My father came into the world on August 6, 1906. He would grace this world with his presence for 55 years. It was my good fortune to have him as my father. He could be very stern, but there was a childlike quality about his manner that was so very charming and dear to me.
Not too long before I left Cuba I found out that his nickname in high school was Caruso. I was very curious about how he acquired that name. He told me the story.
Financed by his godfather, Avelino, he went to high school in Cardenas, a school with a curriculum from first grade through high school. My father had a great love and appreciation for music. He found out the school was offering piano lessons and decided to sign up. He asked for directions as to where he should go. Thinking he was signing up for piano lessons he waited not realizing that there were only small children in the line. He was actually standing in line to sign up for the children’s choir. When another high school student saw him, he shouted “There goes Caruso!”
My father and one of my mother’s brothers started medical school together and years later my uncle saw one of their old classmates. As they were catching up on what they had been doing, my uncle mentioned my parents’ marriage and his friend said: “So your sister married Caruso!”
Happy Birthday to the Greatest Caruso – Papi – I love you and still miss you.