Damaso D. Parets Valdés
Damaso D.'s Story
I arrived at Kendall, Florida on September 9 1961 at the age of 12 with my twin sister Ana Maria. Within a few weeks we were relocated to Illinois. I went to Freeport, Illinois where I spent a short time in an orphanage and later went to live with the Connor Family, who resided at 849 South Arcade Ave. My twin sister went to Momence Illinois. After the first year, II was reunited with my aunt, who had just left Cuba, in New York City. Another year passed and then I was reunited with my mother who then sent for my sister from Momence, Illinois. We settled in New York City where I attended one year of catholic school and then went on to public education. Upon my graduation from Hunter and City College, where I received a B.A. and two MS degrees I entered the field of education. I became a Foreign Language Teacher and later I retired with 33 years in 2003 as a Principal of a New York City High School. I still reside in the Bronx with my wife Suzanne M. Klein of 39 years and my two daughters Cassandra and Roxanne. In January 8, 2014, I returned to Cuba for the first time in 53 years with Road Scholar on a "people to people" trip. After arriving in Havana, images of places where I once lived as a child began to return to me. I visited my old neighborhood in Havana Central during the one hour we had to ourselves and it was as if I had never left. The Cuban people were very welcoming and understood very well our plight. I am glad I did this. As this was the culmination of 53 years.