Monday, July 07, 2008

Telex from Cuba

My niece Rachel has just published a book (Telex from Cuba) which is a fictionalized account about the U.S. community living in Cuba in the 1950s. When I was 12 my father got a job with a nickel mine there and the whole family drove to Miami and took a ferry boat to Havana with our Studebaker and our pregnant dog named Nelly. Nicaro was a company town about 600 miles from Havana. I graduated from the eighth grade from the one room school house where children from the U.S. engineers attended.Rachel's book is drawing a great deal of attention, with a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. She also has a web site at is a picture from Rachel's site -- of my father and the men who worked with him at the pilot plant. In the front row are Rafael Vasquez, my father, Fred Drosten, and Ernie Lado. This is a party at our house in Cuba circa 1952. In the front row are (L to R) Mrs. Leal, Mr. McCarthy, Fiona DeFletter, Mr. Leal and someone I don't recognize.
When my sisters and I and Rachel went back a few years ago we spent alot of time with Cleveland, a Jamaican who is being the bartender in the back of this photograph. He is one of the characters in Rachel's novel. Cleveland now lives in a lovely house in the LeVisa section, which was a muddy slum when we were there in the 1950s. After the Revolution the workers received proper housing-- with plumbing, electricity and other amenities which had been left out of the company housing.

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