Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enter the Exiles

Again another birthday,

Think i'll plant a tree,

With roots and bark flowers and fruit,

I'm turning fifty three.

A smile wide a salty tear,

A very simple thing,

I want to share with you,

The joy that love can bring.


Pedro Oliverio Sanchez Menendez

A Child Born of Revolution 1958.

It is fair to say no one life is simple. But few take the time to write their story; few leave behind an accurate representation of their sentiments and experiences. One such exception is my dear aunty Angela Sanchez Tischler who has written her lovely memoirs entitled Los Denengaños, a story of family, country and intellect. The book ends at the time of my birth.

Available in electronic form at Amazon Kindle or in paperback by request here, limited edition publication.

Gradpapi Adolfo and his two daughters (Lucy and Angela)

Here is a brief description penned by another relation, my long lost cousin John Paul Rathbone, author of "the Sugar King of Havana"

"It is hard to think of a more fitting epitaph for the Cuban revolution than el desengaño, the disenchantment. Yet, almost perversely, Angela Tischler has taken the word as the title for her pre-revolutionary Cuban memoir. This is just one of lesser way in which "Los Desengaños"(in fact the name of disused sugar mill) sets itself apart from other more honeyed tellings of pre-revolutioany Cuban Life. It offers a rare glimpse of pre-revolutionary times in "provincial" Cuba: in this case, the almost waspish province of Camaguey-no Havana centrism here! It is almost unflinchingly hones-sometimes painfully so. The result is a bittersweet portrait of the "cuba de ayer"; the joys and beauties and simple pleasures that Tischler found in Camaguey's countryside and people (especially her family), but also the province's sadness and prejudices-traits that are treated in the same way one might describe the foibles of a cherished family member; with love that forgives but does not exonerate." JP Rathbone

The author and husband Chip Tischler

It has always been acceptable to throw a French word here and there in English writing usually without translation. The educated reader is expected to understand: if they don’t, tant pis. I am requesting the same treatment for Spanish words, including those in the title. If Les Misérables can do it, why not Los Desengaños? Angela

In Laws in the country 1954. Grandmother Julia Menendez, Grandfather Adolfo Sanchez with my parents Oliverio and Martha

"...What happened in Cuba in the 1950’s was so large and complicated that one single historian cannot grasp all the nuances. Many have told the story from many different angles and with various degrees of impartiality and scholarship. One point of view that has mostly been missing is that of ordinary Cuban citizens, those of us who were neither politicians nor revolutionaries. There were many of us who were not trying to change the country; who were just trying to take care of our lives. I will try to compress those lives into a very small color tile to be added to the large mosaic of the Cuban tragedy." Angela

Rare Glimpse at Ranch Life 1938 ( front row left; Angela, Lucy and my dad center)

"...These memoirs are based on my recollections. I am writing this near the end of my eighth decade of life taking advantage of a phenomenon of aging that together with my contemporaries I am experiencing: we may forget if we had lunch and the names of friends, but the names of playmates of seventy years ago are coming back. I noticed this with my mother, and now it is happening to me." Angela

Great Uncle Julio Sanchez hangin' with Hemingway, perhaps Key West or Bimini.

"One would think that more places would be named Esperanza, “Hope”, but that is not the case. Desengaños, “Disillusions” seem to be more common occurrences. Who would name a sugar mill the Spanish equivalent of “Disillusions”, and why? Were these disillusions in love, business, or any of the other aspects of life that tend to go wrong? We will never know." Angela

Not a Vacation but a Pilgrimage

Terrazzo monogram still adorns the threshold to our home in Camaguey; today a public building occupied by the "Daughters of the Revolution" (whatever that is).

Angela today celebrates 80th with great niece Lucia Del Sanchez. Crescent City, Florida

"I fail to see the beauty in anything made by man." Angela Sanchez



  1. The poem is beautiful, happy birthday.

    Angela is a genius!