Marta here: I have more stories than I could fit into just one month. I am going to share them once a week. Thank you all for having the courage to share the details of the most difficult time in your life. Today's story comes from Ada. Being able to leave Cuba after just having had surgery was worth the risk.
by Ada Owens
My mom, my dad, my two brothers and I left Cuba when I was just 4 years old.
It was not our time to go, as we were nowhere near the number that was to be called next, but the government got a hold of the fact that my father had just been operated on. They decided to give us our number then, because since they only give you three to four days to prepare to leave, and they figured we would have to stay given my father’s condition.
Once the police officer on the motorcycle left our house after giving my mom the news, she immediately went to the hospital to inform my dad. To her surprise, he said “Get everything ready; we’re leaving.” He had to sign a paper given to him by the doctor saying that he was leaving on his own free will and that he understood that due to the altitude on the plane, he could hemorrhage. He had his deviated septum operated on, so he had to fly with his head tilted back the entire flight.
Thank God he was ok.
We lived in Puerto Rico for a year with relatives then moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi where I lived for the next 17 years. After that I moved to Miami Lakes. I now reside in Tampa with my husband and two children. I often think about how different (and bad) my life would have been had my parents decided to stay and commend my parents for their bravery.
Thanks for the chance to tell my story.
Ada Maria says
Beautiful post Ada, I was thinking of becoming a contributor but 1st I need to find a name to use as mine is taken lol – <3 Ada Maria
ada owens says
Looking forward to reading your story! Good luck finding a name! You can actually take mine, I’ve never liked it…:)
Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
you have made your family proud Ada and proven to them and others that taking the difficult and relatively unknown path is worth it. Praise God for family, gayle
Wonderful story and website. I too came to this wonderful country in 1961, at 3 years, 11 months old.I am always intrigued by how different people (families, entire ethnic communities, etc) ended up where they are. Maybe you have answered my following question on your blog already and I simply haven’t seen it. I get Puerto Rico, Miami Lakes & Tampa, but Hattiesburg, Mississippi really peaks my curiosity (my family lived in Houma, La for two years before settling in Palm Beach County where I have lived since 1963). Have you covered this topic somewhere in your blog?
Keep doing this, please. I love your 100% Cuban & 100% American comment about living in the hyphen of Cuban-American. If you don’t mind, I think I will “steal” it. I feel that way and yet have always had a nagging thought that I don’t entirely fit either. I speak English like an American and am an unabashed, grateful fan of the USA – its flag is flying in front of my home as I type (Cuba is my homeland, the USA is my country). Yet I wasn’t born here and my parents took approximately 10 years to realize this wasn’t going to end in 6 months… I think and live a little different from those born here.
On the other hand, I have a Cuban soul, taught myself how to read and write Spanish as a young boy and will forever be Cuban (as are my kids), even though I am a proud American. I speak Spanish like a native but do not have a single memory of my homeland, even when watching the few home movies brought over, and have never gone back. Through the years I have realized there were phrases, customs, words, points of views, etc, that I used correctly and understood only because they were “memorized.” I didn’t truly understand where they came from or how they came to be. Sometimes I feel ashamed about this “cuando me caigo de la mata” and realize my ignorance. So I’m not exactly like those that “lived” there and remember it. As an example, my wife left Cuba at the age of 12, lived in Mexico City for a few months and arrived here at 13. She has been here for 44 of her 57 years and yet we both know I am more “American” than she is.
Wow, I got started and then rambled. Consider it a VERY long “Thank You!”