From Marta. With Love. (MBFCF Giveaway #6)

First, I want to thank you all for your extraordinary participation and engagement this past week as I celebrate my 6th year in the land of Blogging.

Today, I want to share some of my own memories of “Cuando Sali de Cuba.”


The times that I remember the most from my childhood, come to me in the form of grainy super-8 film and fading snapshots. They are mostly family and beloved objects; things that any five-year-old might keep in an old and slightly torn shoe box. They are old and oh-so-faded. Not much value outside of my own little life.

Varadero 1958
left to right: Miriam, Marta (me!), Alina. Varadero, 1957.

My most vivid memories of “aquel entonces,” which I've often written about in this space, are of our summers spent at the beach in Varadero, Cuba.

The summers in Havana, you see, were brutally hot. So we summered (<--is that a word?) in Varadero. The most beautiful beach in the world. According to my mom, Luza, it's where I took my very first steps in the summer of 1956.

We have home movies of those precious times. And photographs. I am guessing that because it was such a carefree era in our lives, there was plenty of time to stop and capture the everyday. My dad and uncle with their cameras following us little girls in our Catalina swimsuits as we splashed around in the azure surf eating mamoncillos.

The cousins would spend the summers with us. We all got to choose our “salvavidas,” (translation: “lifesavers”) which in retrospect is some sort of cruel joke. People, I had an inflatable duck that was supposed to be a life-saving device. What delicious innocence.

Varadero 1960

left to right: Alina, Ferdy, Maria-Elvira, Ileana, Miriam, Marta (me!). Varadero 1960.

I can still taste the warm salt water. I remember chasing the bright red crabs along the beach. I remember the agony of having to follow The 3-Hour Rule, which stated that you could not go swimming after eating until you had waited 3 hours for your digestion to be completed. (Cuban child abuse.)

The nostalgia of these sweet moments is vivid. My sisters and I disagree on the memories at times. We will argue, as only Cuban sisters can. They insist I was too young to remember anything. I describe something from that time that I can recall with great detail. They act surprised. It's a complicated and familiar dance we do, tripping through the recollections of what was once an idylic childhood.

I write down what I can remember here on this blog. I write about yesterday and today and my hopes for tomorrow. I share my stories. I share your stories. And I've been doing it in this space, with your encouragement, for 6 years now. (And today just happens to be the 6th. Coincidence? I think not.)

Speaking of 6 years...I celebrated my 6th birthday here in the U.S. - No more Varadero summers for us. The remembrances of holidays spent at the most beautiful beach in the world have all but faded, but they have never completely diminished.

Life was good. Then we lost everything. Then we found the good again. It's the circle of life.


MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway #6:  

A Varadero Sign (handpainted by yours truly)

That's right. A hand-painted-by-me (shut up. I know!) Varadero Sign. (It's wooden. About 18 inches long and suitable for hanging. I have a plan to open an Etsy shop very soon. Today is not that day, but that's not important right now.)

Painted in aqua with the name of The Most Beautiful Beach in the World: Varadero.


Please leave a comment on this post for a chance to win this beautiful hand-painted Varadero sign (by me, people!). Answer one or all of the following questions:  

  • Is there a particular place that dominates your childhood memories?
  • Do any of you have memories of Varadero?
  • Were you forced to follow The 3 Hour Rule?

I'll choose a winner at the end of MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway Week on Monday, October 8th, 2012 at 11 am.