Some of my favorite photographs of my maternal grandmother & grandfather.
They were young, happy & in love. These were taken in Cuba between 1955 & 1956.
They got married in 1957. Two years before Fidel Castro came into power.
Along came my mother in 1959 :)
My maternal family were considered "wealthy" & "upper class" in Cuba during this time. They had absolutely no idea what was to come. The Cuban government, namely Fidel Castro, took over my grandfather's successful accounting firm in the early 1960s & this left the family in ruins. In 1967 they left the island under the "Freedom Flights" & moved to the United States of America with my mother (who was 8 years old at the time) with nothing but a few clothes & photographs. Castro wouldn't allow the people to take their personal belongings with them. They were forced to leave all of their property back in Cuba & the government ended up confiscating it. They practically came to America empty handed with nothing but goals & prayers of a better life. I grew up in a Cuban community, so I had heard this story many times as a child from many different people. Different details, but it all ended the same. Three things this taught me from a very early age: Don't get too comfortable where you are at, have a few backup plans & expect that anything can change at any given moment, because it can & it will. My grandfather knew this. He ditched his accounting days, learned English & went into photography. He opened his studio in Manhattan, New York & within a couple of years of living in America, my family became an immigrant success story. I know the value of freedom & opportunity because of this.
My mother, grandmother & grandfather in NY circa 1970s.
Right: At a beach. Left: At my grandfather's photography studio.
Sadly my grandfather passed away when I was 12 years old. He is my inspiration & I miss him everyday. He got ill without warning & during the last few years of his life he wasn't able to speak due to his Parkinson's Disease. I wish I was able to tell him that his passion for photography fueled mine & that his driven spirit inspired my own. Te quiero Abuelo ♥