Close your eyes and go back,
Before the Internet or the MAC,
Before semi-automatics and crack,
Before Hattieville Ramada,
and all the problems with Guatemala,
Before SEGA or Super Nintendo
when life was simple and air conditioning was your open window.
Go way, way back.
I’m talking bout playing hide and seek at dusk, sitting on the veranda, eating hot Creole bread and butter. Seferino, Eustace Usher and Everal Waight on Radio Belize. Red light, Green light (those are games, we had no traffic lights in Belize).
Powder milk (AKA Klim) and a potted meat sandwich for lunch was dandy.
Kottobrute, tableta, stretch-mi-guts, wangla and goatshit for candy.
Boil corn and ducuno from Fullmoon Bevas on Hydes Lane. Macobi (pepitos) seeds from Bredda Roy or Don Marin at Holy Redeemer.
Playing caparuche or gamma in the neighbour’s yard,
Hopscotch, marbles, Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Jacks, cricket,
Mother May I, Say, Say, Say and Ring around A Roses.
Hula Hoops and racing bicycle rims.
Bradley’s lemonade (all flavours were lemonade) and 2 panades for 5 cents.
Dit’s meat pies (1 for 5) and Happy Hour’s cowfoot soup (only 35 cents).
Black shoe polish on mustache to get into Eden, Majestic, or Palace,
Crossing kinnel iron, a nude dip at barracks. The smell of the sun and lickin’ salty lips.
10:30 Sunday morning matinee, Superman, The Three Stooges and Bugs. Back further, listening to Reverend Matthew and Chichi on the radio. Catching needle cases (never knew their real names) off the clothes line.
Making your own kites with kite paper from Angelus Press and flour paste.
Making sure roaches wouldn’t eat your kite by putting kerosene in the paste.
Playing sling shot or using rubber bands with orange peeling to sting maclala.
Remember when walking from New Road to New Market seemed far away? And going downtown on Albert Street seemed like going somewhere?
Ghost stories at bedtime, climbing trees, gathering black berries and mangoes.
An ice cream cone from one-eye Malick on a hot summer day,
Tutti-Frutti, Sour Sap or maybe Sugar Corn. You found his other eye, you say? A burger and coke from Shamah’s drug store on Queen Street.
A million mosquito bites, flit, fish (for mosquitoes) and sleeping under nets.
Kerosene lamps, gas lamps and candles. Etnas (one-holed kerosene stoves), chamber pots and the good old white bucket. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, playing house (oooh, I liked that).
Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott, when all leading actors were “the bwai”,
Sittin on the fence whistling at girls passing by. Sliding down the rail of the steps, catching a splinter in your ass.
Jumping on the bed (if you had one) and pillow fights.
Running from Catate and Dilo till you were out of breath. And laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Being tired just from playing. Remember that?
I’m not finished just yet.
Eating Klim with sugar, kawsham too.
The sneakers at Bata for girls and boys were called puss?
And you were ashamed to wear them at school ‘cause they only cost a dollar?
When it took five minutes for the transistor radio to warm up?
And you listened to championship fights and that was fun? When nearly everyone’s Mom was at home when the kids got there?
When every kid owned some type of dog? And how you cried when they poisoned yours?
When five cents was a decent allowance, and 10 cents a miracle?
When Saldivar bread went up 2 cents and everyone talked about it for weeks? When you lined up outside Jail at 5:00 AM for hot jail bread? When you’d reach into a stinking, muddy drain for a penny?
When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school? When girls wore crinoline to church every Sunday?
And your clothes were always clean and pressed, even though you didn’t have many? And we’d all have to be at the 8:30 am mass on Sunday, or else?
When you got brawta from the grocery store regardless of how much you bought? And 12 cents American cheese and a pack bread fed a family of 8? When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box? When any parent could whap any kid and nobody, not even the kid, gave it any thought?
When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited you at home? When you wore two or more pairs of short pants under your long pants to ease the sting from that sash cord or tambran whip from one of your male teachers?
When we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive- by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc? When our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat? When you didn’t dare talk back to your parents, at least not to their face?
Didn’t that feel good? Just to go back and say, yeah, I remember that! There’s nothing like the good old days! They were good then, and they’re good now when we think about them.
Share some of these thoughts with a friend who can relate, then share it with someone who missed out on them.
Can you remember when …
Close your eyes and go back,