This is my golden ticket.
In 1961, it cost $21.60 for the 1/2 fare for children to fly the 90 miles from Havana to Miami.
It’s not lost on me that I can easily spend more than that to feed my family at McDonald’s.
And that the distance is about roughly from here to San Diego.
I don’t know if it is because we spent the first few years in exile talking about when we would return to our home in Cuba. I don’t know if it is that we left home and family and beloved places without much warning or planning.
But not a day goes by that I’m not aware of a longing for the land of my birth. I fill it with the music and the food, and of course, I scrapbook, and I write. I am happy to be connected to an amazing Cuban community online here, here, and here.
Before anything else that I am, I am first and foremost Cuban. And I celebrate that every day.
The back of the ticket shows the foreign destinations where Cubana de Aviacion flew. As I look at the map, I realize it is almost prophetic in showing all the distant places in the world where Cubans have ended up – 90 miles away and further.
When we encounter other Cubans wherever we are, there’s always a sweet recognition.
Then comes the interview: “Where are you from? How long have you been here? Do you still have family there?”
“Havana. 48 years. Yes.”
My daughter, Amy did the video. The music is by Celia Cruz. (It’s like a Cuban version of leaving your heart in San Francisco.) It is my family. Before the revolution. That is how time is measured by Cubans. The beach is Varadero. I am the little one with the big red bow. Enjoy.
“Cuando sali de Cuba, deje enterrado mi corazon.”