Well, not exactly my hometown, but certainly my adoptive hometown. My native hometown is in Cuba – the City of Matanzas. I would never go back while the regime that completely disrupted my life is in power. It was hard enough to see pictures of the destruction of what once was a lovely beauty shop. My mother took great care of that shop and of her customers. Also, pictures of rooms of the house I lived in and still haunts my dreams were barely recognizable.
But it was a most pleasant trip to my adoptive hometown – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My dear cousin Alcira invited me and I am most grateful. I had not gone back in 37 years. She lives in a suburb outside Milwaukee and I did not get a chance to see the places I remember most, but the welcoming feeling of Wisconsin is undeniable. Even though we have not always been near each other, Alcira and I have been very close throughout our lives and things have worked in such a way that we have had occasion to help each other in some way at different times.
Her husband jokingly told my sister that we got up at 7 a.m. and started talking and did not stop till bedtime. Actually, it’s not far from the truth. We shared memories of days in Cuba, Miami and Milwaukee. We also brought each other up to date on events from the distant past and some more recent. I got to spend time with Gloria and Doug (her daughter and son in law) and meet their sons Eli and Zach and had the privilege to watch Zach’s soccer team win the last game of the season.
I saw my niece Rebeca at a half way meeting point between Chicago and Milwaukee. Gloria drove us from Milwaukee to a dog park where Rebeca’s Lola and her Gili and Simon ran to their hearts content in a beautiful though chilly setting. After the invigorating outing, the humans proceeded to enjoy a lovely lunch in a quaint restaurant overlooking Lake Michigan.
I got to enjoy the company and hospitality of dear friends I had not seen in years. It was amazing to see the addition of two generations. Alcira’s cakes are legendary and her cooking is out of this world. She prepared some delicious meals for me including my favorite – tamal en cazuela.
At this time of year where we count our blessings and express our gratitude for all the good things in our lives, those ten days in Wisconsin are high up on my list. Alcira and Publio – thanks for the memories!!!