Ithaca Blog

Monday, July 05, 2010

My Final Childhood Complaint About the Weather

When we were kids, in the midst of heat-wave days like today, we would moan, as kids will about things they don't like and can't control, which is many or most things, of course.

Something like hot weather is a wonderful topic, because your parents don't like it either, and your complaining makes it worse, which helps you a little.

I'm thinking about this as I am trying to write (have been writing) about growing up in postal zone 3, Brooklyn, New York.

To my friends here in Ithaca I can say that as bad as the heat might be here today, it is much, much worse in inner-city New York (or inner-city anywhere, I guess), where there are few trees for shade, little open space, and certainly no water; and concrete and asphalt, which comprise your natural environment, store heat all day and release it at night.

It is a perfect setting for a child to splay on a couch, or a living room floor, and moan. "Mom, it's so hot" is wonderfully evocative and little embellishment is needed.

In our house, however, it was not as fun as it could have been, as my parents were such succinct debaters. "Stop whinging," my mother would say, disarming you with her command of language not strictly English, so far as we knew.

My father, in my recollection, was worse. My mother's parents were from Ireland (thus her enriched vocabulary), but my father was just as robustly Irish-Catholic.

"Dad, it's so hot," I said to him one day.

He looked at me thoughtfully but with utter lack of emotion. And he said,

"It's hotter in Hell."

They gave me pause to think, those two, and as you see, still do.

You can see further at another blogspot here on, called

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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