After all the acts of violence we have witnessed in this country and abroad, I decided to dedicate my blog for the next two months to messages of love and gratitude. So, I asked my friend Carmen Teresa Zamora to write a tribute to her parents. Her message will put a smile to your face and also break your heart.
I was asked by my friend Lorenzo Martinez to share my feelings and story about the separation from family when I left Cuba. Mine is one of a thousand stories of the 14,000+ Pedro Pan kids whose parents had the valor and selflessness to send their most prized possession to this country in order to escape communism.
My parents divorced when I was a little girl but my father was always a constant presence in my life and my brother’s. The night before my departure, I went to his house to say “adiós.” I was 14 years old. At the time little did I know it was to be the last time I would ever see my daddy.
He tried to be brave and put up a good front but I could see the suffering in his face. As I was leaving, I turned around and his pained face is forever seared in my mind (he did not go to the airport to see me off). As I’ve said before, my dad was and always will be the first man I loved and the only man who has loved me unconditionally.
My mother went alone with me to the airport and I remember seeing her through the “pecera” (the glass enclosure that separated travelers from family) crying, and as I was boarding the plane, I looked back to see if I could make her out in the crowd but, of course, it was impossible.
It took her 4 years to leave the island after many humiliations and detentions and having to go thru the pain of leaving my brother behind (he was of military age; Castro would not let him out). She worked very hard here holding 2 jobs, walking thru mounds of snow to catch a bus. She’s 98 years old and lives with me and I take care of her.
I never saw my father again. He passed away in 1977 with the sorrow in his heart of never seeing me again.
My parents are my heroes. Thank you for your love and sacrifice to ensure I had a life of freedom, opportunity and happiness.
I love you both with all my heart.
And thank you to this country, my country, my son’s and grandson’s country, for accepting and adopting me.
God Bless America
If you have a message of gratitude you’d like to post on my blog, please contact Lorenzo Martinez at