Friday, November 19, 2010

Nostalgia and memories of Ray Auxillou in Belize.

By Ray Auxillou
I´m reading a book of an old man and his history in England. He explains the technological changes that happened in the late 1800’s in England before Queen Victoria died. Specifically he talked about the BOER war in which one of his son’s was blinded. This in turn jogged my childhood memories of talking to old veterans when I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. They were air raid wardens during the battle of Britain. At the time I lived in Grimsby, England. I had only the faintest idea of when the BOER WAR occurred, for at that time, all the talk had been of World War 1 and of course we were in the middle of World War 2 and waiting for Hitler to invade England. Still it does seem now to have been a long time ago, knowing veterans from the Boer War and of course veterans of World War 1 were very common. Most of which had been gassed and suffering from the gas attacks to their lungs.
This novel I´m reading, talks about the first automobiles, and one of his son’s was improving on an automobile he bought in Europe. He put springs on it, to lessen the bumps when going over country roads. The tires of the day were hard Malaysia rubber and it was only later that pneumatic tires came in being for new fangled bicycles. I learned to drive at age 12 or 13 in Canada on the farm. I used a model T Ford to bring in the milking cows from distant pastures. By age 14 I had graduated to my father´s second hand 1937 Buick. Which one time I got up over a 100 miles an hour, until the front end floated and you lost control of the steering.
Which jumped me ahead in my own childhood reminisces to the days in Southern Ontario, Canada, living on the farm and my memories of that must have been around the age of 11 or 12 years of age. I remember being very proud of driving a four horse team with either oats or wheat up the hill into the high barn favored at that time. I had to lash the horses in order to get the loaded wagon up the incline and duck my head from the overhead door beam, as horses and wagon went galloping, or trying to gallop into the dark interior of the tall barn. The tricky part was to avoid hitting the other planked side of the barn and get the horses and wagon stopped. Off to the side was a threshing machine, run by a leather belt, like the system used for the Co-ordinated dockyard machine shop in Belize City during the 1960´s and 70´s. I believe the driving force for the leather belt was an ancient tractor, and the belt ran off a flywheel on the side.
I remember as a farm kid leaving home on the farm ( a one room cabin ) about 3 a.m. in the morning, and walking to the nearest town of WOODSTOCK, down the 10 miles of railway track. Took me about an hour and a half or so. The idea being that I would go to the movies on the Saturday and see films like Gene Autry, Lash LaRue, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and other Hollywood stars. I would arrive before daylight in Woodstock and hide in the upper loft of the dairy barn, with the horses down below in their stalls. I would bury into the hay pile stored upstairs so the owners would not find me. The horses were used to deliver milk bottles by horse and wagon every morning around the city. There was a morning movie I used to go to.
Which brings up another memory of childhood of going to the GRIMSBY docks in England and scraping up peanuts from barges moored alongside the quay, that had been towed all the way by tugboat from West Africa. There in the mornings in Grimsby at around 6 or 7 years old, my favorite movie was TARZAN movies with Johnny Weismuller an OLYMPIC swimmer, with gorillas and elephants running wild. There has never been a movie so good as TARZAN movies since then to my mind. Other childhood movies were the black and white comic type, with slapstick comedy, while the pianist at the foot of the screen played the piano with appropriate music to accompany the silent films. I remember the other kind of movie machines at SKEGSNEST on the coast, in a beach park. You cranked a handle and cards flipped around and the characters on the cards made it seem live and real. I believe one of my uncles had the movie house in Grimsby. I still remember my street address to this very day, from being 6 or 7 years old. 44 Tasburgh street, in Grimsby. My mother made sure I knew how to take the bus and get home.
History was always one of my favorite school subjects. Yet I failed the exams year after year all the way into High School. I could remember the great sweep of history, but not dates, famous people, or years of battles. I got caned often by the teacher with a thin bamboo cane, six on each hand in the England of the time, for failing my history lessons. The caning never helped me learn though.
While the boxer rebellion in China in which one of this novels historical now adventure, happened to the man writing this book. Or at least a daughter lost her husband to the BOXERS. He was a medical missionary and got decapitated. The Chinese boxer rebellion just prior to the BOER WAR, or about the same time, was done by radicals in China who wanted to return China to the ancient culture. They tried to drive all the foreign legations and missionaries out of China. The rebellion started in the Spring and crept North starting from the province of Honan and West from Shensi and Kamsu. Finally arriving in the siege of Bejing. In learning from history, we can draw some lessons. This is basically the same thing happening with Al Queida and the Taliban, or the Castro brothers dictatorship in Cuba, or in Bolivia. What we have is an attempt to freeze the technological effects of change that continues to sweep the world. In Belize, we can learn some lessons from history. Only by staying on the forefront of technological change can Belize afford to live the good life. Since the days of the Bronze sword, which got replaced by chariots and the iron sword, to the MAXIM gun of the BOER WAR and World War 1; change has defined the success or failure of nation’s to adapt and give the good life to the people living there. Change and technology is here to stay and is as constant as the weather. You can deny neither, at your peril. The effects of technological change will probably be destroyed when the next Ice Age starts, about 450 years from now if I have it figured right. Then we will all who survive the change, will return to hunter gatherer life styles with no technology at all.
Foremost for change in Belize is the need to see the high speed and good internet bandwidth continue to penetrate the Belizean hinterland rural parts. For if history is any judge, or lesson, advances in producing and exporting will come from the rural districts and villages and farms of Belize. Not from the district towns. The internet is the new UNIVERSITY. You can almost find any teaching video under the sun on the internet. Things that once would have taken a 5 year University degree to learn. If then! My wife over the past year continues to learn many new weaving methods. She is teaching herself by buying online books and watching the videos. She has become an expert in the backstrap loom particularly and favors the pebble weave method. I have taught myself in the last 1 1/2 years, how to create a hedge fund and operate same. Hopefully over the years ahead, with an annual return of 30% to 100% thereabouts. We both have learned some neat guitar strumming and picking fingering, that once would have been impossible to learn from a remote place like Belize.
The internet, history teaches us; is crucial to the world change going on and to compete and survive and advance, we cannot be without it. I have a lot more old man’s memories, but what we learn is CHANGE is constant.

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