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No Crime 25 Years Ago

The attack of Mr. Adolfo Ayuso Sr., (80) and his wife Mrs. Carmela Ayuso in their store during broad daylight could not enter my mind without my reminiscing on life 25 years ago. In the 1950’s and 60’s, when San Pedro was a quaint little fishing village that no one cared to visit, there was peace and a sense of safety for everyone.

People left their homes at any time of the day or night to run to the store or to a neighbor’s without having to lock their doors. People slept throughout the nights with their windows fully open and the yard did not have a gate, security light or security guard. Housewives who labored all day hung their clothing or laundry on clotheslines in the yard and these were left in the open during the night. In fact some white clothing was laid on patches of grass right on the streets for the clothing to bleach. All of these were done because nobody ever stole anything from anybody. An occasional mischief, like someone stepping on the laundry on the street or someone cutting your laundry line did happen, but this was mischief, never theft.

Everything in the open or unattended was safe. An occasional hog roamed the streets without finding a new owner. Fishermen would leave a 200 pound turtle or loggerhead right on the beach for a day or two and later kill it for its meat. Salted or corned fish was hung on barbecues or along the fence to be dried for a day or two. If someone wanted a fish or two, he would ask for it. Doreys were left anywhere along the beach and when the small 6 or 12 horsepower outboard motors came to San Pedro, they were left in the doreys or skiffs with tank and gasoline and no one touched them.

If I tell you this, you will not believe it. A storekeeper would lie in his hammock to take his siesta after lunch and if a customer came to the store, he would rap the counter with a fifty cent coin to wake up the shopkeeper. School children went to school and left their bags at the foot of the steps and went to play at games at the open lot and no one touched their bags. And finally, fishermen left their nets, expensive nets, on bamboo poles that were near the beach to air dry overnight and no one bothered them.

What is the difference now? Twenty five years ago the villagers all knew one another and cared for one another. Today, our town has grown tremendously and very few people care for one another anymore. We are paying the price of progress.

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