25 Years Ago
The other day I forgot to take my camera to a very important event and I felt that I could not forgive myself for it. Fortunately we were able to drive to a neighboring town and purchase one of those disposable cameras. At the function, as we took photographs, some friends laughed at me due to the very small camera that I had. It looked like a toy camera.
Before we make a vivero, I need to tell you what is a "vivero". It is a vessel in which you could keep your fish alive after you had caught them with your fishing line. The word "vivir" means to live and "vivo" is alive, therefore a "vivero" is where a fisherman would keep his fish alive twenty five years ago. Next before we build one, I need to tell you why you would need a "vivero". Why would fishermen need to keep their fish alive?
Twenty-five years ago, and that would be in the 1940's and 50's, people in San Pedro absolutely wore no shoes. The sole of men's feet were so thick you would think that they could walk over burning coal. The feet were so thick and strong that the boys of San Pedro were teased that they could play football with coconuts. The feet of the men were generally wide, so wide that when they wanted to use shoes, their feet could not fit into the shoes.
If the beaches had not been reclaimed, that is, made wider and higher, the sight at the seaside would look deplorable. To get an idea of how wide our beaches used to be, I will take you for a walk at some well-known spots in town and you will see exactly what I mean when I say that our beaches have been eroding and still are.
Where have those millions of man o wars gone? Why do we not see them drifting aimlessly and gracefully over the reef, and bouncing up and down to the rhythm of the waves? Why do we not see these "aguamalas" lying on the beach, suddenly looking powerless and beginning to wilt and deflate and die?
Twenty five years ago, people did not only use garlic as a seasoning in food. It had a lot more uses than it is being used for nowadays. Ajo was commonly seen tied in bunches and hanging over the main door of a house or the main entrance of a store. It was believed that it had two important functions. First it brought good luck. Secondly, it kept out evil spirits or "la maldad" as it was commonly said. If you had a lot of bad luck coming into your house like sickness followed by death, or big expenses etc., don't worry.
Some of my recent topics on the suffering of "bascas" and the way to cure warts might have sound crazy, but a lot of people have remarked how true and effective they are. In fact a lot of friends have even confirmed to me names of dead persons that were helpful in getting rid of their warts. These past articles have led many people to give me other ideas of other crazy things that existed or occurred twenty five years ago.
Today people do not seem to be infected so much with those ugly warts. But today also people do not seem to have as many ways to get rid of them as we had twenty five years ago. A wart is a small hard lump on the skin, and twenty five years ago we hated to be near a person with warts. We thought it felt gross and looked weird. We thought it was contagious and could rub off on us. We had heard that if the wart bled, the blood that touched another person would cause him to catch the warts.
I bet you folks from the United States, and all the younger generation in San Pedro do not know of this one. How much do you want to lose? If you knew about it, call me and collect the bet. Have you heard the term "bascas'? This is a sickness that a man suffers along with his pregnant wife.
Has Carnival been a tradition twenty five years ago? Of course it has, and with quite some different twists too. Let's first talk about the "comparsas" or street dancing. Even though there was a population of only some 700 persons, there were about ten comparsas each day on the average. The dance groups ranged from five years of age to 8, 10, 14, teenagers, older girls, and the adult men. Some groups were all girls, others all boys and others were mixed.
Today fishermen and tourist guides talk about buying a Yamaha or an Evinrude outboard motor or debate whether they needed a 75 or 150 or 200 horsepower motor for their skiffs. Twenty five years the fishermen had to decide whether they would go to don Juan Verde, or Fredrick Henkis or Francisco Arceo for their sails.
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.
Who are the "matadors"? Were they the matadors that got into the bullring, played around with a flag and then finally killed the bull to the chanting of the public with "Ole!"? Were they killers who kidnapped you, took away your money and then killed you? None of the above. Twenty five years ago we had great "matadors" in San Pedro. They were the men who killed hogs and occasionally a bull and processed them for their meat. There were two qualities a matador had to have.
Twenty Five Years Ago would like to take you through a practice, almost an ordeal, that I am sure is not in use today, and that is the art of applying starch on the clothing.
At church this past Sunday Father Murray re-commissioned the Lay Ministers who are devoted in helping our parish here in San Pedro. The Reverend outlined their duties in the ministry like taking the communion to the sick and counseling those preparing for baptism and marriage. As he went through the duties he said that there have always been those dedicated to the church and have served in some way or the other. It was then and there that I remembered some folks who are now gone into eternal rest and who served the Lord through this church.
What do you do on a typical evening in San Pedro today? You watch some television program or you may go over to Mr. C's Sports Bar to watch some sports and play in the company of other friends. Perhaps you take your fiancé to a discotheque or out to a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant. There are those who lock themselves at Cholo's or Marino's, or Compadre's or any of the popular bars and drink or play pool. There are innumerable options, some of which I am not even aware of, not to mention going to illegal places to do the illegalities.
Why is it that 25 years ago it only took one police officer to have an effective curfew system, and today with twenty officers it does not work effectively? Why is it that in the past nobody even questioned the curfew? It was an automatic thing, and today everybody questions its legality, is form and its consequences? Were people more caring 25 years ago? Or was it that they were more naïve?
The next time you have a chance to admire a full moon, take a good look at the details on the surface of the moon. Take a look at the shadowy areas and notice the little boy with an axe raised in the air over his shoulders. Do you know how come that little boy got there? No, well let me tell you of this tale told 25 years ago.