“Give me some more stories of old San Pedro,” says Christina Bradley, whom everyone affectionately known as Nana. Nana is a San Pedrana high school graduate now studying in the USA, and enjoys learning stories of animals and now says she is anxious to know more stories of her San Pedro, but in the days of her grandfather and other relatives.
Well close your eyes and remember those good old days in the village where we grew running about without shoes, and paddling our way half way between the beach and the reef to catch a bucketful of snappers, grunts, and yellowtails. Boy did they abound, and the beauty of it is that you could catch them throughout the year.
Remember those days when the kids delighted with Mrs. Rosita Valencia’s crunchy garnachas. They were only fried corn tortillas with refried beans, some onions and a tiny bit of "queso calabera" (Dutch cheese) grated on top. I mean everybody could do them, but when done at home, they did not taste half as nice as Doña Rosita’s. Every evening her children, Pedro and Miguel Valencia would go around town selling them at two for five cents, but when they ran out you could go to her little kitchen which used to be right where Rocks Store is, and purchase garnachas, enchiladas, or panades. I have never tasted any nicer garnachas than hers up until this day.
Oh yes I remember those good old days going to Teatro Arenas, now Fido’s courtyard. We could watch a good movie Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for only 25 cents. When the local flourishing band Los Shadows played to entertain before the movie, they charged 30 cents. The seats were comfortable wooden benches, but who the hell cared or complained. We all had a good laugh when the 35 mm film popped and the lights suddenly were turned on and we caught all those lovers kissing during the movie. Some of them kept on kissing, I guess with their eyes closed, and were not even aware that the movie had been interrupted. What a good laugh and the talk of the town, I mean the village.
And how can I forget those days when children had nothing to do, but go swimming every afternoon after classes and all afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. A favorite spot was the central main pier right in front of Daddy Club. Another favorite spot was right in front of Fido’s where a large white spot was found. And then during summer a large raft built with drums was anchored some 500 feet offshore and children delighted in going to this “balsa” to jump off and show off their diving skills. Finally there was a kraal or enclosed area owned by one Mrs. Serafina Encalada of Belize City, and when she was not here, all the village delighted in swimming in her kraal, like the rich and famous.
Oh yes, there might have not been much to do in the sleeping village of San Pedro in the 1950’s, but we all certainly found enough activity to do and stay happy and healthy twenty five years ago.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist