Freedom Flight Memories

Maria Antonia Berdeal

I was an 11 year old child, arriving at Miami through the Freedom Flights on February 26, 1968. My name at the time was Maria Antonia Berdeal. I came with my mother and brother. I noticed that my mother's name was written incorrectly on the list. I was not able to find my brother's or my own name. Here is the correct information pertaining to the flights

Julia de la Fuente (Berdeal was her married name) arrived on February 26th, 1968

Julio Berdeal, arrived on February 26th, 1968

Maria Antonia Berdeal, arrived on February 26th, 1968

We arrived at the Freedom Towers at night. We were not able to contact the family that claimed us (Dr. Ramon Mas Martin and his wife Alba) until late in the night. They were coming from Daytona Beach to pick us up and did not arrive until early morning on February 27th. We had to stay overnight at the Freedom Tours. My mother became ill during the night and it was tremendously frightening to my brother and I, since my mother was our only parent. My Dad had passed away years earlier in Cuba. Apparently she had an allergic reaction to something that she had eaten and had recuperated by morning. Dr. Mas Martin and his wife Alba met us early in the morning and drove us around Miami to show us the city. We were overwhelmed. They took us to Daytona to live with them for 6 months, while my mother tried to find employment as a teacher. She was able to find a job teaching Spanish in Long Island, New York. We lived there 3 years until she caught double pneumonia and her doctor suggested that we move to a warmer climate. We came back to Miami. She worked teaching in the public school system until she retired at 73. She is now 97 and lives in Coral Gables. My brother went on to school in Gainesville and became an architect. I have been teaching in the MDCPS since 1978.