25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
It is funny how big and small change from the past and today. The things that were big in the past are many times small today and those things that were small are now pretty large. I do not know the reasons, but check out a few examples.
Lobsters in the past were pretty large. It was very common to see some huge lobsters, so huge that you would think that I am exaggerating. A lobster tail weighed as much as three pounds. To get an idea of this it measured about one twelve inches long by five to six inches wide. There was no way you could eat one of those lobster tails by yourself. The whole lobster was pretty tall. If you held it by the antennas the tail would touch the ground and the antennas would be as high as a man’s head. Fishermen used to joke that when you caught one of those with a hook stick you had to fight to bring it up to the surface and when you saw them in the caves underwater, at times instead of being happy you were scared. Today lobster tails are quite smaller. Very seldom do you see a one pound tail. In fact today the small lobster tails, those below four ounces are the favorites.
Another thing that was large in the past were lots or yards. A typical lot measured one hundred by one hundred. Many parents allowed their children to build their homes in the same yard and there was still yard space or a patio as it is commonly called. I know of some cases where even three houses were built in lot. For example, Tortilleria El Patio, the store beside it, and Lourdes Store are today in three separate lots. In the 1950’s it was one lot belonging to my grandfather the late Cruz Nuñez. He then allowed his son Wally to build on one side and the other son, Luis Nuñez to build on the other side. Eventually the lot was divided into three lots. Got an idea of how large the lots were? I’ll give you another example. The Sea Turtle Gift Shop and the house next to it where Traveler’s Bar is located all belonged to one owner, Guillermo Nunez Sr. (deceased). He allowed his brother Rafael Nuñez to build beside him when hurricane Hattie destroyed his house by the beach. And what about today, how small are the lots. Well you know that story. At times you can hardly fit a good sized house in one lot.
|Central Park beach area was twice as long 25 yrs ago
Now let’s look at people. Culturally speaking, the Mestizo Sanpedranos of the past were quite small in stature. Five feet was a common height and considered an accomplishment. It has been speculated that the rigid menu of fish only and corn tortillas, with no vegetables, little milk and little meat (except for manatee meat) contributed to this small stature. Today young boys and girls are quite tall. A girl easily reaches 5 feet six inches and many young men are easily six feet tall. Whatever caused this change in height, it seems that now genetically the new generation is a taller generation of people.
Let’s look at beaches. Yes, they were very wide and for that matter large beaches. An example is the area by the police station. In front of the police station, there was the primary school, then a large expanse of yard and then a wide beach area. I would say that the seashore line in that area was about one hundred feet far out at sea now. Yes, our beaches have gotten smaller or narrower today, and it has been definitely caused by sea and wind erosion. We now clean the beaches of seaweeds and that allows for wind erosion. If the beaches were left dirty with sea weeds, the waves would pile more sand on top of it and bury it and consequently the beach would grow. We can’t do that due to tourism because we need clean and attractive beaches.
Hey, families of the past were large and have definitely reduced in numbers. A typical family was at least eight or ten person. To have six children was common, and there were families of ten or twelve. My grandmother, for example had ten boys and got her girl at the last attempt, but that made it a total of eleven. Today two children seems like the quota. Many young married couples only want one or two. If they get a boy and a girl, it is an immediate halt to having children. I believe that in the past, ignorance caused our ancestors to have many children for they did not know any methods of conception control or birth control. Today with condoms, and contraceptive pills and so many other devices, couples can easily keep them down and still enjoy sex. In the past, to enjoy sex meant a possible child.
So there you have it folks, you can study a few more cases where large 25 years ago is now small and where small is now large. “Small but now large” is a bit more difficult to come up with.