Girlhood Interrupted

In March of 1962 I came to this country as part of the Pedro Pan airlift.  Many people don’t know about the airlift, but more than fourteen thousand Cuban children were sent to the U.S. from Cuba, alone, because their parents feared they would be indoctrinated into Communism.

Our exile was a silent one, devoid of dramatic pictures of mothers handing their little ones to American soldiers getting ready to board helicopters, but it was no less heart wrenching.  Some children were able to reunite with their parents when they were eventually allowed to leave Cuba.  Some never saw their parents again.

It has been a half a century since my girlhood was interrupted by revolution and exile.  I have been absorbed into the American mainstream and made a life for myself.  But despite my integration into this society, that Cuban girl still lives and Cuba still hurts.

I hope to share with you some of the stories of my past and my present and hope that through this blog you will see the old Cuba, the Cuba before it was shattered by a Revolution that promised justice and free elections but offered instead repression and a dictator that has ruled for the last fifty years without free elections.  I will talk about that and about exile, about being a Pedro Pan, about my experiences in this country, and about my very improbable collaboration with a nephew of Ché Guevara on his own memoir, The Haunting of Martín Guevara.   I hope you will join me on this journey.

Adrianne

10 comments

  1. I remember you at the Ursulinas de Miramar, that last year, before the Revolution decided to close all of Cuba’s private schools. I remember that year as the year when I lost all my friends – either because they left for exile, or simply because at the end when the school closed, I lost touch with the few that were still left in Havana. After reading your blog I harbor the hope that what I have considered as the year of Friendships Lost, was really the year of Friendships Interrupted, that now, nearly fifty years later, may be rekindled again.

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    1. Elena, that was the year I went home one day knowing that all my ties to my beloved friends had been severed. My heart never recovered, and it never forgot. It is my hope too, having now experienced two reunions with friends I lost fifty years ago, that these friendships will indeed be rekindled and that they will blossom. We are finding each other slowly. And we are finding our voices. I will never forget when it was all coming to an end, the closeness that we shared. We are bonded by an uncommon experience. We were there at the beginning of our lives, and now we are being brought together to be there as we approach the end. How lucky we are to behold each other, and how fun to find the girls behind the wrinkled faces….I can’t wait to see you. Soon.

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  2. Adriana:
    I will certainly join you on your journey.

    And congratulations on this beautiful page:

    …” it is a question of gratitude, I am a million times grateful to this country that has provided me the opportunity to live a life of freedom. But when I close my eyes and remember the clear blue ocean where I learned to swim, the incredible sights, sounds and smells of my beautiful island, its music and its people, I feel Cuban to the bone. In those moments I am definitely a Cuban American. An exile from paradise”…

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  3. Adrianne I am crying as I read this. I came in 1960, already 24 yrs old, had a one year old son that I did not want to relinquish to communist indoctrination so my husband and I decided it was time to go before it got worst. There were many hard times, but I am very grateful this country opened its arms to our people and specially to all the children that came in on the Pedro Pan airlift. I am like Dulcita says Cuban American but like her still feel Cuban to last bone of my body. Thanks for what you are doing, will love to keep hearing from you on your blog.

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    1. Thank you Celina. How brave you were to come here with your baby so young! And what a beautiful gift to your child who has been able to grow up in freedom. For most of us Pedro Pans there was no choice involved. You made a conscious choice and took a leap of faith on behalf of your child. Thank you so much for sharing your story! And thank you for gracing my blog.

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  4. I have to stick to Cuban American. We had enchanting childhoods, in a beautiful country now destroyed by an egotistical communist dictator…but the “seeds” of our heritage are strong.

    Long live the USA, we’re american citizens and will always support a democratic way of life, but our hearts & minds hold memories that cannot be erased.

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