Windy Whirlies: A Story of Ceiling Fans

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My brother often said the cutest things. Still does sometimes, even though he’s now in his mid-thirties. One of the coolest moments I remember from our childhood was the moment he discovered the ceiling fan. It had always been there in the living room, lazily swinging in circles during the summertime, but for some reason it hadn’t made an impression on him.

He was four years old when he pointed up with a chubby finger and a smile. “It’s a windy whirlie!”

My mother laughed hard. “What is it?”

“A windy whirlie!”

When I moved away to college, I lived in a dorm room that didn’t have ceiling fans. It didn’t even have air conditioning. I sweated it out during the warmer months with a big box fan in my window. It would blow papers everywhere if I didn’t keep them anchored down.

But down in the lobby, there was the ceiling fan to beat all other ceiling fans. This particular windy whirlie actually frightened me a bit, because it looked just like an airplane propeller. It sounded like one, too.

Source: via Big on Pinterest

I despised that thing.

When I bought my first home as a newlywed, I insisted on a big wrap-around porch. And what’s a wrap-around porch without a ceiling fan, twirling with a lazy breeze?

The first one was far too big for the space and made a mess of any sort of outdoor lunch I tried to have. But the second one? Ah, that lovely ceiling fan, the one that was just windy enough, the one that made my whole porch look like a trip down memory lane. That second one was perfect.

These days, we’re “kicking it old school,” as my brother would say. These days, it’s a retro ceiling fan with a steampunk flavor. It looks just as cool as it keeps the room.

Porch design by Minneapolis Architect Murphy & Co. Design

But no matter how modern, ancient, strange or traditional any ceiling fan looks, everybody in my family still calls them windy whirlies.


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