Coming to America

Sometimes, my mind will drift back to the 1950s. What an exciting time! We were in Cuba and it was during the time Castro was fighting Batista. At first, my father was happy Castro prevailed, but then we fled. He tried talking his parents into coming with us, but in true older Cuban fashion, my grandfather said that dictators come and go, but the island stays forever. He believed life would return to normal.

Afterward, my parents divorced and my mother settled in Tampa where her brother lived. He and his wife, George, allowed us to stay with him while my mother bought a house in the same neighborhood two streets down, one block over. (My Aunt George was the fifth of an all-girl family and her father said he would name the last baby after himself –          regardless!)

I can vividly remember watching TV at his house for the very first time in my life.

One show I really liked was about three funny men who were always getting into trouble. The Three Stooges quickly became one of my favorites. Right after The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals aired. I liked it, too, because the kids were about my age. Then there was the show that quickly became my favorite. It was about a dizzy redhead who was married to a Cuban – I Love Lucy.

In this show, I could see my family. My mom was an American and my father was a Cuban. When I went off to grade school, I really believed it was the way of the world. I knew all families everywhere had to consist of a Cuban father and an American mom. It was only natural. After all, they had a television show depicting this natural order of universe.

For the longest time, I believed this – until the first parent-teacher conference in school when the parents came in to talk about the progress of their children. Almost all of my friends had parents who were of one nationality, American.

When I discovered most of my classmate’s fathers were not Cuban, I felt bad for them. I did not know how something like this could happen in the universe. For a while, this new knowledge upset the apple cart of my brain and I had to start thinking about how these things might have happened. But, whatever… I continued through school with this new knowledge that most dads were not Cubans. For the most part, I was okay with it.

My life in school continued without incident over the coming years. After my discovery of American versus Cuban fathers, I was okay. I learned a lot, studied all my subjects well, and pressed on.

Until I met a kid named George.

I had never met a boy named George. I asked him how he got a girl’s name. He did not like what I said. Little juvenile fists were brought to a fighting stance.

That day almost did not end well.


©2014 J. Clark

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