My nuclear family—father, mother, little brother, and I—came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1961. We left behind what had been a pretty comfortable lifestyle—until the Castro takeover, that is. With communism we lost not just property, businesses, and that known and comfortable lifestyle. A greater loss was the loss of our inalienable rights—FREEDOM, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM TO CONGREGATE and so much more. So we came with nothing more than two duffle bags (they could hold more than suitcases) and started our lives over.
Starting over of course presented many challenges that were actually weathered quite well by my parents, so the transition for my little brother and me wasn’t as traumatic as one would expect.
One of those challenges was my father’s job. Where he had been a young, established professional with many friends and contacts that extended to the U.S., he now was a technician, an entry-level job in the industry where he had owned several businesses. We were thankful for the job, given to him by an industry associate who had become a good friend. And that is how/why we came to settle in Columbus, Ohio. He came to Columbus first, leaving the three of us in New York City—our point of entry into the U.S.—and he stayed in this gentleman’s and his wife’s house until he found “a place” at the YMCA. With the help of this couple and their friends our family was reunited in a tiny but new and cute apartment. This little girl remembers that the window sill of the large picture window was lined with African violets. To this day, I love African violets.
But I digress. The new job required that my father service the eastern part of Ohio, which meant overnight stays, and the need for a small suitcase. We came with duffle bags, remember?
In my recent post about our furniture rearranging (HERE) we’d moved my MIL’s writing desk to a spot in the great room~
It was in such a sorry state…
So I turned to my ol’ reliables—first E6000 glue to try to salvage some of the cracked and dried leather that had come loose, then Rustic Touch, to revive the leather itself.
And now the suitcase is once again serving a purpose—as decoration in our home. I’m very happy about that! :)
This little suitcase represents a lot of important things about our family: The courage to leave the known life for the unknown; the courage to seek freedom; the courage to start over, putting pride aside; the courage to maneuver through the challenges of learning a new language. It’s an important memento in our family.
Those weren’t unhappy times for our family; we were very grateful for the freedom, for the open arms with which we were welcomed and helped. And the story of the suitcase has a happy ending~~~my dad was able to buy the business from his friend and create success in his/our new country. Dad’s been gone many years now, but the business still remains in the family.
A bit more about our departure:
Did you see the Ben Affleck movie Argo? According to npr.org, “the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians….Mendez and one of the American diplomats say those hours at the airport were plenty tense.”
Our family’s hours at the airport were plenty tense too. I can’t begin to imagine the stress my parents and the family members who were outside the glassed waiting area to see us off (hopefully) were under, because my parents were traveling with children—little children! Being the older of the two, they decided I would travel with my father, and my little brother with my mother, but via separate airlines, in an effort to disguise the fact that we were all leaving/escaping. Can you imagine keeping a 5-year-old from wanting to walk across the room to play with his sister or sit with his father?! We now have a 5-year-old grandbaby…I.can’t.imagine….
I think Ben Affleck needs to hear our story, don’t you? :)
What family pieces are precious to you, and how do you use or display them? I’d love to read your stories.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you’ll leave me a comment to let me know you were here—I read every single one of them! And if you like what you see a lot, maybe you’d like to Google+ this post or pin it on Pinterest too! Thank you!
I invite you to follow me. If you’ll let me know that you’re following, I’ll be sure to follow you back.
Mop it Up Monday at http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com
Metamorphosis Monday at http://betweennapsontheporch.net/
Masterpiece Monday at http://boogieboardcottage.blogspot.com/
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com
Tuesday’s Treasures http://www.myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com/
Wow Us Wednesdays at http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/
Wednesdays at Ivy and Elephants: http://ivyandelephants.blogspot.com
DIY by Design Party at http://diybydesign.blogspot.com/
What's It Wednesday at http://ivyandelephants.blogspot.com/
Home and Garden Thursday at http://blissfulrhythm.blogspot.com/
Open House Party Thursday at http://nominimalisthere.blogspot.com
Transformation Thursdays at http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com/
Feathered Nest Friday at http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/
Home Sweet Home Fridays at http://thecharmofhome.blogspot.com/
Inspiration Friday at http://www.atthepicketfence.com
Thrifty Things Friday at http://thethriftygroove.blogspot.com/
Vintage Inspiration Friday at http://commonground-debrasvintagedesigns.blogspot.com/
Show and Tell Friday at http://romantichome.blogspot.com/
From my nest to yours, ~Zuni