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I watched with interest last week the children of San Pedro marching in a demonstration pro “recycling”. “Great”, I thought, “finally the children of San Pedro are being taught to recycle, to make do, to save and economize, to protect the environment, to improvise and be innovative.” And then I thought I would write about recycling 25 years ago and also thank Holy Cross for their initiative on this program which I applaud.

Diapers were in use long before pampers. Diapers, for those of you who do not know, were used to catch the baby’s urine and fecal waste before he was potty trained. The beauty of diapers is not only that they can be washed over and over again, but also passed on from one baby to the next. They required more work but did save tons of money.

The tin cans of evaporated and condensed milk were neatly opened and used as coffee mugs, cups or tumblers. Please don’t laugh but newspapers and shopping paper bags were crumpled until they got soft and used as toilet paper.

A mother’s or sister’s discarded dress was assigned to one family member and used as a towel. The fabric or cloth flour bags were bleached and used to make men’s shirts and their boxers. They were neat and talk about long lasting! Flour bag boxers or “calzoncillos” they were called.

Here is a special one. Thick rubber tires were cut into the shape of feet and used to make some fine sandals that were used in place of tennis shoes to go into the bush and walk among the thorns. The difficulty was locating a tire 25 years ago.

And here is another special recycled apparatus. The school kids in infant one and two used a slate to write on. The slate was easily erased with a little water and when one forgot his little bottle of water, well… well…saliva did the trick. A slate tablet was used over and over until it broke accidentally or you slammed it on someone’s head.

You know the white part of the watermelon that you normally throw away? Well don’t. Dice it up and with some onions and pepper and vinegar you can make some fine pickles you could swear they were cucumbers. We enjoyed these pickles 25 years ago.

Nobody purchased charcoal back then. We used coconut husks as fuel source because they made excellent charcoal. I still do today because of the excellent flavor it adds to meats.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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