When I was a little girl, one of the two closets in my bedroom was full of my mother’s evening dresses. She would tell me about her many trips to Cuba in the 20’s and 30’s, the glamor and the excitement. I remember a crushed red velvet dress with a very low, draped back and the black chiffon dress that had what she called “a rhumba skirt”. To me, in the early 40’s, Cuba beckoned, then faded.
I went to a boarding school with Valentina who was from Cuba. By then it was the late 40’s and some of the stories she told about politics frightened me. I kept in touch with her, and in the mid 50’s my letters were not answered.
April 14, 2009 Travel Pulse published an article titled, “Obama Lifts Certain Travel Restrictions”. It began, “President Barack Obama is allowing Americans to make unlimited trips and money transfers to family in Cuba, and easing other restrictions to usher in a new era of openness toward the island nation ruled by Communists for 50 years.”
About 1.5 million Americans have relatives on the island nation that turned to Communist rule in 1959 when Fidel Castro seized control. Do I approve? I may have a friend still there. As such, I am emotionally involved.
My mother’s fabulous dresses are lost to the past. No longer will she gracefully descend the marble stairs of the hotel in all her finery, no longer will she dance the starry nights away in Havana…but it is a beginning, we pray, back to individual freedom, a return to contact with the outside world and, as such, a better life.
Only time will tell.