The heat wave was unusual for Salt Lake City.Â Five consecutive days with temperatures near 100 degrees with a repeat heat performance expected today. No problem. Wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals, I left my motel and began an eight-block walk to the Family History Library.
This was my first trip to the FHL, so my excitement quickened my pace.Â Before long, though, I slowed to a steady walk.Â How freaking long are the blocks in this city anyway?Â Plus, the bank thermometer flashed 83 degrees and it was only 9:30 a.m. When I finally slipped through the doors into the FHL lobby, the cool air-conditioned atmosphere was a welcome relief.
Sitting through the first-time visitor orientation, I noticed goose bumps popping up on my arms.Â This room is a little cool, I thought. After the orientation, I plunged into the stacks, flipping intently through books.Â Wait a minute, my toes and fingers feel cold.Â In fact, Iâ€™ve got goose bumps all over and Iâ€™m starting to shiver.Â I looked around at the other researchers.Â Long pants and sweaters were standard attire.Â Was that person who just passed by wearing earmuffs?Â No one told me it would be 47 degrees in here.
I made a quick exit into the welcome heat outside. First detouring to Nordstrom to buy a sweater, I trooped back to the motel.Â I threw off my shorts and slipped into jeans and tennis shoes, not forgetting socks for my frostbitten toes.Â No longer dressed for a 3-mile hike in shimmering downtown heat, I got in my air-conditioned car and drove to a parking lot near the library.
Since that frosty July, Iâ€™ve encountered all kinds of dressing dilemmas while conducting genealogy research. Not long ago, I marched into a library wearing my new high-heeled boots, with my boot-cut jeans, of course.Â It was like an artillery unit had moved into the lobby.Â With each booming step, my boots sent a shock wave of sound throughout the building.Â What drunken designer put tile floors in a library?Â Have you ever tried to tiptoe in high-heeled boots?
Then there was that time when I stopped at a remote cemetery to hunt for my great-great grandfatherâ€™s grave.Â Who knew it was supposed to snow that day?Â As soon as I stepped out of the car the flakes tumbled out of the sky.Â My leather bomberâ€™s jacket and slippery loafers soaked up the snow like sponges.Â
Just what should the well prepared genealogist wear from head to toe?Â For the head, we need a rain and snow-repellent, heat and UV-protective hat, preferably with detachable ear flaps and a built-in headlamp.Â Nighttime goggles that double as sunglasses with magnifying lenses would be helpful, too.
For the torso we need layers.Â A sleeve-less tank top with a T-shirt over that with a long-sleeved cotton shirt over that with a sweater over that with a light water-repellent jacket over that with a winter coat over that.Â Â Each of these must have numerous pockets for holding quarters, post-it notes, pencils, small notepads, paperclipsâ€“just about everything from your desk drawer.
For the legs we need long pants that zip off to make shorts.Â Over that we need water-repellent, wool-lined breakaway pants like the NBA players have.
For the feet we need socks that wick away sweat yet can also double as heat producing thermal insulators.Â And, we need mud, snow, and rain-repellent high-top, ultra-cushioned hiking shoes with soundless soles.
Getting dressed for research is serious business.Â On the other hand, I could wear my denim shorts, my ragged sweatshirt, and my furry slippers and sit in front of my computer and conduct research.Â Hmmm.Â What should I wear today?