Hubby and I went to school right outside of Philadelphia and as it turned out, our daughter chose a college in Philadelphia as well! The first parent’s weekend, we went out for the festivities and who was there: None other than the Philly Fanatic, the mascot for the Phillies baseball team.
A few weeks ago I shared with you the start of my writer’s journey and although I got the writing bug in the fifth grade, it wasn’t until high school that I once again sat down to think about writing something longer than a short story or class assignment.
As some of you may know, I was born in Cuba and left when I was quite young. That story is a long one and filled with adventure in many ways, but the story of what came before was what inspired my first book.
Throughout my life I’d heard bits and pieces about how my parents had worked with the Civic Resistance in Havana to help bring about change on the island. I’d also heard how they realized that the change they had wrought, namely putting Fidel Castro in power, was totally not what they had expected. Because of that, they had started working with many of the same people to bring about change again. Of course, that’s what prompted my parents’ precipitous escape from Cuba and started a nearly two year struggle to get the rest of the family out of the country.
But the “after” part is for another time. It’s the “before” part that inspired the first novel I wanted to write, a romantic adventure about a wealthy Philadelphia Main Line woman who goes down to Cuba and falls in love with a handsome doctor who is involved in the rebellion. In real life, it was my mother who was the rebel and briefly engaged to a rich Main Line man. His family didn’t approve and so that romance ended not-so-happily, but in my books there is always a happily-ever-after.
I gleaned what info I could from family and friends and books so I could write that romance set during the Cuban revolution. Off and on during my high school days, I did that work and built the story in my head. I asked for a typewriter (no computers in my day!) and desk for high school graduation and pictured myself slaving away to write that novel.
I’m not sure my mom approved on many levels. For starters, she rarely talked about Cuba and what had happened. I know it had hurt her deeply to be so wrong and bring about such horrific change to the country she loved. Once we came here, we became American and moved away from all that, I think in part because remembering was too painful for her.
I’m not sure she approved of my thinking of writing as a possible career choice. I’d already been accepted to a few colleges and in her mind there were only a few professions that would allow her daughters to prosper, law and medicine being at the top of the list. Writer, not so much.
I didn’t get that typewriter or desk for high school graduation, but that didn’t stop me from collecting all my notes and research so I could start writing my novel during the summer before college. That decision shocked my mother I’m sure, but she went along with it.
Her office was getting rid of this awful pink paper and so she brought some home for me to type my first draft on. We weren’t well off so things like reams of paper were not in the budget.
Somehow the pink fit the romantic undertones in the novel. LOL!
I didn’t finish that novel that summer, but I got at least a hundred or more pages done. I kept at it during free time in college while I was a Science Major with my eye set on a career as a doctor. That’s my hubby and I in the summer after our freshman year of college.
I figured, doctors read and doctors write. I could always do the writing in my spare time and finish my novel.
By the time college was done, I was a little closer to having a finished work, but life has a funny way of throwing a curve your way just when you think you know where you are going.
I graduated magna cum laude, but I didn’t get into medical school. My mom had left her job to join a new law firm and I went to work with her while I decided what to do. But even though there was some hesitation about my future as a doctor, I was sure of one thing: I was going to finish my novel.
With it being Valentine’s Day, it seems like a good time to share with you how I met my Valentine and I’d love to hear from you how you met yours!
It was Freshman orientation and I noticed a young man in the group of new students all hanging out during orientation. We exchanged some conversation and names but then got dragged away with friends. Like teenagers do, once I got back to my dorm room, I plopped down with my friends to look through what was known as the Freshman Record to try and find the cute guy I had just met.
The Freshman Record was a kind of like a yearbook which had pictures and basic information about the incoming students. Luckily for me, it wasn’t hard to find the young man who had caught my eye. Also lucky for me, it turned out we had the same major and he was in most of my classes.
A couple of days later, I went to my biology class where the professor had put up a seating chart for the class. I checked it and found out that my little crush was sitting right in front of me in class.
But before I go on, please understand that I had very little experience with guys. I had spent most of my high school days involved with classes, playing the bassoon, and sports, not men. So unlike my kick ass heroines, I was not the kind to take charge and win the heart of the hero. I was not suave and saucy and boy did it show on that fateful day.
I took my seat in bio class and as my cutie came down the aisle, he sat down in the wrong row and chair. He turned around to say “Hi” and I said “Hi” back and proceeded to tell him he was sitting in the wrong place.
DUH! He was a little shocked, but then he grinned and went back to check the seating chart. A few seconds later he returned and sat right in front of me, still smiling. He clearly realized that I had checked him out.
Well, what can I say? I guess it was meant to be from that moment. He was cute and funny and smart and here we are, a long time later.
How did you meet your Valentine? If you haven’t met him/her yet, what would your perfect Valentine be like?
Here’s a picture of me and my Valentine!
This Fun Friday we’re doing something new: The Fun Friday Five. Today’s Five are the Most Emotional Moments in Life. There are moments you will never forget, whether good or bad. I’m sharing Five of my Most Emotional Good Moments in Life since I want to get the weekend started on a positive note for you!
So here they are:
1. The first time I saw my daughter and held her in my arms.
2. Marrying my husband (that picture is the two of us on our wedding day!).
3. The day I became a United States Citizen.
4. Watching my sister graduate college (It was my mom’s dream for her girls to go to college but she didn’t live to see my sister graduate).
5. Receiving the call that someone wanted to buy my book.
How about you? Take a moment to share you’re most upbeat and happy moments in life.
Hope you all have a grand and beautiful weekend.
Last Thursday I told you a little bit about myself and my family and why being American was so important to me. I summed it up in one word: Liberty.
Of course, having Liberty assumes that one is alive hence why the Founding Fathers noted in the Declaration of Independence that the People’s rights included amongst them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is a reason for the order because it’s difficult for one to have Liberty if they are dead and it is impossible to pursue Happiness if one does not have Liberty.
The assumption of Life is one we cannot make easily. If I didn’t understand it after losing my mother with little warning, I certainly understood it on a national scale after 9/11.
But back to Liberty.
Most of us understand the warning of Orwell’s 1984 and the concept of Big Brother, namely, that of government that controls every aspect of our lives, even what one thinks. The thought of such totalitarianism sends a shudder through many Americans because we are a Nation that prizes Liberty and the freedoms associated with it.
I was lucky enough to have an English class at my college, Villanova, where we read a number of novels about dystopias such as the Big Brother world in 1984. In each of them it was apparent that when government by and for the people ceased to exist, problems ensued. To this day some of those novels remain on my list of favorites and I would urge you to read them if you have a moment and consider what it would be like if government controlled every aspect of your life.
So here is the Liberty reading list!
- 1984 by George Orwell
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
We by Eugene Zamiatin
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
If you’ve got any favorites, I’d like to hear from you. My husband loves Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and has his faded and worn copy at his desk. I have yet to read that immense book, but I really should since so many people are intrigued by it.