This was on my desk this morning. Eric found it last night.
(It used to reside on the back of my old Toyota Corolla. )
Last night Amy, Adam and I went to see a play called ‘Sonia Flew’ at the Laguna Playhouse. It was a complex story of a young man wanting to go to war shortly after 9/11. His mother, Sonia had been sent to America after the revolution began in Cuba. She made a life for herself in America and had stuffed her painful past, but it still colored all her decisions and her reactions. Particularly as it concerned her own children. Read more about it here.
This morning I woke up with the residual emotions that one might expect as a result of a difficult time of one’s life being re-enacted on a stage. It rendered me a bit mute.
Then here was a reminder that I (at least sometime in the past) considered myself a "smart Cuban." It was originally supposed to be a play on my name, Marta. (thus the "mrt"). The "qbn" should be obvious to anyone who can make phonetic sounds.
I happen to also be a "smart aleck." Anyone who has known me for more than a few minutes knows my irreverence to be legendary. When I say a "smart remark," there’s really no evidence of intelligence involved. "Smart" – it fits.
At least I thought it did. It occured to me much later that perhaps it sounded a bit conceited. Like I was feeling superior to the rest of the world, because, after all… I was ADVERTISING on the back of my car that I was smart. They don’t call these ‘vanity plates’ for nothing. =D
But I digress…
The silly license plate really speaks more of my pride in being Cuban, not of my mental abilities.
Unlike the character of Sonia in the play, I wear my Cuban-ness as a badge of honor. But much like her, every opinion I have and the way I conduct my life today is colored by the events that impacted my childhood back in 1961. I imagine it is that way for most Cuban-Americans. Amy pointed out that I got the plate in February. The anniversary of our arrival on U.S. soil. February 14th, 1961, to be exact. Valentine’s Day. The Holiday of the Heart. I had a quick shiver go through me.
I’m not planning to move back to Havana when the dictator falls or anything. My life is here. In Southern California. And it’s a good life. Not pain-free. Not easy. But really good. I would love to see freedom and democracy come to the land of my birth. But more than that, I want to see my own kids prosper. I want them to be educated, decent human beings. I want them to know and fear God. I want them to be good citizens. I want them to be proud of their Cuban roots.
I just want them to grow up to be "smart Cubans." 😉