“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” ~ Jane Austen

When you reside in an old home you can’t help but consider the lives that filled the rooms before you. Thomas and I were doing just that when temperatures spiked to triple digits and stalled. Heat accompanied by aggressive insects melts all motivation and evaporates the energy you wake with. Our air conditioners were overwhelmed and offered little relief. Still, we are blessed with modern conveniences that make everyday, mandatory chores almost effortless — just press a button. The original residents of the Fairfield House had no air conditioning to escape the sweltering heat. When indoors, the green head flies and mosquitoes were still present because there were no screens on windows.  The day’s work was hard labor and could not be delayed until things cooled down.  These people were self-sufficient. Things had to get done and chances were the next day was not going to be any kinder. People didn’t wear shorts and sleeveless shirts. Women wore long, full dresses with long sleeves and high necks. Petticoats under it all and aprons on top. Bonnets protected their heads from the sun. Men wore denim overalls with a long sleeved shirt underneath. A straw hat topped their heads. Both wore leather boots and wool socks.


By contrast, we were enjoying the cooling breeze and loud hum of a window air conditioner unit on Friday night as we drifted off to sleep (central air is still on our to do list). We were not asleep long when my home shook me awake. Literally. Hurricane force winds were beating against the windows at 80 miles per hour while repeated lightening bolts lit up our room. Thunder boomed and the doors vibrated in their frames as the worst storm we’ve experienced since moving here raged on. Fifteen minutes in we heard a loud bang that jolted me out of bed and everything inside the Fairfield House went black and silent–we lost our power. No power means not only no air conditioning, but no water and consequently no bathroom privileges.


cemetery tree

blocked road


Eventually the storm rolled out to sea but left a swath of downed trees and power lines in it’s wake and 206,000 regional residents without electricity. Stores and gas stations were closed, while my freezer and refrigerator were transformed into nothing more than storage chests for spoiled food as we were unwillingly transported back to the type of life the original homeowners led. Temperatures remained in the triple digits. I can now understand why no one is smiling in those vintage photographs. They were all miserable! Power was finally restored for us on Monday night, however many are still without power and effectively living in the 1800s.

leaning pole

broken pole

leaning utility pole

Modern life is so different and in so many ways superior to when our home was built and certainly compared to the time of our nation’s founding. As this is July 4th holiday, it gives me pause to think how far our great nation has come in such a relatively short period of time; from wilderness to wonder.  Today is an opportunity to appreciate our virtues as a nation, celebrate our past and plan for our future. God bless the United States of America.

* A “derecho” is a widespread and long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.


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15 Responses to Derecho

  1. 'D' July 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm #


    So sorry to hear about the problems that you had with the storm. We have been lucky, this time, it passed above us. I’ve been praying for those who have lost so much, both out west with the fires and and the storms, which are closer to home. Even with all of this devastation, I agree with you, GOD BLESS AMERICA, and ALL OF IT’S PEOPLE. ♥(((((((((HUGS))))))))

  2. Anne July 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    It is amazing how much we take for granted today! I am very happy to see you are safe. Our country has been hard hit this year with so many different disasters! I think we all need to stop and listen. I think God is speaking to many and many refuse to listen!

    I hope this holiday will be a blessing for you and Thomas!

    Have a beautiful day. Be safe and always trust the Lord!

  3. Jennifer July 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    I had no idea that storm was so far-reaching! I pretty much get my news via Facebook :) and most of my Virginia friends were in the thick of it; never occurred to me that it hit NJ as well. I’m so glad you are ok and your power is back on!

  4. ain't for city gals July 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I think we got out of Virginia just in the nick of time. I know if I lived back there I would have a generator, stored water and a basement. I could go without food for a bit…ha! We are actually having the most unusual day here in Az….it is softly raining …a cool 80° ….the air conditioning is OFF!!! I am enjoying every minute of it. Take care, my friend…xoxo

  5. Wyatt July 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    We always think it is fun to be without power for a couple of hours. It’s an adventure and we bust out the headlamps and read and cook on the propane stove. But, when hours without electricity turn into days, it becomes a lot less fun, especially when you are on a well and there is no water. The difference for us, Oregon weather is fairly mild and we will not die of heat or freeze to death.
    Hope things get back to normal for you soon, Happy 4th and stay cool.

