There are many things that are considered as hardships or inconveniences today that were normal occurrences 25 years ago. They were part of our lives and occurred as normal, so nobody considered them as hardships. First of all if you were to wake up today and find out that you are out of butane gas for your stove, you would immediately complain because there is no energy to fix up the breakfast, fry an egg etc.
Back in the 1950’s everybody had to lit up the firewood or coconut husks to fry a piece of fish and heat up the water for the morning tea or coffee.
If electricity is interrupted today for any given time, you will hear the grumbling from everyone for different reasons. Some will complain about their computers and not being able to do work. Others will complain because there is no television. Still others will complain because it is too hot because the air conditioning or the fans cannot operate.
Some will not be able to travel because the air compressor is not working and there is no air to inflate the tires. Even the meat shops do not want to sell during the power outage because they do not want to open the freezers.
Even the tortillas were baked because it was all done by hand. And I wonder how come it was never hot back then? The only hot place was in the outdoor kitchen were the “fogon” or fire hearth was in full heat, but as soon as mom came out from there it was cool again. Today, people can’t even sleep without electricity.
You ask a student to solve a simple 3 or 3 digit multiplication problem and he will immediately pull out his calculator. Students today are not quite verse with their multiplication tables from 2 to 12 because they have the use of the calculator, so much that they become addicted to it.
Back then in school it was all paper and pencil. Students were required during a math test, (I mean during an arithmetic test) to have scratch paper where they could do their rough work or calculations.
These rough work papers were not required to be turned in. You might ask how much wire do I need to buy if my yard is 50 feet by 90 feet, and most people will pull out the calculator. My dad used to make some big steps or pace around the yard and tell you that he needed about 280 feet of wire to build his fence. Good calculator, right?
Today people complain if there are mosquitoes. We never did back then. We simply put out a container with some green coconut husks to burn and the smoke would take care of the mosquitoes. Today we complain if there is smoke coming from the neighbor’s yard. We did not back then because everybody had some smoke in his backyard coming from the outdoor kitchen.
We complain today if we can’t flush the toilet. Never had those complaints back then. We complain today if we suddenly find out there is no toilet paper in the bathroom. Never complained back then because everyone went to the toilet with his little piece of newspaper and softened it while doing ‘our thing’.
Students complain today if they don’t have two to five dollars in their pockets to take to school. We took five cents, and that was maybe. Most of the time we took nothing. And really there was nothing to buy. So the next time you find yourself complaining about these simple little things, think of 25 years ago when nobody complained. It might help to sooth your pains and your life.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist