I was born in Guantánamo, Cuba and emigrated to the United States via Spain in 1963 with my parents and younger brother. We lived in Spain for nine months with my paternal grandfather’s family in the outskirts of Barcelona until our visas to the U.S. were issued. My uncle who my father worked with in Guantánamo had left Cuba a year before us, and after visiting border cities from California to Texas had settled in McAllen, Texas. When our visas to the U.S arrived we boarded the Covadonga a ship that sailed from Barcelona to New York City, and then flew to McAllen.
Living in McAllen was an adjustment for our family, but as the years passed, and we realized that dictator Fidel Castro was not going anywhere. We settled into our new home, and have lived here ever since. Besides my uncle and his family there was only one other Cuban family in the city, and we became very close friends. In 1966, another Cuban family moved to McAllen, and became part of our close knit group. Even though I was only seven-years-old, I can still remember the day I went to visit the new arrivals with my parents, and met the fourteen-year-old Cuban boy, I would have a secret crush on all through my teen years.
My senior year in high school when I found myself without a date to prom, I summoned the courage to call the now twenty-four-year old family friend, and asked him if he would accompany me to the dance. Not only did he take me to the prom, but after graduation, and three months after our first date we were married. After our parents got over the initial shock of how quickly we rushed into marriage. They were ecstatic, my parents and my in-laws had watched us grow up, and our families were very close. I don’t know how we knew at such a young age that we had something special, but I do know that thirty-eight-years later I can say that it was the best decision of my life, and that all of my dreams, and everything I have ever wanted I have done with my Cubano by my side.
My favorite subjects in high school had been reading and writing, and my plan was to become a high school English teacher, but as we all know life often takes us down more interesting paths.
One night I shared with my husband how I had always wanted to write and that I was thinking about taking some correspondence writing courses. (This was in the early 80s before the internet.) The next day he showed up with a brand new electric typewriter, and I signed up for a few courses. I learned how to submit to magazines, and began selling anecdotes about my boys, and parenting articles to small publications. In 1994, the year my daughter was born I began writing a family column for The Monitor Newspaper (largest newspaper in South Texas) which I am still writing for today.
In 1999, my interest in parenting issues led me to become a certified parenting instructor with The Network for Children and Families. I work with schools, churches and women’s groups teaching parenting courses and giving workshops. I am writing and teaching both things I always wanted to do just not quite how I had envisioned it as a young girl.
The most important accomplishment, however, and what I most wanted in life, to be a wife and mother is what I am most proud of. We have three grown children, two sons and a daughter, and three grandsons.
I believe that the most important job a woman can have is to take care of her family. When your family is doing well everything else falls in place.