Wilda M. Bello Quintana

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Wilda M.'s Story

November 16, 1961: My Aunt and I arrive in Miami. I did not understand why I was being sent here, only that I had to come. After being pampered by my mother, I was now expected to "fend for myself". My Aunt had never been married nor did she have any children. The "mother" instinct was really not in her. Or so was the perspective of my seven year old eyes.

I don't remember saying goodbye to Mom and Dad, Abuela y Abuelo. I don't remember my luggage being taken away from me, I don't remember the plane ride, nor do I remember the arrival and how we wound up at the two room apartment above the wooden house on 12th Avenue where it meets 8th Street.

I remember allotments. We were given food for the month. I remember the tears rolling down my eyes as I ate the awful tasting "quaker oats" I gagged on. My Aunt made me eat them, I thought she was very mean to make me eat something I did not like; cafe con leche was a luxury for Wednesdays only. I remember having to walk to school or hitch a ride on the handle bars of my friend's bike (a boy, whose name I cannot remember). He lived in the house downstairs. Getting lost on the way home from school one day, I distinctly remember (as if it was yesterday), looking up into the Miami sky, yelling "Mami" in hopes that my Mom could hear me in Cuba. As if that was possible. Eating on the table in the kitchen while the roaches dropped from the ceiling is a vivid memory.


In Cuba (508 Luis Estevez, entre Juan Delgado y Goicuria, Apartamento F) we lived with my Mom's parents. My Abuela, Francisca Marturelos, who was such a sweet lady, died in Cuba. I never saw her again. My Abuelo, Antonio Quintana; born in Las Islas de Gran Canaria, La Palma, made it out of Cuba and lived with us until he passed in 1994. He took me to his home land in 1976; beautiful Canary Islands! There I met all his siblings (there were 11) and all the cousins.

My favorite memory of life in our apartment was that when it rained, el pasillo se convertia en una pisina. My neighbor, Miguelito would come out into the pasillo with his bathing suit on and a bar of soap to bathe in the rain water. Another good memory is the "quicos" that my Abuelo would bring me. "Quicos" is what I called los platanitos chiquiticos, that to this day, I love so much.


After moving a couple of times, my father was offered a job at "Central Hardware" on 41st Street in Miami Beach. At the same time, came an opportunity to manage a 12 apartment building on 85th between Harding and Collins, the "Faulkner Apartments". My parents were delighted as they would be living there rent free. My Dad would do the maintenance, while Mom would clean the apartments as they vacated. It was there I experienced by first Hurricane in 1964, "Cleo". I distinctly remember opening the jalousie windows to watch the dead fish go by in pools of water from the ocean. We were one block away. With my friends we explored the debris brought ashore by the storm. I learned to ride bicycle in the parking lot of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where I made my Communion and Confirmation.

Mom and Dad, 82 and 78 respectively are still thriving and live close by. My sister, born in Miami also lives nearby with her family. All of us live in Broward within a 10 mile radius.

I live a happy life, proud of who I am. I thank Parents and Grandparents for the sacrifices they made for me.

Wilda M.'s News Feed

Leave a public message for Wilda M..

Hola Wilda, gracias por tu nota. Yo creo que tu vivías cerca de mis abuelos, donde yo pasaba todos los fines de semana--Estrada Palma entre Juan Delgado y Destrampes. Tu historia de los primeros tiempos en Miami se parece a la mía--no fue fácil. Cariños.

Message by Eloisa Echazabal | May 31st 2010

Querida Hermana: Tenemos un buen grupo de Pedro Panes de Cienfuegos....era una ciudad muy linda y limpia. Yo no he vuelto. Un beso, Otmara

Message by Otmara Capote | May 23rd 2010


Message by Otmara Capote | May 23rd 2010

Otmara, cuanto gusto me da leer tus lineas. Me alegro muchisimo que tu tambien tengas relativos en Gran Canaria. Trate de ver tu foto igual te trate de ver a Manuel A Gutierrez que tambien tiene relativos en Gran Canaria, pero a ninguno de los dos los encuantro. Estoy empezando a trabajar este website y no estoy muy familiar en como trabja. Muchos saludos; y espero algun dia conocerlos a todos en una reunion. Seria genial! Abrazos, Wilda

Message by Wilda M. Bello Quintana | May 23rd 2010

05/22/10 Querida Wilda: Acabo de leer tu historia y realmente me conmovió....imagínate 7 añitos, en nuestra casa en Florida City recibimos una bebita de 4, yo al ser una de las mayores cuidaba mucho de Lucy.....la madre de Lucy al poco tiempo de llegar mandó una carta con una maleta....la Sra. decidió no venir a los Estados Unidos y dió a nuestra Lucy en adopción..cuànto me gustaría saber de aquel angelito......pero solo Dios con su infinito poder podría conectarnos con ella. También mi familia materna es de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, tuve esa misma alegría que fué conocer a los hermanos de mi abuelo, los primos, etc. La mayor parte de ellos viven en una playa espectacular que se llama Mogan. La desesperación de nuestros padres hizo que RENUNCIARAN A lo màs querido, sus hijos........ Bienvenida, recibe un abrazo, Otmara Capote

Message by Otmara Capote | May 23rd 2010

Thank you Manny for your note. We have so many relatives in Canary; with last names such as: Hernandez, Garcia, Quintana, Marrero, the list continues. I was able to verify with my Dad, that we lived at 508 Luis Estevez entre Juan Delgado y Goicuria, Apartamento F. So, I stand corrected and will correct it in my profile. I know I have pictures of and will post them soon. The memories I have of my neighborhood are non-existent. I have a vague memory of "el pasillo" which was a row of apartments across from each other. There were long steps leading to a dead end at the end of the "pasillo". When it rained, I remember my next door neighbor's son "Miguelito" would come out in swimming trunks and a bar of soap to shower in the rain. I would watch him from my window, with a longing to do do the same, but was not allowed. I went to el "Colegio Chaple" for preprimario.

Message by Wilda M. Bello Quintana | May 22nd 2010

Wilda: Nosotros vivíamos en Rabí entre Correa y Encarnación, a una cuadra de la Calzada y una cuadra de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Éramos casi vecinos. Por casulidad también mi esposa - también Pedro Pan - tiene un primo en Gran Canaria que tiene negocios de barcos, se llama Antonio Armas. Manny

Message by Manuel A. Gutiérrez | May 21st 2010

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