually, curfew came and we’d settle in for the night. However, rarely did my sister and I sleep in our respective bedrooms. Instead, we made a pallet of quilts and sheets and slept on the floor in the den, where the mighty window unit presided.

Mighty may have been a generous description of the appliance. It certainly wasn’t powerful enough to cool the entire house, but it kept the den and kitchen areas pleasant. It wasn’t just the cooler temps that led us to sleep on the floor. There were bonuses: staying up past 11 o’clock to watch Johnny Carson or the late, late movie on TV and raiding the refrigerator for an occasional midnight snack. We considered the nights away from our bedrooms to be adventures not inconveniences.

The window unit was, in some ways, a guardian. Not only did it provide relief from the heat, it’s constant humming doubled as a lullaby when I finally drifted off to sleep. Even when the battered AC froze up with a sheet of ice, which it did regularly around 3 o’clock in the morning, I’d turn the unit off so it could defrost. That became part of the adventure as well.

So, here’s my point. Not once, did my sister and I ever complain of our rural home only having just one window unit. Never! As children, our minds were pure and we could only see the positives. To us, those nights crashing on pallets were a treat. I’d venture to say that my sister and I, and perhaps some of you during your youth, saw many things in a more favorable light, despite any challenges. As adults, we sometime forget that child within us. The one who can only see possibilities. The one who can turn inconveniences into adventures.

So, thanks to you, old window unit, for your tireless, loyal service and inspiration. You helped make life a breeze!

Love and light,


(special thanks to Kim Grubbs for giving me the idea of this post!)

16 thoughts on “The Window Unit

  1. Jeff Harper

    Tony for me just outside bham Alabama is was the sound of the unit kicking in on a Sunday afternoon after church. It could mean on 1 thing! Nap time!

    1. Tony Post author

      Hey Lisa! Thanks so much for reading. It’s funny what can stir up wonderful memories! Who would have guessed it was an old window unit AC!! Take care.

  2. Beth

    Tony, this is wonderful! I had forgotten how great the window unit was! And the sound always put me to sleep. I’m sure that is why, to this day, I sleep with a fan beside my bed blowing right in my face—even in the winter—-I have to have that sound!

    1. Tony Post author

      Beth!!! I still do the same thing! I was actually going to include that in my blog, but I thought it would make the post too long. Take care and sweet dreams!

  3. Vicki Morris

    Tony, what a fun memory of your childhood. On those hot summer nights growing up in Carrollton, GA, not too far from Alabama, it was so much fun when Mom & Dad would let me sleep with my head at the foot of the bed where they had put a window fan in the window -feeling the cool air blowing and the hum of the fan – boy did I sleep good! Thanks for the trigger of that memory!

  4. Kaye

    Awesome! This post took me straight back to my south Alabama childhood! As I read, I was literally seeing those same images! Oh the carefree days of playing outside with no worries…least of all the heat! A much simpler and in many ways, happier time. Thanks for the reminder and the post!

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