I've been hearing people discuss cutting back on air conditioning on NPR by saying how houses were made with cross-ventilation and people didn't have a/c back in the day and made it just fine. No, we didn't. Not at all. I was miserable as a child and teenager. We didn't have it at home when I was growing up, and I suffered every summer. We played outside most of the time and came in to eat and sleep. I'd beg my parents to take me swimming or let me stand under the hose. Then later on, I'd ask if I could live with my aunt and uncle in Nashville during the summer.
We didn't have a/c at school, church, or most places back then, and I don't know how we stood it. Keep in mind that we wore starched and ironed dresses and shirts and dressed up when we went anywhere, too. I don't recall being miserable all the time but know I would be now without it.
Lee Remick, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward in The Long Hot Summer