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WOW! Those Salaries

By Angel Nuñez

Last week my wife was going through some papers in a drawer and came up with a little book updated by her dad in the 1950’s.  She almost ran into tears as she remarked: “Pobre my papa; mira como trabajaba para ganar una miseria” (I am sorry for my dad; look how he worked to earn such a miserable income.)  Then she began reading from the booklet- her voice almost breaking.

Two days at Mr. Blake’s house……….$2.50
One day at Esmeralda………………….$1.25
3 ½ days painting at Basil Jones………$4.38
6 loads of coconuts (collecting/peeling)$9.00
1 day unloading coconuts……………..$1.25
5 days at Santa Rita Coconut grove …..$6.25
1 day unloading Elsa P cargo to store….$1.25

And the list continues with similar chores and salaries.  After she had read about three pages, I commented: “But my dear, that must have been good for him and his family because I see he has notes for every month, so he must have been making ends meet.”

“Yes, he was able to maintain his family with that, but imagine having to work in the hot sun being attacked by mosquitoes, and collecting and peeling coconuts for a miserable $1.25” she insisted.

“My dear,” I said, “he certainly did a fine job because he educated two of his sons and he raised three fine girls, especially the youngest one.”
“I know,” said my wife with a smile, “but I insist that my poor dad worked like a mule and somebody should have had compassion on them and either lessen the work load or increase the day’s pay.”

Then I commented that it was not about compassion or about higher wages.  It was because there was no other choice.  Sanpedranos in the 1930’s and 40’s had very little education and had to accept whatever job was offered them in the bush or coconut plantations.  But then we turned over to another page of her father’s little book and we breathe a sigh of relief when we noticed some pages with food provisions and the prices they paid back then.  But that is another story for Twenty Five Years Ago.  Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks.

Gilberto Gomez Salary Book 1951

25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today -Lala’s Store -Chico’s Meat Shop -Pampered Paws -Ambergris Jade -San Pedro BTB Office -Aquarious Salon (Kim) -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush -Richies Stationery -San Pedrano’s Stationery

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