If you enjoy warding off chilly winter nights getting comfortable with a warm throw and a good read, I have a treat for you. Hot off the press, Cubanos in Wisconsin, by Silvio Canto Jr., is a delicious serving of Cubania and Americana.
“The book relates our family story, from our early innocent days in Cuba, to the moment that Castro came in, to the Bay of Pigs, Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassination, and our decision to leave Cuba.
You will learn about our family, i.e. my parents, my brother, and our little sister. This is a family story, from the crazy things that boys do to the very serious issues that my parents faced to all of the nice people who helped us along the way.”
Cubanos in Wisconsin, written by Silvio Canto Jr., with the help of his son Gabriel, follows the Canto family on their journey from pre-Castro Cuba in the late 1950s, when the dreams of boys centered on family, baseball and their beloved island, through their early years as exiles in Wisconsin in the late 1960s. It is a family memoir, a loving tribute to Silvio Canto’s parents, aunts and uncles, the spirit of the Cuban people, and those individuals who helped and sustained them on their journey.
The story will resonate with many Cuban-Americans of a certain age, with memories of an idyllic childhood in a pre-Castro Cuba. A time of prosperity, carefree optimism, and comfortable living for a large and expanding middle-class that was lost forever in the traumatic years that followed. Silvio takes us along on his family’s journey through their last years in Cuba; the systematic loss of freedom as the Castro dictatorship intruded into every aspect of their lives, the heart-breaking decision to leave Cuba, and the very difficult time spent as outcasts, vilified as gusanos (worms), while they were waiting for permission to exit the country. We journey with them as they face the uncertainties of life as exiles via Mexico City, Jamaica, Miami, and finally to their new home in Wisconsin.
Cubanos in Wisconsin is a wonderful heartwarming book written with love, and humor. Silvio shares his memories, as well as the important historical events of the time through the eyes of his boyhood self in Cuba. We relive with him cherished childhood stories from those days long ago in Cuba: Festive winter Sundays spent watching double headers at El Cerro, Havana’s baseball stadium, where the kids ran wild and all enjoyed the pleasures of friendly rivalry, food, drink, and the music of team bands. The summers they spent visiting his mother’s family in Ciego, among cousins, playing with lizards and making mischief around town. The years of seemingly endless days attending Maristas Catholic School, with long rides on the green school bus, testing the limits of the driver’s patience with their antics. Days spent with friends, enjoying games, and playful teasing, under the watchful eye of wise and caring adults.
Silvio perfectly imparts the innocence of that lost era, a timeless age of faith, civility, and freedom; his is a story for sharing and enjoying with loved ones of all ages. If you’ve been looking for an appropriate book to teach your children or grandchildren about Cuba, and what happened there, this is the book.
Cubanos in Wisconsin is available for purchase at Amazon.com, click here.