By Angel Nuñez
I recall with much fun how we used to make a lot of gadgets simply because it was cheaper and because at times they were not available on the island. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in the 1950 was a practical example.

Popsicles- these delicious homemade fruit drinks with lots of milk were made so frequently twenty five years ago. I had a craving for some the other day and this made me recollect on the many things we used to fabricate in the past.

The first things we used to fabricate were metal cups. We did not have these fancy tin can openers, so after opening the can with a knife we used to pound the sharp edges with a small hammer and this made an excellent cup. The condensed milk tin cans and the evaporated milk cans were really thick and considered excellent long lasting cups. Oh yes, I remember my mom serving me my hot breakfast tea in my tin can cup. The only thing about it was that it got really hot.

Now let me go and make some strawberry popsicles which you can try. The ingredients are a pint of red Fanta, one can sugar corn, one can condensed milk, evaporated milk if you wish. Mix all together, place in an ice tray, and place it in the freezer. Only the few fortunate families who had a refrigerator could make popsicles, of course. My dad got his kerosene refrigerator around 1960 and we were fortunate to save it from being destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961.

Back then, just like today, we needed brooms to sweep the yard and inside the house. First we used to make the brooms for the patio. For this we used the hard bristle-like stems from which the coconuts hang on the tree. They were fastened together with string or wire and then tied to a stick. There is your perfect broom to sweet your yard. To make the broom to sweep inside the house we needed a softer material. For this the palm leaves of the palmetto palm were bundled together and fastened onto a stick. These were not very long lasting, perhaps only two or three months, but palmetto leaves abounded on the island. Trust me brooms were never imported on the island; we used to make our own brooms.

Another gadget we used to fabricate was a container to keep the tortillas nice and tender and warm. This was made by digging out the inside of a pumpkin, leaving you with the hard shell with a round hole on the top. A piece of cloth inside the “leck”, and your tortillas remained hot for the rest of the day. I guess “leck” was its Mayan name.

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