25 Years Ago

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When Mrs. Alamilla wants to give special treatment to her special laundry today she has many products and ways to do so. First of all there is that special liquid detergent for particular products. Then there is the fabric softener for the stiff clothing and for the baby clothing. Now if the weather is good, the laundry probably takes half an hour of sunlight and some airing time in the shade. If the weather is not too good, then the laundry ends up in the heater and there too there are special pads to give the clothing a fresh smell and to collect all the fuzz.

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Water rates are high today and keep going up at ridiculous rates. The water company wants more money and government needs to keep it low. But we have no control. We must pay even if we squeal or bawl or turn upside down. How fortunate we were 25 years ago when our WATER RATES WERE ZERO. It was absolutely free. We paid not a cent for water and nobody could tell us to conserve it because it was abundant and it was free and each family was owner of his own water system. I am talking about the shallow wells.

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I was talking to a good friend, Mike Tewes, who dates back 25 years ago, and we were reminiscing about our days when we used to go dancing in Belize City while we were going to high school and then dancing in San Pedro while we were on vacations. It was fun looking back at these good old days.

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I don’t know about you, but I have certainly concluded that 25 years ago, indeed things were made of better material. Even the people seemed to have been made of better stuff, and I can prove that.

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If you were asked today what place in San Pedro is the center of activity, you would have many answers. Some would say the old plaza or soccer field while others would say the office of the San Pedro Town Council. Some would say it is Tropic Air area whereas others would probably say it is at San Pedro High School. Some will probably say it is the Roman Catholic Church, while others might say it is the Lions Den. There are many places that are considered the hub of activity for any given group of people.

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I was reminded of this topic just recently by Norman Eiley and Allan Villanueva, so apparently this topic also existed in Placencia and probably all over Belize. We were talking about this dress called the “Crinolene”, which was worn by young ladies in the 1950’s.

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It is funny how big and small change from the past and today. The things that were big in the past are many times small today and those things that were small are now pretty large. I do not know the reasons, but check out a few examples.

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No there were no graduations in San Pedro until 1976 when San Pedro High celebrated its first. So prior to that there were no graduations. First of all in the 1960’s and before, there was only one school in San Pedro, and that was the San Pedro R.C. School. At the end of the eight years at elementary school, students were required to sit two examinations - the Primary School Leaving Examinations, known as Primary, and the Scholarship Examination. With the first you got a certificate if you passed and this was sort of your proof of completing your primary studies.

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I know the environmentalists and conservationists must have gone, “Ahhh” with last week’s story on manatee killing. I realize I did speak of how nice the meat is, and it is true, and I hope it is no incentive for any more killing of manatees. It happened because there was a true need twenty five years ago. Well, here is another one for the environmentalists, and this time it was the killing of the coral reef.

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Hunting for manatees in the 1960’s was an adventure. It was a special expedition to get meat for the family and for the village. You were almost a hero when you announced that you had caught a manatee and had processed over 500 pounds of meat for the village.

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If there is one thing that was very different, completely different, it is the way birthday parties were celebrated back then and today. There is very little resemblance between a child’s birthday party in 1960 and those of today. To you this edition of Twenty Five Years Ago might even seem like a criticism, but those in their fifties know that what I am saying is completely true.

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Last week San Pedro High celebrated Cultural Day and there was a group of early Mestizos with their fishing gear including fishing lines and “tarralla” cast nets. So I decided to try casting out the net to see if I remembered doing something I used to be good at about forty years ago. You might not believe it, but I think I cast it quite well.

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I can understand why some children were very reluctant to go to school at age five on their first days of school life. They knew there was lashing at school. I can also understand why some kids grew up with responsibility and respect for authority. There was lashing at school. I can also understand why some kid, who were so unruly and undisciplined and lazy did get to learn and become productive children. There was lashing at school. I can also appreciate why at times parents used to go to school to challenge teachers to a fistfight.

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Will be updated soon.

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Would you consider allowing your boys and girls walking naked on the streets of San Pedro playing some game in front of the house? You know, some people actually enjoy their boys in the home walking only in underwear, perhaps with a sleeveless vest on. But that is as far as we would go, not naked, and not on the streets.

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Twenty five years ago, when Easter was all over, it was a different feeling as when Easter is over today. Back then we knew that Easter was over when we saw no strange face on the streets of San Pedro. San Pedro was invaded by friends from Belize City who came for the long weekend and festivities. They lived at friends’ houses and some even camped along the beach.

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The Good Friday procession re-enacting the death of Jesus Christ is very meaningful today, but it was more impressive twenty five years ago. This was the longest procession ever in the history of the village of San Pedro. Every child in the elementary school attended this procession because the teachers were there with their notebooks taking a list of those who were present. It was attended by every woman and young lady in the village because it was a family tradition.

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Easter is Easter. It is about going to church to commemorate the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ and then to celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Easter is a religious festivity, but was Easter the same in San Pedro twenty five years ago. Of course not.

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The once small fishing village of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is now an extended town with some ten subdivisions. Yes, ten subdivisions. We once thought of Belize City as the large city with its colorful subdivisions like Freetown, Albert, Mesopotamia, Fort George, Pickstock, Landivar, Yarborough, Port Loyola, and Bella Vista. Who would have thought that San Pedro would have grown to incorporate Boca Del Rio, San Juan, San Pablo, San Pedrito, Escalante, San Marcos, Mosquito Coast, Colonia San Diego, DFC, and in the near future Ambergris Bay?

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This is certainly not twenty five years ago, and is one of the few subdivisions that is not named after a Saint. Is there a San Escalante that we can name it after? This area is a full residential area with only a few small businesses operating there.

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