    Wyatt’s mom

  6. Parsley July 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I’m so very sorry. I don’t think I grasped all that was going on in that area. I simply thought ‘hot’ for most just like we are dealing with 100 plus temps… but it took a while for my mind to grasp the lack of AC and elect. that might go with it. I am ashamed I didn’t know all this at first and will pray all gets back to ‘normal’ soon. HUGS

  7. Susan G July 5, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    We got it also! Friday night, and again a smaller one on Sunday…then tonight it was thundering a lightening for almost an hour before it actually rained, which did not last long.

    I hope you are all well, and happy 4th to you!

    PS…Ron is still in the rehab hospital.

  8. Alaina July 5, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Deborah, I am sorry to hear you are without power. We do not and never have had air conditioning so not much would change there but there is so much else we depend on. I don’t know if it is better to not have power in the middle of a snow storm or heat wave. I hope it doesn’t last long for you, stay cool.

  9. Laura Ingalls Gunn July 5, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Oh my heart goes out to that poor family!

    When we lived on the island of Crete there was no a/c and all electricity was sent to the hotels and restaurants first. Thankfully cold baths were still available. We woke early, took siestas, stayed up late and made many trips to the sea. Looking back it seems like a lovely memory until I think harder.

    Right now I am in a constant state of inelegance. In a rare turn of events it is quite humid here in Phoenix with temps in the 110’s. I shuffle back and forth between homes loading and unloading boxes. Greasy hair, shiny face….ugh. I hope to have everything transferred by Sunday.

  10. Becky July 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Oh Deborah, So glad Fairfield House came out of it ok. I know your area isn’t accustomed to that kind of weather, and I have felt so badly for the whole area.

    But, as you said, we have it so much easier than those who came before us. And we need to realize that and count those blessings~for they are many!

    Have a lovely Friday and weekend, sweetie,

  11. Zuzu July 6, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I’d never heard of a derecho before. What a summer it has been so far. Stay safe, my friend!

  12. Missy July 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Hey sweet girl! I am so sorry you all got hit by the storms! KY has had some pretty nasty ones lately too, but they have skirted around us each time. We haven’t had any rain since Father’s Day….my yard is beyond crispy, it’s more like dirt! :-/
    My heart goes out to the family that lost children…how tragic and sad. :(

    Hope everything is back to normal for you now….and that your fridge and freezer are full, cold and humming along! :)

    Love ya lots!

  13. lisa moran/Bilancia Designs July 16, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    I’m not sure if you were hit by the storm we had last night…FINALLY some much needed rain in Jersey! If only it came with some cool relief. The hot, humid temps keep me inside with the air, I’m afraid.
    When we were in Charlotte taking a carriage ride tour of the beautiful homes, I couldn’t image those poor women back in the day with their layers of clothing in the hot, humid summer! Can you imagine??
    I’m hoping this humid, dry spell is over soon so we can enjoy summer!! My kids don’t seem to mind it, though…hmmm, what does that say about me?? The older you get…. hahaha
    Hope you’re enjoying your summer, Deborah.
    Hugs, Lisa

  14. Pondside July 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    The weather has been crazy since April – your heat and storms, the terrible heat in the centre of our country and the unrelenting rain and cool here that has us wearing our fall jackets in July – it makes one think. We even had thunder and lightning last week – only happens a couple of times in a decade on the south island. I filled buckets and tubs for expected power outage, but we escaped that inconvenience.

  15. Cotton Peony July 30, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Ooch, here in the south, we call em’ “micro burst’ as these storms seem to come out of no where.. then.. ‘poof’ it’s gone. But what a mess it leaves in it’s wake. I’m so sore from cleaning up yesterday myself. Geesh, getting old I guess.

    Oh, and I do so hate powder room’s being ah.. unusable. But my mom always had porta potties just in case when I grew up in the country.

    And yes… God Bless America!

    with love and hopes that the heavy storms are behind us all.

    Cotton Peony

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