Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cuba a Bittersweet Tale - Part IV

First observations of my grandfathers street: I was surprised by the dirt road but super excited about the crumbling architecture. It's the romance of it all. But the emotions of someone who grew up here, and is returning to a once glorious place, can be very disheartening.Walking in my grandfathers house I instantly absorbed every detail. My first reactions to the inside: the floors were these amazing Spanish tiles and the ceilings reminded me of small cathedrals. The patio was oddly familiar, I have pictures of my father standing on these tile floors as a child. The furniture blew me away, it's dark teak wood with ratan bottoms and backs. Very British Colonial. There were 3 rocking chairs, 2 additional chairs and a sofa (not like we're used to). These were solid pieces. The sofa (bench) freaked me out a little, only because I have pictures at home of Grandpa and Grandma with Dad, as a baby, on this very sofa (bench). It looked exactly the same. The best part of this is, my great grandfather made every piece of furniture I just described in addition to the enormous front door. A small door opens within a big door. The windows have wrought iron decorative bars over distressed wooden shutters. Each room had tall shuttered doors separating them. The walls were a combination of muted chipped terracota, revealing a pale green hue with other sections that were a cracked blue green color.Second observations once the romance wears off: The chandeliers were all missing, replaced by these hideous florescent lights that were wrapped in cob webs. Although in the U.S. we would pay a lot of money for distressed painted walls, and I thought it lovely, they were covered with these huge cracks. The kitchen and bathroom were unbelievable. I could hardly look, it was so horrible, small and dirty. Falling apart were the operative words. The refrigerator was this old Hotpoint and the freezer was covered in ice, you couldn't fit but one thing in there.My dad said that the place looked exactly the same to him, just REALLY OLD. His bed was in the same place, even the foot rest were you'd put your shoes to shine them up was still mounted to the wall. Grandma had her little shrine to Mary as many in this country are very religious. There was an old manual dial phone mounted to the wall above a desk, I swear Pottery Barn replicated this phone at one time or another. Ironically, this is the only phone on the block. When the phone rings, which isn't to often, you answer it and then you walk outside on the porch and yell whoever the caller was asking for and they come on over and have a chat. Always short, but I found this hilarious and was super excited that during my 2 weeks in Cuba that I got to run outside and howler someone's name.
As you walk in the door their is a wall that faces you, mounted on it was a picture of Jesus and right underneath was my 2nd grade elementary school picture. Pink polyester turtle neck body suit, what can I say it was the 70's, and tiny pigtales with pink ribbons. That's me just above Grandpa's head. I remember taking the picture but for some reason my mother does not have it in the photo album that chronicles every bad school picture imaginable. Dad has this picture but for some odd reason mom doesn't. I felt very emotional that here my grandparents have had this picture of me all this time and I've never met them. But what an honor right underneath Jesus. It doesn't get much better than that.

4 comments:

Jeni said...

Tanya...I loooooove your photos! I felt like I was walking with you and your emotional journey to the motherland. Thanks for sharing. (This is Jeni...Dylan's woman). Hope to see you again.

tstar said...

Thanks Jeni, I felt the same way when I read your posts on Vietnam. Keep the photos and stories coming.

Mildred said...

I just came across your blog while randomly searaching for cuba-related sites.

I loved reading your blog. I went to cuba for the first time when I was 12 and arrived to at least 50 family members I had never met. It was intense. I have been back 2 times since (the last time being in 2000). I hope to go again in a couple of years.

Anyway, I see you haven't updated your story in a long time. I hope you continue - I'd love to read the rest!

tstar said...

Mildred thank you so much for your encouragement to finish posting my story. I intend on doing just that, it's an emotional story and takes much time and thought to convey exactly what I felt.

I wish I could go back but I too haven't visited since.

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