Chapter 04

Chapter 4 – 1: “The Fragment”


It’s just a torn, tiny piece of paper written by my father in his own hand. Now when I look at that remnant, I’m a heartbroken daughter. Now when I look at that remnant, I’m an anthropologist who went looking for documentation, clues and evidence to flesh out a story I know has significance beyond my father’s individual life or my own sentiments.

Chapter 4 – 2: “Road Sign: Manguito, Cuba”


Manguito, so many thousands of miles from Jedwabne, one in the old world, so to speak, the other in the new world, so to speak. Yiddish and Polish in one place, the Spanish language in the other place.

Chapter 4 – 3: “The Drive into Manguito”

Miguel looked side to side out the car windows. Ricardo slowed down so we could take it all in: the train station, the park, the main street called Calle Real, and the plaza at the center of town.

Chapter 4 – 4: “Reunion”

Returning to the settings of his Cuban life, my father met old friends in Manguito.

Chapter 4 – 5: “Hilda”

ch4-5“José? I danced with José!” As David filmed and took still photos, Hilda looked at the camera and said, “I’m really 79, but tell them I’m 80 so they’ll say I look good for 80!”

Chapter 4 – 6: “Happy Memories”

We gathered at Hilda’s home, a single story house surrounded by fruit trees and tropical flowers.

Chapter 4 – 7: “Pillars”

ch4-7The balconies, held up by pillars, created a long gallery down the sidewalk. The pillars looked like Greek columns, smooth, slender and topped by two carved volutes, which gave the poor place an important feel.

Chapter 4 – 8: “El Cañón Alemán (The German Cannon)”

ch4-8I thought back on the old stories: the scary dog, the horses tied up outside, the mattresses, and the cheap lienzo fabric.

Chapter 4 – 9: “Memories and Old Men”

ch4-9Who was this old man with his wrinkled, dark skin and sharp memory? Most likely, sugar was the hub around which these old acquaintances had once come together.

Chapter 4 – 10: “Luciano Blanco”

He remembered my father. The last time Luciano might have seen Miguel was sixty-four years earlier when my father was twenty-three years old.