Miriam Tamargo Biosca

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Miriam's Story

The one thing that has stayed with me all my life was the fact that my luggage was "lost" and all those precious new new undies, socks, shorts, shoes, and dresses my mom had painstakingly purchased for my new life in the States never arrived with me. I waited weeks to no avail. Some daughter of some high-ranking henchman in Cuba no doubt was enjoying the booty while I inconsolably cried at night in some hand-me-down nightie. Life sometimes just didn't seem fair.

In fact, when I arrived my name was immediately altered. My passport had shortened my name to simply Miriam (Singular Middle Name) Tamargo> Yet as anyone who knows anything about Cuban culture is aware, one's heritage is everything, as evidenced by one's long list of last names that provide irrevocable proof of one's pedigree. Moreover, it seems up to then I had falsely believed that my middle name was Mercedes; at least that's what my parents had told me. But oh no, I found out my real name was Adelaida--an excruciatingly ugly name for a tender 9-year old girl

And my name wasn't the only thing different about me in America. Compliments of my password, I was now a day older. No charting the stars to divine my destiny for the future without a clue as to exactly when I was born left a vast void of uncertainty. Was my birthday October 17 or was it the new date, October 16?

Now, my stay in America as a Pedro Pan child was fairly tame. No horror stories. No abuse. Just my older sister, two older brothers and me traveling from Miami to Cincinnati and staying at an "orphanage" that was really more like a boarding school of sorts for kids of parents going through a divorce or tough times. There were no babies and there were but two high-schoolers: my sister and a boy who kept running away.

I went to live with the Goodman family, and my two brothers went to live with nearby families. My foster father was a Spanish professor at Xavier University and his wife was fluent in French, wore teeny bikinis to tan and complained about teachers being way underpaid. The family lived a very busy social life. Visitors from all over the world seemed to be always popping up all the time; and during the evenings, my two foster sisters and I spent a lot of time with babysitters.

Well, by the time I was 11 years-old, both my parents had arrived to the Great Promised Land, and my sister, brothers and I were on our way to Miami to reunite with them. That's when the real "fun" began. Cucarachas and jubilance for the whole family. But more about that later.

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Miriam, my condolences to you and Carmen. Abrazos para ambas. Eloísa

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Apr 16th 2013

Miriam: I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. My deepest condolences. To answer your question, I am trying to document many of the orphanages that sheltered Pedro Pan children during the early 1960s, as part of a much larger project. I am forwarding to your email address a couple of photographs of St. Aloysius. I look forward to hearing from you at your leisure. I know how difficult it must be for you at this time. I lost my mother nearly a year ago. Thanks. José Antonio Amaro Reyes

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Apr 15th 2013

Dear Miriam and Carmen: Recently I have been in touch with Sister Niklas, Archivist for the Sisters of Notre Dame of Covington, Province of Kentucky. As you might remember, they were the sisters who ran St. Aloysius Orphanage in Cincinnati at the time you and your siblings stayed there. I am trying to learn about the presence of Pedro Pans at the orphanage, which I am told added up to 9 children. Sister Niklas informs me that a Cuban couple with children (Mr. and Mrs. Roberto Fernandez), who was employed by the orphanage during 1962 through 1967, lived on the grounds in an apartment located in the laundry building adjacent to the orphanage. At the time they were hired in 1962 Sister Josilda was the administrator. From 1963 until 1967, the year they departed, Sister Rheta was the administrator. While I realize that you and your siblings were very young then and that these events took place some 50 years ago, I wonder if any of you have any recollections of the Fernandez and the sisters? Please, let me know by contacting me at jose01010@hotmail.com. I would appreciate it very much. I am a member of the Operation Pedro Pan Group History Committee. I look forward to hearing from you at your leisure. In the meantime, best wishes to all, José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Apr 14th 2013

Loved your story, Miriam. I understand your sentiments about the name Adelaida. That was my middle name too (only I always knew it was while I actively disliked it). I was thrilled to hear I could change my name upon becoming a US citizen, because dropping Adelaida was a big relief. Now I'll wait to hear the part of the story with jubilance and cucarachas.

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Jan 31st 2013

What a great story!! You are so much fun,dear cousin!!

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Dec 17th 2012

Miriam: ¡Bienvenida! I enjoyed reading your story so much, I'm afraid I'm going to have to hold you to your word that you will continue it at some future date. So, please, don't leave us hanging! (Incidentally, if you visit www.facebook.com/OPPGI you will find a picture or two of St. Aloysius). José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Dec 15th 2012

Miriam has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Dec 15th 2012

Miriam has updated their profile.

Status update | Dec 15th 2012

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