When I was a kid, we rode our bikes to the pool to cool off. My parents insisted we know how to not only swim, but perform lifesaving if needed, so I had swim lessons in the morning, would ride my bike home for lunch, then go back to the pool for the afternoon. When I was employable-age, I worked at the pool or the country club. Sunscreen? Coopertone was not known for sunscreen then. Hopefully the ozone was strong enough back then to protect us from the rays.
My parents had an industrial strength window fan that they put in the upstairs bedroom, facing out. It sucked air all through the house, from the basement through the first floor, then up to the attic/upstairs. So the house managed to stay pretty cool most of the time.
We had a huge screened in back porch where the family slept on unbearably hot summer nights. There were 2 rollaways stored in a cupboard that we pulled out and a sagging couch where the youngest (moi) had to sleep. It was screened in on 3 sides, and with a ceiling fan, it was pretty comfortable. It had bamboo shades we could let down for privacy, but hey -- it's a small town. Nobody worried much about that. My father would tell stories in the dark until we all fell asleep.
Nowadays I sit on my screened porch when I can, taking my laptop with me. I only turn on the airco when it gets over 85 and humidity is high. Otherwise, I rely on a fan and a Rum Slush to keep me cool on hot summer weekend days. Since I'm at work 4 days a week in airco, I figure the fresh air does me good when I'm at home.
One trick we used to employ in an apartment where we had no airco: at night, take the top sheet and dampen it. Wring it out in the shower, cover self with sheet, and turn on the fan. Instant airco. We employed that in 1988, the Drought Summer when water went in short supply and the heat was so bad from June until August we thought we were frying. We lived in an old hotel turned apartment building, and it had no air conditioning. I'll never forget how hot it was.
"Ah, memories," she said as she sat in her office wearing a sweatshirt on July 9 ....