Maria Elena Josefina Juarez Padron

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Maria Elena Josefina's Story

I was born in Havana and attended El Verbo Encarnado until 2nd grade then transferred to the American Dominican Academy. I lived with my mother and grandmother in El Vedado. Among my friends were Maggie and Alina Alayon, Nelson Fonseca, Elenita Menendez, Millie Garcia, Alicia Darias, Margarita, Lalita, Olga, Esther, Mercy, Juan, Lazaro and so many others. I came by myself on February 2, 1961, when I was 12, and was sent to Kendall. After a month, I was placed in a foster home (Yoder family) in Albuquerque, NM. A boy named Manolito was on the flight with me and went to live with another family in NM. In Albuquerque, I went to Catholic school with all American kids as I recall, but I met other Pedro Pan kids in the neighborhood. Across the street from me were brother and sister Piri and Natasha, who lived with the Wagners. Piri tried to teach me how to burp, something I still have not been able to master! I also remember a girl named Teresita, and a very young boy named Juan. After seven months my mother arrived in Miami and sent for me. We lived in Coral Gables for a year and I went to 8th grade at Shenandoah Junior High School (now a middle school). We then moved up north to Jersey City, NJ in 1962. I graduated from William L. Dickinson High School, then moved to New York City where I went to school, and to work, mostly in publishing. I moved to NC in 1996. Though we were treated well, I think I was in shock the entire month I lived at Kendall. I remember the woods behind the main house, and many snakes. The months in foster care were very unhappy ones for me, though I know others had wonderful experiences. I enjoyed all my years in the New York/New Jersey area, but it never felt a right fit for me. I was 44 years old (am now 60) before the dam of my memories burst and I began to attempt to reconnect with my past and my heritage. That in part led to my move to the Asheville area of North Carolina where I now live. It feels like home, and two years ago, my partner and I built a lovely house in these beautiful mountains. I would love to connect with other Pedro Pans that I knew in Cuba, that remember me from Kendall, or whom I met in Albuquerque. My family is gone. Please, if I am someone you knew or think you knew, let me hear from you. Thanks so much to everyone who is making this opportunity possible.

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Are there any pictures of the school?

Message by Maria Graham | Dec 14th 2013

María Elena, we just updated your email address per your request. Take care.

Message by Pedro Pan Administrator | Sep 19th 2012

Maria Elena, yo vivo en Asheville, NC. Me gustaria verte. Yo tambien fui a la American Dominican Academy en la Habana. Vicky Blanche

Message by Vicky Blanche | Sep 14th 2012

Hi again! I hope that you reach out to us and can join our group. We need your friendship, life experiences and your presence, either in person or via Skype. Ciao, Maria Julia

Message by Maria Julia Caravia Fusselman | Sep 13th 2012

Maria Elena: Te vuelvo a escribir porque te extrañamos y va a tener lugar una reunión en Miami Beach con Ana Rosa Arteaga Tavio, Ileana Fuentes, Margarita Rosa Herrera, Alicia Beatriz Darías, Mirtha Garcia Regueiro, María Del Rosario González, María Elena Arregui, Meche Alonso y tu servidora , María Julia Caravia. Será el 29 o 30 de este mes. Embullate y ve que nos hace falta tu presencia. Por favor escribeme o Llamame !!!!! Maria Julia / 509-307-7896. Tambien estoy en Facebook con mi apellido de casada, María Fusselman en Yakima, WA

Message by Maria Julia Caravia de Fusselman | Sep 9th 2012

Maria Elena Josefina has updated their profile.

Status update | Aug 20th 2012

Dear Maria Elena. I'm Margarita Rosa Herrera and I still have the picture of yourself that you gave me in January 1960. I have never forgotten you and have such fond memories of your mother and grandmother. I would love to get together with you. After we left Cuba in November 1960 my mother and I settled in NYC. My father chose to stay in Cuba and remarried. I still live in NY State, but recently retired and bought a second home in Delray, Fl. I'm married and have three children. After I retired I, like you, decided to reconnect with my past. I'm so glad I came across your blog. My e-mail is:mrherrera@optonline.net. My phone number is (914)953-3469.

Message by Margaret Herrera | Aug 12th 2012

maria elena i'm Annie Arteaga Slatkoff and live in Miami...today we had a reunion with maria julia, mirta garcia, ileana fuentes, martha figuerola and we were talking about classmates from Havana and you were mentioned...hope you reply to my email...cuidate mucho...

Message by Annie Slatkoff | May 6th 2012

Alicia Darias is an Alternate Municipal Court Judge in Las Vegas, NV. She was my neighbor in Calle 6 entre 17 y 19 in El Vedado. Last time I saw her was about 7-8 years ago but she was doing well.

Message by Marlo Baker (nee Loly Rivero) | Oct 10th 2011

Maria E. Estoy coordinando una reunion 50 anos en Albuquerque NM en Mayo 18-19-20 2012, ya tenemos anotados 94 participantes. Si estas interesada escribeme a gallo46@bellsouth.net. Puse tambien tu nombre en mi lista de PPanas de ABQ y PPans de ABQ uh abrazo Ernesto Perez-Bermudez

Message by Ernesto A Perez Bermudez | May 30th 2011

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