Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Another Letter to My Dad (on Cuba)

 Dear Dad,

I almost reached for the phone to call you today after I read an article in the Washington Post about Obama's address to the people of Cuba. You see, Obama's administration is seriously lifting many of the restrictions that were in place against Cuba. I know how much you would appreciate this.

Of course, I am thinking so much of the time we went to Cuba as a family. It was incredible.  Wasn't it around 2005? We got to fly directly from Miami, so rare in those days. It was because you were part of an organization called Send a Piana (Piano) to Havana and we were bringing music, instruments, piano parts, and tuning supplies to several music schools in Havana.

I'll never forget what we saw in Havana.  We saw a city swathed in poverty, to be sure. But we also saw a culture so rich, so proud, so beautiful. Although most families depended on their government rations of a few bags of rice and beans per month, they welcomed us with generous, carefully prepared dinners and evenings of camaraderie.

And the schools - just amazing. Of course, music is a highly-valued part of the Cuban culture. We went to some of the best music schools in the city, so in the country, really, and we saw kids hammering out extraordinary melodies on pianos with missing keys, strumming soulful tunes on beaten-up guitars, producing Mozart from worn cellos and violins. You spent days fixing those instruments, tuning as many pianos as possibly could, teaching others how to do the same in your stead. I know you left those schools in much better shape than they were before we arrived.

What a gift you gave our family, bringing us all to Cuba to be part of something like that. None of us will ever forget it. And what a gift you gave those children.

You left a great legacy, one of joy, generosity, love, and, of course, music.

I'm celebrating Cuba today. And I'm celebrating you. Si se puede.




  1. What an incredible story and experience for you. These past few days must be bringing back such memories. I wish he could experience it - but he did leave the legacy and you are honoring it in his memory. Wonderful celebration.

  2. What a great letter! Felt good writing, right? As for Cuba-wow. What a great experience to share now. I'm jealous and can't wait to get there. I just need to have my credit card clear to be able to use. :)

  3. You helped me really see another aspect of our new relationships with Cuba. And your dad sounds like an amazing man! How great to stop and write about it as you include the Post link, too. This now is a great paired piece of crafted writing. Thanks for sharing.

  4. How wonderful to be part of bringing pianos to Cuba. I have never been there but have a few friends who have gone in the past few years. Your father left much more than pianos....he showed others how to tune and repair them. it must have been fascinating to hear the music of the children while visiting. I am so glad we are having a more open relationship with Cuba....and hope we can exchange some more culture.