Efrain Sora Gonzalez


Efrain's Story

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.

Efrain's News Feed

Leave a public message for Efrain.

Dear Efrain, I am Alberto Pernas's daughter and I would love to hear any story or memory you have of eachother. If possible could you please email me directly. Thank you so much, Sophia

Message by Sophia Pernas | Aug 27th 2013

Efrain, My sister, Maria Dolores Pernas (Marilola), was 5 and the twins, Alfredo and Alberto, were 9 when they went to St. Anthony's orphanage in Sioux City, Iowa.

Message by Maria Lourdes Pernas Pino | Aug 8th 2013

Dear Efraín: Mr. Dan Burns, Archivist, Diocese of Sioux City, has just informed me that he has come across some records that seem to indicate that the Pedro Pan children did not stay at St. Anthony's Home orphanage, but rather at Liberty School, a school house in nearby Plymouth county, that was converted into a dorm facility. Perhaps the reason why you do not remember any Anglo children in the orphanage is because Pedro Pan children were segregated from the general population at Liberty School. Be that as it may, archivist Dan Burns would like someone to confirm whether it is true that the Pedro Pan children stayed at Liberty School so that he can set right the records at the archives. Please, let me know so that I can convey your answer to Mr. Burns and at the same time start searching for digital copies of Liberty School for display at OPPGI's digital galleries and its Facebook page. Thanks. José Antonio Amaro Reyes. jose01010@hotmail.com

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Jun 13th 2013

Efrain: Hello. I'm about to post a 1960 photograph of St. Anthony's Home in the OPPG's Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/OPPGI ). I'm trying to figure out if the Pernas twins, Alberto Juan and Alfredo Antonio, were really 2 years old or did the Miami Herald make a mistake in listing their age? You mention in you profile that Maria Dolores was the youngest, but she's listed as having 5 years old, three years more than the twins. By the way, I was able to locate Alberto Juan, who goes by the name Albert John, in Costa Rica, but I haven't been able to find neither Alfredo nor Maria Dolores. Please, let me know your answer here or at jose01010@hotmail.com. Thanks. José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Jun 9th 2013

Efrain, every time I read or talk about Peter Pan kids my eyes get watery. I admire those parents who took the decision to send their young kids to the uncertain on another country. Like you said, I don't know if I would have done it with my kids, but again, I have not been in that situation. God bless you all!

Message by Natacha Vega | Nov 12th 2010

Efrain has updated their profile.

Status update | Nov 4th 2010

Efrain has joined the Pedro Pan Network. Please welcome them!

Status update | Nov 4th 2010

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