Efrain Sora Gonzalez
I was 7 yars of age when my two cousins, Lourdes Aguilar and Juan Manuel Aguilar and me arrived at Miami International Airport. We were greeted then taken to a waiting van which took my cousin Lourdes and me to Kendall and Juan M. to Camp Matecumbe. I must have stayed at the Kendall camp for about two weekes before they sent me to an orphanage in Sioux City Iowa where I spent the next 8 to 9 months. I was one of the fortunate ones, my parents arrived from Cuba the following March and April, and we were reunited in June of the same year.
After so many years I still ponder upon how resilient children are, or at least were. I remember adapting to being at Kendal without supervision for those couple of weeks. How I adapted to the strange environment of people speaking English, with me not understanding a word they were saying. Yet I can remember how easily I picked up the language, to the point of being my parent's official translator after we were reunited.
I can very vividly remember the other children that flew up with me,I don't remember the other anglo children in orphanage, just the other Cuban children. After so many years I may be able to remember some of te names and some of the last names, for the longest time I could remember both. There were the Laneo brothers, they were three, then there were the Perna siblings, they were also three. The twins, Alberto and Alfredo and the youngest, I think she was my age, Maria Lola. Then there was Josť, I used to remember his last name, and now it has become a blur.
After all of these years I still thank my parents, who are now deceased, for their tremendous act of bravery. With three wonderful children, I don't know if I would have the strength to do what my parents once did. I don't know if that says a lot for my parent's generation or very little of ours, but then one never knows how one will react until one is put in a particular position.
Since those days of Pedro Pan and my nine months at St. Anthony's Home in Sioux City Iowa, I grew up on Miami Beach, graduated from Beach High, I served in the Military for five years during the Vietnam era, and I have been a missiionary for the Catholic Church. I am presently a Life and Health Insurance agent living in West Dade, we have three wonderful children, and I am a very active parishioner at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.