Cuban immigrants share precious family heirlooms to show history of Cuban exiles by Janey Fugate Julia Adán Pelegrín, 71, opened a black suitcase full of faded elegant shirts. Those shirts, she explained, belonged to her father, Emilio Adán Silva, when he was a Supreme Court justice in Cuba, and they represented his life before he and 12 other justices signed a letter denouncing Fidel Castro’s government. Eight years later, his family moved to Miami. Those shirts, Pelegrín says, represent the sacrifice her father made for his family and express the pride she feels. “These are not only memories but items of everyday use when Cuba existed as a nation,” Adán said. “[These shirts] were on the streets of Havana. They lived there.” Such feelings of pride and nostalgia prevailed Saturday in the lobby of the Freedom Tower, when dozens of Cubans gathered to donate or lend objects of historic interest that document their exile experience. More than 300 items — passports, documents, photos, clothes — will be part of an exhibit that will open at the tower in September. The inauguration of the exhibit is a key step in the preservation of Cuban history, said Alina Interián, host of the event and executive director of Miami Dade College cultural affairs. “We want to pay tribute to the people to whom this tower means so much,” said Interián, who also was processed at the Freedom Tower when she arrived from Cuba. Between 1962 and 1974, Cuban refugees were processed at the tower, known as “The Refuge.” It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008. The exhibit, titled “The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom,” is a collaboration between Miami Dade College and the Miami Herald Media Company. Its objective is to document, preserve and share the history of the difficulties the exiled Cuban community went through since Fidel Castro’s rise to power. The facility has deserved a project like this for some time, said Luisa Meruelo, 93, who worked for the tower’s immigration service for nine years. “I was always wondering why no one had done something about the refugees here,” Meruelo said. “This is a long story, a beautiful story.” The exhibit is a way to thank the nation that gave them refuge during that turbulent time, she said. “We have to thank the people of the United States for being so generous to us at a very difficult time,” she said. Now, the museum can show items like the first coins earned in this country, the tie that an immigrant was wearing when he arrived, a wedding gown and the tiny dress of a 3-year-old. To the people who wore them, these items are intimately associated with the difficult experience of having to abandon their native country. One of those people was Mercy Advocat, who arrived in 1962 with her brother in the Pedro Pan Operation. That exodus took place between 1960 and 1962 and brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States. “The last thing our parents told us before leaving was that my brother and I should never be separated,” Advocat said. “We then boarded the plane and, when we landed, the first thing they did was separate us — the girls from the boys.” Advocat and her brother eventually were sent to the same foster home in Albuquerque, N.M., and they ended doing what their parents had told them. After two years, they were reunited with their mother in New York. The black-and-white photos Advocat brought to the tower show her mother’s tears when she reunited with her children. She is lending those photos and a doll brought from Cuba — some of her most precious keepsakes — to the museum. She is not ready to part with them yet. “I’m not so old to have to donate them,” she said. © 2014 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved. Read more here:

Susana (Susy) Garrandés Gonzalez

General Information
Current Name
Susy Rodriguez
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Susana (Susy) Garrandés Gonzalez
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Friday, March 23, 1962
Relocated To
St. Vincent's Orphanage, Vincennes, Indiana
Stayed With
Velasco family-Florida City
Haiti Pedro Pan
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Susana (Susy)'s Story

Truly blessed for having been raised in the USA!

