I don’t know why this didn’t dawn on me before. Estúpido yo.

But in the midst of trying to get things organized in Will’s world for his trip to my parents’ house and things organized in my world for our trip to Alaska (more about that later...), I had a creative brainstorm. About what I can write about. Really write about. A story. Even a book perhaps.

I had thought that I would tackle Will’s tale -- and had begun fleshing out everything here on the blog to see whether or not I had the writing chops to actually take on such a project and to determine whether or not I could revisit that time and those experiences while my emotions were still raw. And while I think I might be able to adequately write about it and that I might have the emotional strength to handle it, I believe I may have another bit of subject matter to explore.

A bit of background: My maternal grandfather died when my mother was quite young -- just a bit older than Will is now. I obviously never knew him, and that is one of my great regrets. He was a Spanish professor at a junior college and by all accounts, was a great teacher and even better man. He and my grandmother spent a great deal of time in Cuba in the 1930s -- before my mother was born. I have several pieces of memorabilia that they brought back -- maracas and pottery and an amazing lithograph of a street in old Habana. As the de-facto family historian, I also have photos of them in Cuba and several letters my nana wrote to her mother and sister back in the States. I’m fascinated by this piece of my history, especially since Cuba is off-limits to me at this time. It’s like forbidden fruit that I can’t wait to taste -- and hopefully I will be able to someday soon.

My grandfather, circa 1929, in Habana.

A good buddy of mine on my favorite internet hangout penned a silly little poem about this very thing after I relayed this story to him in the midst of a conversation about Cuban music and the Buena Vista Social Club:

Grandpa and Nana
Flew down to Havana
On weekends for their little treat
In times now pasado
They loved the helado
And danced to the magical beat.
It must have been magic
The years have been tragic
I wish I'd have seen Cuba then.
Like mi abuelito
Fly down for a treat, Oh
One day we'll see Cuba again.

After reading that and realizing how passionate I was about this bit of my family history, it finally hit me: I want -- no, I need -- to write about Daddy Pete and Nana’s experiences in Cuba. I had been laboring over the subject matter for my writing venture. I knew that it was something I wanted to do desperately, but any of the topics and things I was thinking about, while important and personal, didn’t sit just right with me.

Until now. This I’m excited about. This looks like it can be an amazing project for me. I can’t wait to see where this takes me -- and can’t wait to share what I discover and create.

I’m making scans of my nana’s letters to take with me on my trip so I can begin to absorb them -- she wrote in great detail about everything. I just ordered a book on 20th century Cuban history before Castro. I’m looking up things on the internet to have a reference point from which to start.

Can you tell I’m excited? Because I am. Oh I am.

¡Soy listo ir¡ (I’m ready to go!)

¡Caída encendido¡ (Hang on!)

1 comment:

SusanD said...

This sounds like a fantastic and fascinating project, Laura Petrie! Congrats to you, and I'm really glad it congealed like this for you. You'll do Cuba justice, Im sure. Can't wait to start hearing about it through you.