25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
People seem to have a special interest in the life of 25 years ago that reflect some degree of hardship like the making of shampoo water, tortillas and preparing a chicken for a dish. Well, here is another one and it has to do with the cleaning of the house on Saturdays.
Most of the house cleaning today is done on Saturdays when one is off from regular work. And so it was 25 years ago when mom could get the children to help. Today it involves regular chores like shining the kitchen sink, the tub, mopping and polishing the furniture or vacuuming the furniture. Fortunately there was sink to shine 25 years ago for a simple metal or plastic pan was used and there was no tub either. Here is what had to be done.
On Saturdays mom wanted the floor cleaned, sanded, and spotless. I am talking about plain wooden floors. Some of them had a piece of linoleum or marly but most of them did not. To clean the floor we used a piece of skin of a ray, either the manta ray or the spotted ray, but in Spanish it was called "lebiza". The skin of this ray is rough like sand paper, so it was cut by dad whenever he caught one and it was put to dry in the sun. When properly dried, it was stiff and rough like sandpaper. This lebiza was used to scrub the floor from corner to corner and then rinsed with buckets of soapy water. This took several hours of scrubbing on one's knees. As you can imagine, nobody lived downstairs for this required a lot of water and it poured downstairs like rain. As a matter of fact, dad would usually complain of this procedure for it tended to rot the floor, but as far as mom was concerned, this was the one and only way to really clean the floor.
Other things that were cleaned using the lebiza were the dining table, the shelves and any part of the house that got dirty or covered with moss or mildew. The lebiza was a sure remedy to remove all dirty spots 25 years ago.