I Grew Up in pre-Castro Cuba

I understand that my father’s name came from the Catalonia area of Spain. My mother’s family comes mainly from Galicia and Asturias in Spain. But that was generations before I was born.

I was born in Cuba about 100 miles north of Havana where there are beautiful coastline and beautiful beaches. It’s very similar to Santa Cruz, California where the land rolls down to meet the sea and a beautiful bay.

My parents were both teachers. My mother graduated when I was four years old. The day she came home with her diploma I told her: “teach me to read!”

In about five months I learned how to read. By the time I was five I had memorized more than 120 poems. I could recite them to anyone at any time. I used to love to entertain people.

That has made me a teacher. I started learning at home with my mother. Later on I went to her school as well as public and private schools. At the time private schools were not very expensive in Cuba.

So my mother was an elementary school teacher. My father taught mathematics as well as how to teach mathematics for teachers. Several of my aunts and uncles were teachers as well. I had an uncle who was a doctor. One of my aunt’s was a kindergarten teacher so I actually had a little bit of formal kindergarten with her in the summer.

But I didn’t particularly like it when I went to private school. I felt that it was just two confining. We had to follow many rules and wait our turn to speak. But I was a good student because I like to learn. I don’t necessarily associate learning with classrooms.