Remembering my sister’s 15th Birthday Party:

6198523738_56a412c29f_zLolita with some of our cousins and me
(from left to right – Elita, me, Adria, Lolita, Aixa, Marina & Alcira)

Saturday, October 10, 1960

There was a lot of commotion in our house that day in anticipation of my sister’s 15th birthday party.  It was to take place at the brand new Club Amigos del Mar.  It was actually the very first event to be held at the Club.  But as the time of the party approached, there was a shooting nearby and the area surrounding the Club was closed off.  This type of situation was fairly common in Cuba at times of political unrest.

What an uproar!  As the news of the shooting spread, our phone began to ring with calls from concerned parents and anxious invitees to find out whether or not the party was going to take place.  It began to look like it would have to be canceled.  After my parents contacted the Club there was a suggestion of postponing the party for the next day at noon.  This was very upsetting to my sister.  All the plans for this special evening of music and dancing were unraveling.  She broke down crying, her young heart breaking with disappointment.  This drama angered my father tremendously – he could not understand her tears.   He could not see the big deal if the party took place at noon the next day or that evening.  My sister’s crying plus the incessant ringing of the phone just added to my father’s temper.  Finally my oldest brother intervened.  He calmly talked to him telling him he had to understand that my sister was only fifteen, her heart was filled with dreams and had been looking forward to her special night for months.  This made him reflect.

Finally we heard that the area was cleared and the party was on – two hours late, but it was on and an amazing party it was.  Everyone showed up and I believe the drama enhanced the party mood.  My sister was led to the dance floor for the traditional first waltz by my now calm father.  Joy and laughter filled the room as the festivities continued and ended with everyone dancing to La Comparsa de la Jardinera and guests picking up some of the many flower arrangements my sister received and carrying them over their heads while they danced.

I was considered too young and was not able to join in all the fun of the finale, but really wished I could.  If you pardon the expression, the party ended with a bang.