Ileana (MINICO) Ortega Menéndez

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Ileana (MINICO)'s Story


I came when I was 12 yrs old. I remember that Mima before us leaving Guira de Melena to go to the airport the next morning she told us that it was to be for only 29 days to learn English and that we were going to be with the Catholic Church and that we were going to be in good hands. Well I do not remember Mr Guarch greeting us at the airport but a small group of Sisters (Nuns) to take care of us. They gave us a couple of chicklets boxes (the yellow ones) and took us in a bus to Florida City.

There we were taken from the Nuns' house with our newly personal stuff to the Baldor's house, and sincerely we could have not gotten better house parents in Florida City than them. I remember their daughter been there with us and sharing everything with us, and if I don't recall bad her name is Teresita; which I would love to get in touch with her and thank her for her parents since I think that they have passed away.

I remember that everybody in the campamento we were forced to go to the park behind it, and we were told that there were poisonous snakes so we were all afraid of going, but we went anyway.

SHortly after our arrival (my two older sisters Amparo Cosio & Isis Fernandez) I met a wonderful person that had just come in from Cuba in June 26 if my mind doesn't play tricks on me, and her name is Conchita Ripoll and she was older than me but we clicked and I found her to be closer to me than my own two sisters & STILL IS; she had a younger sister Ritica which she was at the Baldor's house too, and of course their brother Robertico which he was staying in the camp but at a boy's house, and in the same building but in the house behind us we met 3 girls by the name of Martinez, Luisa Maria, Isabel Maria & Esther Maria and of course they had a brother, Emilito, that also was staying at a boy's house. We all were so lucky to have been sent to the same academy; St John's Academy in Colfax, Wa. But we were afraid in the days before been sent because there was a rumor going on that big families (3 or more) were going to be split apart and we were going to be sent to different places instead of keeping us together, but that was not true; we ended up being taken care of by Fahter Cornelius Stefani in Colfax and a man, very powerful man, money wise and politically wise by the name of Mr McDonald and they cared very much about us.

I greatly thank my Mom, Guillermina Menendez for having had the courage of sending us to the USA when she did, and I suffered, and cried as I did for missing her I could imagine how she was because I was crying for her, but she was crying for the three of us not being with her, so MIMA upthere in heaven where you are right now I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart; I know we were apart in different countries but you always made it possible to keep us in touch with you by calling us every single Sunday where ever we were and that is keeping us in your heart always. I will never say thank you so many times enough for your courageous act upon sending us to the unknown you made the right decision; I would do it the same way if I had given the tough choice to choose, so MIMA GRACIAS Y TE ADORO..

I have no resentment for her making this choice; I have no evil to speak of anyone in the Catholic church to mishandling me or abusing me or anyone of us in the academy, except for one house parent that she used to abuse of me by sending me to the laundry room every Saturday as punishment because she had her favorite ones and THOSE where never sent to the laundry room because while she took care of us on the weekends, so Orencio & Herminia Aguilera would get their days off her; and her husband would take care of us and of course she always sent me to the laundry room;BUT IN REALITY GOD ALMIGHTY I DO HAVE THIS PARTICULAR THING THAT I WASH CLOTHES BETTER THAN ANYONE, SO THOSE PUNISHMENTS MADE ME BETTER THAN ANYBODY IN THE "WASHING CLOTHES BUSINESS' LOL; that part has been always bad on me, and really I don't even know why she called me one day, I guess that she saw her end near and she wanted to come clean out of her guilty conciencia, and try to see if I still remember anything and when I told her I still remember all she did was laugh, so I guess that she still enjoyed her evil way towards me so there to me she was not worth of even mentioning her...she had her favorites one so let those keep her memory of being "good" alive because I do think that she did abuse me mentally that way that still to this day I remember all of those Saturdays and nor would I ever forget; she stole from me all those wonderful saturdays of not being able to play as the others..So besides her I had wonderful people such as Pepe Gorrin, Professors Iraida & Nestor Mederos, Sergio & Caridad Sanchez, the Aguileras that even been a little tough they did mean well and of course MY WONDERFUL Father Stefani.

I try to keep in touch with most of the kids from upthere, but still I am missing Santa Iparraguirre, Carlos Knapp, The Enamorados' sisters, Caridad Martin, Zoila & Dania Romero, and a few others not many after those mentioned, if anyone of you might know where they are please let me know at my number (786) 499-1992 or email or visit our web page in FACEBOOK: ILEANA MINICO ... THANK YOU MONS. WALSH AND THE BISHOP CLEMENS (he passed) WHICH HE DID GIVE THE OK FOR MONS WALSH, WAY BACK THEN JUST A PRIEST, TO ALLOW US TO COME TO THE USA....©

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Hi Ileana! To answer your question, you'll have to delete the photo and upload it again and write the caption before you submit it. Have fun!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Sep 6th 2014

Ileana (MINICO) says: Hi how do I do to put any postings in any of the pictures that I already have please??

Status update | Sep 5th 2014

Ileana (MINICO) says: I am super happy to have been a Pedro Pan Flight Child !!! MIMA you are always on my mind, heart and prayers, LOVE you more n more as the days go by!

Status update | Sep 5th 2014

Ileana tu no has cambiado en nada de cuando llegaste por Peter Pan a ahora sigues con la cara igual ya he mirado todas tus fotos de Peter Pan tu eres amiga de Emy Botet Zuloaga que estaba en tu mismo campamento y ella estudio en el Colegio Lestonnac en Cuba en la misma aula mia mira a ver si me puedes poner en contacto con ella tambien debes conocer a Charito Izquierdo que estaba en tu mismo campamento en Peter Pan a ella se le murio el esposo hace unos dias. Ella canta en St. Brendan Catholic Church. Mi e-mail es

Message by Elsa de la Maza | Dec 16th 2012

Hola Minico. Voy a estar por Miami en Noviembre para reunirme con mis antiguos colegas de los Maristas. Te contactaré para ver si nos podemos reunir junto con otros amigos de Spokane y Colfax). Un abrazo Raul

Message by Raul De Jesus Cano Chauvell | Jun 6th 2012

Gracias por contestar,me gustaria saber cuando tu me conociste ? Yo tengo una hermana que vino conmigo de 12 anos como tu. Llegamos a Florida City en Feb. 1962, salimos para Spokane en Junio de 1962,ella fue a la Academia y yo me quede en el college de las monjas de Holy Names, me gradue en 1966. en ese ano llego mi mama. Keep in touch !

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Oct 1st 2011

Ileana, yo estuve en Spokane, pero no en Colfax, siempre me acordaba de la trabajadora social pero se me habia olvidado el nombre, gracias por recordarmelo, que pena que no la pude ver antes de ella fallecer.

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Sep 30th 2011

Querida Ileana (Minico): mi esposo es Pedro Pan de La Habana. Y seria bueno que se comunicara su e-mail es: yo soy Guantanamera y escape por la base en el ano 1970.Vivimos muy orgullosos de la operacion Pedro Pan.Saludos, George & Alina

Message by wife: Dr.AlinaM. Budejen | Apr 27th 2011

Ileana (MINICO) has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Feb 28th 2011

Ileana, Muchas gracias. Vivo en las afueras the Raleigh NC. Todavia estoy aprendiendo como usar este website. Jose

Message by Jose E March Naon | Feb 26th 2011

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