Who We Were

When Kids Crossed the Border with the U.S. Government’s Help

In the 1960s, Operation Pedro Pan Brought Children Like Me Out of an Unstable Cuba

The images in recent weeks of minors crossing the border, unaccompanied and scared, fleeing violence and uncertain futures in their home countries, many seeking their relatives already in the United States, brought back memories of my own journey here in 1961 at the age of 6 on a plane filled with children. The Cuban Revolution my parents had supported had abandoned its promise of democracy. Schools, including the one I attended—Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, near our home in La Vibora—had …


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Who We Were

Beating Up Arizona Boys

Other Girls Dreamed of Becoming Gymnasts and Dancers. I Dreamed of Breaking Boards With My Feet.

One day when I was nearly 9 years old, I beat up a boy so badly that he fell to the ground.

I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was a friendly practice sparring match during an average afternoon karate class. Instead of accepting his defeat gracefully, he got up, furious, and proceeded to chase me around the building. Being the shy, non-confrontational person I was back then, I let him do this until he was scolded and told to calm …


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