Summers were hot in Pennsylvania.
Days were spent hurling ourselves down slip 'n slides and splashing through creeks to cool down. Nights were different; options were limited. The only relief my childhood home held was a cold basement floor and a solo air-conditioner wall unit in the living room on the main floor.
With the air-conditioner loudly turning sticky, humid outside air into lung-numbing, cold inside air I would begin dragging box fans up the stairs from the basement to the ground floor. My plan was simple. I would siphon that cool, calm air from the living room back through the hallway into my bedroom. Locations of the fans were limited due to the residences of the outlets. I made it work though. The first box fan was placed at the threshold of the living room and the hallway. Another was placed halfway back the hallway. Another was placed perpendicular to the hallway so that it caught the cold air and blew it directly into my room. And yes, yet another was placed in perfect relation to my bed so that maximum cold air wind that reached my body was achieved.
The foot of my bed was closest to the door so that is where my head lay; my feet leaving black smudge marks on the wall. I would arrange my pillow so that the air from the bedside fan would blow the pillowcase out and around like a parachute. I would lay my head on the edge of the pillow right inside the pillowcase. The cold air circulating through my makeshift wind tunnel lifting my hair off the nape of my neck.
With the comforter removed from the bed so that I lay just on the cool, white sheets I would position myself just so. I would consciously focus on the air hitting my body. My breathing would slow as the sound of the fan lured my mind to sleep. When completely relaxed, I would slip my hand down over the side of the bed and grasp the cold, cold, cold metal bed frame that held my twin mattress. One last jolt of coolness.
Many mornings I woke with my hand still fastened to the frame.