He was Tio Germancito to his nieces and nephews. His presence commanded respect. He and his family lived in Marti. We would visit them fairly often, but I never got to know him that well. Eventually they came to Miami, but I didn’t see him that often and he died in 1985. I got to know his wife, Tia Zoila, a little better later. She passed away a few years ago. They had three children, Yolanda, Germancito who left us much too soon, and Zoilita – my cousins who are so very dear to me. I will write about them and their children and grandchildren in the future.
I remember a Nochebuena at their house where I was sneaking cucumbers from the salad plates and was incredibly embarrassed when I caught Tio Germancito, Tia Zoila, Tio Pepelino, Tia Milagros and my parents watching me as they burst out laughing.
I remember a look of mixed emotions the day of his youngest daughter’s 15th birthday party when her boy friend asked him for her hand in marriage. I remember that look again at her wedding a year later. Happiness at seeing his daughter married to a nice man and the sadness for his little girl leaving him. I am happy to say that Tony and Zoilita celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year.
Tio Germancito had a very important role in my parent’s marriage. He and my father were friends and both attended medical school at the University of Havana. Due to political issues the University was closed sporadically for several years during this time and Tio Germancito pursued a teaching career instead. When my grandfather was hospitalized in Havana my grandmother would stay at a hotel. The children would take turns traveling back and forth from Pica Pica. One day when my mother was in Havana she had been crying after a big fight with one of her brothers. Tio Germancito, to cheer her up, invited her to see a movie. On their way there, they met my father and he tagged along with them even though he had already seen the film. It was at this time that their romance began. My father did tell me that he already had his eye on her. I wish I had asked them the name of the movie.
Thank you Tio Germancito for playing Cupid and for being such a caring brother to Mima.