Born December 22, 1907
Died in 1990

Her name was actually Marina Irmina, but once when Titín was little she called her mother Marina.  She got such a scolding that she refused to call her sister by that name so Tía Irmina was always called by her middle name.

When I was a baby my father had surgery at El Pabellon Borges in Havana and since I was still nursing, my mother took me with her and we stayed at Tía Irmina’s house and she and Tío Pepito would take care of me while my mother was at the hospital with my father.  Because of this she would always call me her “media hija” (half daughter) and María Linda.  I was told that Tío Pepito would always share his breakfast grapefruit with me by feeding me some juice with a spoon and I loved it.  I still love grapefruit.

She was such a fine lady, very refined and with exquisite manners.  I loved visiting her in Havana.  She always made me feel special and beautiful.  When I was fifteen and I was living in Milwaukee I went to visit them in Virginia.  She lived with her daughter Teresita and her growing family – Carlos José was a year old and Victor was born during my visit.  I remember Carlos José ripping every magazine apart and Tía Irmina saying that it was a way of him expressing himself.

Tío Pepito, Tía Irmina and Mima – Colgate, WI 1969

She was extremely patient.  Being married to Tío Pepito she had to be.  He was a bit of a grouch, but oh! how I loved him.  During this visit Tía Irmina told me that when I stayed with them as a baby he was sure that my parents would leave me with them.  She would tell him, “Pepito, that’s their child!”  Anyhow, it made me feel special that I was so wanted.  In a sense they were my second parents.  I will always have a special bond with their children Teresita and Pancho.

Teresita and Tía Irmina

I love this picture of Pancho

I never knew that Tía Irmina wrote poetry.  A few years after she died, my mother showed me some handwritten poems of hers and asked me to type them.  I share this one with you:


Yo llevo dentro un paisaje
que es de naranjos en flor
es de cañas ondulantes
muy cubano español.

Es de sol de Varadero
De roja sangre bravía
de patriotas, que la dieron
lunchando en la tierra mía.

Es azul, es un azul
como otro que no he vuelto a ver,
azul de mares y cielos
en mis recuerdos de ayer.

Yo llevo dentro un paisaje
que aquí no puedo pintar,
es mi pincel de raíces
y se pudiera quebrar.

 Nota:    Con mis versos no molesto a nadie
con mis quejas, sólo suelto del alma
los sentimientos que me ahogan.


I will attempt a translation below:


I carry inside a landscape
of orange groves in bloom
of sinuous sugar cane fields
very Cuban, very Spanish.

Of the Varadero sun
of the crimson and brave blood
of patriots, that was shed
flighting for my land.

It is blue, a shade of blue
like I’ve never seen again,
a blue of seas and of skies
of my memories of yore.

I carry inside a landscape
that here I cannot paint.
my brush is made up of roots
and it could easily break.

 Note:    With my poetry I don’t bother anyone
with my woes, I only release from my soul
these feelings that drown me.


A toast to her talent and her beautiful soul