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Heat, humidity don't faze Armstrong County senior citizens

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 12:42 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Rose Aden of the Dayton area leads a group of senior citizens in a line dance at the Rural Valley Senior Center. The group held its regularly scheduled practice with windows open and fans blowing in the 80 degree heat. The center's air conditioning system was being serviced. Monday July 15, 2013
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Shirley Shankel of Rural Valley wipes perspiration from her cheek while participating in a line dance at the Rural Valley Senior Center. Monday, July 15, 2013

This week, temperatures are predicted to soar well into the 90s, but so far area senior citizens seem to be keeping cool and are taking the heat well in stride.

On Monday morning, members of the Senior Sensations line dancers went through their paces in front of a row of open windows and several oscillating fans in the Rural Valley Senior Center.

The center's air conditioning was temporarily out of service and was expected to be fixed later that afternoon.

Even though the mercury had risen beyond the 80-degree mark by 11 a.m., temperatures remained comfortable inside. While some danced, others played cards and sipped iced tea and water.

Sylvia Buffington, 70, of Ford City — one of the Senior Sensations — didn't seem fazed by the heat.

“Nobody had air conditioning when we were kids,” said Buffington, who has lived in both Butler and Allegheny counties.

She recalled hot summer nights when “all the neighborhood kids slept on the porch or in their yards.”

Karen Boarts, 72, who lived for a time in Kittanning, took a break from her card game to talk about her childhood summers.

“When I was a little one, Mother would hang the hose from the clothes line and I'd run through it,” she said.

“But June 25, 1963, was the hottest day I can remember,” Boarts said.

That date stands out in her memory because it was the day she got married, 50 years ago in Worthington Presbyterian Church.

Judy Polana, 83, of NuMine used to beat the heat as a child by swimming in a shaded portion of a creek in Girty.

She also recalled packing up sandwiches and climbing with a group of friends through cool, wooded hillsides near Vandergrift.

“We'd just put up with the heat,” Polana said.

She said she still doesn't have air conditioning at home, sleeps with the windows open and drinks plenty of water.

Staying cool wasn't a problem for several women visiting the Elderton Senior Center in the Towne Hall.

Instead, they sought a way to escape the chilly blast of air conditioning.

Helen Miller, Ruth Rearick and Edna Blystone sat on a bench outside the center before the lunchtime meal was served.

“We're warming up,” said Blystone, laughing. “Our blood is getting thin.”

She said that as a child, she relished cooling off her bare feet by walking through mud puddles.

Miller recalled how she used to escape hot temperatures as a child by soaking in a cool tub of water out of sight from the road by the family's outhouse.

People, especially seniors, are reminded to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, to wear loose, lightweight clothing and especially to remember to stay hydrated.

That's according to Nancy Wright, Armstrong County senior center supervisor.

She said all of the senior centers throughout the county will be operating under normal hours from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering a cool respite for those looking to escape the heat.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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