I grew up in Florida in the 50s and 60s. We had no air conditioning and although heat was seldom used, even that was provided by firewood. We’d crank the jalousie windows open and placed fans strategically around the house. Sometimes we’d get a window fan which we would place in an open window and it drew the hot air out of the house. Window fans have screens, so no need to worry about bugs. We also had massive ceiling fans that would slowly revolve on a lazy summer’s day, helping the gentle Gulf breezes waft through the house. As a matter of fact, the houses were designed so that breezes wafted through every room, unlike contemporary homes where, if your a/c goes out…you roast like a chicken on a spit.
I remember having a “Dutch Wife” which was a long (almost body length) pillow stuffed with cotton and covered in what I believe was a fabric called, “Chenille”. I don’t know where the name came from, but they certainly helped you cool down enough to sleep as they wicked the sweat away.
Between the pillows and the fans, we did quite well. That’s not to say that a/c doesn’t do a better job, but it’s incredibly costly to our bank accounts and the environment. Just imagine how large your savings account could be if you didn’t have air conditioning!
In the 60s and 70s, we’d go to malls (a new creation in those days) and shops because they always advertised, “Ice cold air-conditioning” on the entrance doors. The shop owners knew the public needed relief from the heat and they were banking on the fact that we’d make a purchase or three while cooling off…and we did. It was a very symbiotic relationship. We’ve certainly become a spoiled society in the last 3 decades.