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In Honor and appreciation of the Guarch family who continues to be a part of the Pedro Pans. Obituary PEGGY LOU GUARCH | Visit Guest Book GUARCH, PEGGY LOU, 87. November 2, 1924 - November 19, 2011 Born Edith Irene Ewan in Littleton, Colorado, to native Montanans Susie Mae and Lewis Ewan, she and her siblings were placed in the Montana State Orphans Home after the death of their mother. At age 4, she was adopted by her loving parents, Bert and Gertrude Hind, and was thrilled to be thereafter known as Peggy Lou Hind. The family soon moved to Potrerillos, Chile for six years, where her father was an engineer. After returning to the United States, they divided their time between Montana and Florida. When Peggy was 18, the family moved to Nicaro, Cuba. There, Peggy met the love of her life, Jorge Manuel Guarch, and she adopted Jorge's Cuban family and Cuba as her own. Jorge and Peggy married and lived in Cuba until 1947, when they moved to Miami, Florida, spending nearly a half- century together, and raising their two children, Lynn & "J" Jorge, Jr. The Guarch family never lost their love for Cuba or its people, and from 1960 to 1962, together they played an important role in Operation Pedro Pan, as Jorge met the flights at the airport and Peggy cared for many of the children as guests in her own home. In 1964 Peggy was reunited with her birth siblings in Montana and developed a close relationship with them and their families, which she cherished throughout the rest of her life. In addition to raising her children and caring for the extensive Guarch clan, she also found time for countless hours of volunteering at her children's school. Reentering the work force once her children were older, she retired in 1996 as supervisor of the Dade County Auto Tag Agency mailroom. Peggy, affectionately known by most as "Granny," found the best in every situation, was kind and welcoming to all, and was an eternal optimist. Sweet and gentle until her last breath, she will be deeply missed -- and all who knew her are richer for having had her in their lives. Preceded in death by Jorge in 1991, she is survived by her daughter Lynn Guarch-Pardo (Felix Pardo); her son Jorge M. Guarch Jr. (Delia); five grand- children: Christopher (Emily), Melissa and Jonathan Pardo, and Patricia and Jorge Guarch III, all of Coral Gables, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation hours will be Tuesday, November 22, 2011 from 6pm to 1am at Ferdinand Funeral Home, 2546 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, Florida. Funeral mass will be held Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 11am at St. Kevin Catholic Church, 12525 S.W. 42nd Street, Miami. Interment immediately following at Flagler Memorial Park, 5301 West Flagler Street, Miami. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc., 161 Madeira Avenue Suite 161, Coral Gables, FL 33134, in memory of Peggy Lou Guarch. View this Guest Book at www. Published in The Miami Herald on November 22,

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 22nd 2011

Hi Susy, gracias por tus palabras. Eres una gran amiga! Carinos, Esp

Message by Esperanza | Nov 20th 2011

A Big Pedro Pan shoutout to Mr. Francis Hillenbrand of Evansville, Indiana on his 90th birthday! Mr. Hillenbrand & wife, Dorothy, parents of 7 children of their own, took in Tony Garrandés, a Pedro Pan Child. Mr. & Mrs. Hillenbrand would also take me, Tony's sister, from the orphanage to their home on some holidays and would visit me at the orphanage so Tony and I could see each other. Mr. Hillenbrand still serves at Mass in the retirement home he now lives. He is a very funny man and ends our conversations with one (bad) joke or 2. Funny guy! Dad, we love you and are forever grateful to you! HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY, DAD!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 15th 2011

Susana (Susy) says: Check out link

Status update | Sep 25th 2011

Susy, acabo de leer tu mensaje acerca de la próxima presentación en Rollins College del documental OPP Flying Back to Cuba, por favor, llámame porque no creo que nos debamos quedar de brazos cruzados. Un abrazo, Mery

Message by Mariia A. Sorondo Menéndez | Sep 18th 2011

Hi Susana my e-mail is - when there is something from Pedro Pan in central Florida please let me know, if i can i will go,thanks Rafael A. martin

Message by Rafael A Martin Garcia | Sep 18th 2011

Aqui estoy de nuevo - para ayudarte a llegar a los 1000 mensajes!!!!!! Manny

Message by Manuel A. Gutierrez | Sep 16th 2011

Susana (Susy) has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Sep 10th 2011

Susana (Susy) has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Sep 9th 2011

Susana (Susy) has updated their profile.

Status update | Sep 8th 2011

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