Tuesday, November 3, 2015

La Cubana Verdadera

It was in Miami, 1961. Maria Elena Prio, was beyond beautiful to me. Her family had been exiled not once, but three times from Cuba, twice by Batista, in 1952 and then again in 1956, and, after they returned again, Castro booted them out for good in 1959. They finally settled in Miami Beach. 

I was too young, too naive, to understand she came fleeing from anyone. I couldn't think about anything else other than her for a too-short 1950-60s adolescent eternity. She was my world. An inveterate vinyl collector even then, I brought my very first LP album to her birthday party. The Ventures played, and as I dropped the needle on the platter on her back veranda, the world stopped as we danced to Walk, Don’t Run. For me, that was an anthem to the future.

Miami is another country now, only you don’t need a passport to get in. I found out only this year that Maria’s father had taken his own life years ago, according to reports. That news was very hard to take, even after all these years. I finally mustered the courage and talked to her a few months ago. It was very good for my spirit. Maria took law to be her life's work.

Maria’s dad was the last elected president in modern Cuban history. I didn't know all that in 1961. We were in puppy love; at least I knew I was. Maria didn't know what the future would bring any more than I. We were far too young; what else need be said? Batista pushed the Prio family out of Cuba and later the Castro came in to push them out again. That part we all know about. The rest, as they say, is history. People get lost in it. But as often happens, and for some it takes decades, reality sets in, and only the love endures.

No comments:

Post a Comment