ShareThis Page

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.