Heartbreaking details of the family who at the last minute, as they were boarding the boats, were told that their young teen son had to stay behind. The very second decision of which parent would go and which one would stay... And I taught them about red, white and blue, apple pies and Miami Dolphins.
Some of the children had been sitting at the Orange Bowl for days on end living in tents and waiting for relatives or anyone who would come and claim them. There was the story of a boy in our school who had arrived alone because his father and mother were doctors and not allowed to leave. That year he tried suicide once.
And I taught them how to read with Mat the Rat. They would stand straight as a pole as they proudly recited by memory verse after verse by Jose Martí and they would explain to me why Marxism and Communism is something every boy and girl had to know if they were in school.
When they talked about Fidel Castro they said they didn't believe him anymore, after all, the only food around was eggs and more eggs and more eggs. And I taught them about George Washington, freedom to vote and pizza parties on special days.
That school year we learned to survive holding on to each other for confidence and support. They came looking up to me and for reassurance that all those sacrifices were worth it.
We learned, we laughed and we cried together. They learned a new language, a new culture and above all the meaning of freedom of expression. During the school year I would tell them never to forget and always remember Ms. Blaya's class.
I told them that teachers and classmates there would be many. But our class was special, very special and they should never forget.
We said our good byes in 1981 and as they boarded their buses they kissed me and hugged me and promised not to forget.
I whispered my last goodbyes with eyes filled with tears and as the bus disappeared I thanked them for all they taught me and because I too had changed along with them and promised never to forget.
So here it is to you, my ``Little Heroes,'' may you never forget and keep the memories alive by telling your children about the class of Miramar 80-81.