Yitzhak Izaak escaped the war, missed the massacre in Jedwabne, and survived the transport from Poland to Cuba, but he would not be long for the world. He smiled for the camera standing on the wide boulevard in Miramar, but he suffered terribly with asthma.
Things were moving at a fast pace. Marsha Linda was the firstborn, a tiny baby in their tiny studio apartment on 89th Street. She was named for her grandfather Maxwell, but the family called her “Linda” like the Spanish word for pretty.
Louise and her in-laws, including Izaak, Zoila (José’s wife; standing near Louise) and Eva (Jacobo’s wife), with Sarah’s two children, Lori and Lito, and Eva’s children Esther (far right) and Charlie (to Esther’s immediate left).
Louise’s husband—her Mike, her Miguel, brought her to the best nightclubs like Sans Souci and the Tropicana where stars crooned Cuban love songs and half-naked beauties entranced the audience. They’d dance to boleros like Cómo Fue.
It is difficult to grasp the meanings of what was going on in these scenarios involving actors, bodies, selves, histories and collectivities. Much is happening at once, even in the small domestic scenes portrayed. The scene of my 1950s childhood includes who gets center stage, and who is forgotten or barely considered. There is what is said and what isn’t. There are the signs of discontent and anxiety, the undercurrents of dissatisfaction beginning to stir.
Michael regularly captured the family on his 16 mm home movie camera. First he’d have Louise get dressed and dress the children. Then they’d all go to the set: in Cuba it might be Varadero Beach, poolside at the Rosita de Hornedo hotel or next door at Casino Deportivo.