How Hot Was the August of 1933?

August 14, 2010

It’s August. It’s hot. It’s the dog days of summer.

Here in the Midwest, it’s been exceptionally hot and humid. At our house, we don’t normally need air conditioning because we live high on a hill, surrounded by breezy trees. But lately, I must admit, it’s been a bit sticky. I haven’t expected many visits from my daughter-in-law, who’s now in her final six weeks of pregnancy.

I wonder what it was like 77 years ago for my grandmother Ruth? She would have been eight months pregnant with her first child—my mother Carol, who was born August 23, 1933. Back then, there certainly wasn’t air conditioning for the common family living in Chicago. I wonder if it was hot, humid and extremely uncomfortable that year like it is now?

Or three years later, in June 1936, when she was pregnant with her daughter Judith? What was life for Ruth like then?

In the video I have of Ruth’s remembrances, she talks about her days of early motherhood. It’s mostly factual things, like where they were living. It’s interesting stuff but I wished I’d thought to also ask more personal, thoughtful questions.

What was it like being pregnant in the 1930s? What was my grandfather like as an expectant father? How hot was the August of 1933, or the June of 1936?

Anyways, here’s what we do have…

“When we decided to have a child, we moved to Blue Island, Ill,” says Ruth to me, in the video. “This is where your mother was born.

“We live there just a year. Then we moved back to Chicago and lived upstairs in an aunt and uncle of mine—their apartment. Then, when Judith was born, when I left for the hospital, I left from that apartment. While I was in the hospital, Grandma and Grandpa Arendt (Emma Hornburg Hooge Arendt and Rudolph Arendt), and an aunt of mine, and George (Ruth’s husband) moved us to a bigger apartment, nearer to church. We lived there until 1940, when we bought the bungalow on (8245 S.) Ada St.”

Stay cool everyone. It’s been hot before. It’ll be hot again.

Four Generations

A four generation gathering: In back, l-r, Emma Arendt and Ruth Larson, holding baby Carol. Seated in front, Wilhemina Hornburg.

Larson, George, Ruth, and baby Judith

George and Ruth Larson, with baby Judith.

George Larson Family

George and Ruth Larson Family, daughters Carol and Judith, circa 1939

My Aunt Judith gave me this picture. She said she remembers feeling conscious of her father holding the corner of her dress. She looks somewhat concerned about it, don’t you think?

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4 Responses to “How Hot Was the August of 1933?”

  1. Dave Says:

    What would we do without the internet? Here are is the yearly weather stats for Chicago for 1933 and 1936:

  2. Dave Says:

    On May 31st, 1934 it was 102 degrees in Chicago. On July 24th, it was 105 degrees – good weather for a teething toddler.

    On July 10th, 1936 baby Judy would have enjoyed the 102 degree temperature in Chicago.

  3. Terri Says:

    A friend of mine always said, “It’s hot, but not as hot as we deserve!”

  4. Ann Says:

    This has been one steamy, steamy summer. Things are cooler today, thank heavens, as your daughter-in-law goes into those last weeks of pregnancy. Hope it stays nice!


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