It is so nice to just sit back, relax and reminisce and remember about the good times when a person was growing up. Care-free and no worries, back then.
Unfortunately for me, I grew up in an era of Cuba that can only be described as a real bad era, politically.
On March 10, 1952, very early in the morning, I was waiting for my school bus. I was eight years old. My family was not wealthy. My father was a mid-level manager who worked for la Compañia Cubana de Teléfonos, which was a subsidiary of International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), an American-owned company.
A neighbor comes out and sees me. He tells me: "Go back upstairs, there is no school today." When I asked him why, he said: "Tell your dad that Batista staged a coup." I did not know this Batista fellow, but I was very happy. Thanks to him I did not have to go to school that day. Ahh! The innocence of children!
Later on, I do not remember exactly when, we would move a couple of blocks to a new building. It was located on twenty first street, between 24th and 22nd avenue, in el Vedado.
My life revolved around a triangle formed by my home address, my school address, 13th street, between B and C avenues, and my favorite corner of 23rd street and 12th avenue. That was my territory.
Veintitres y Doce was my favorite hangout place. Why? There was this timbiriche where you could buy fritas cubanas. (See: Cook's Corner: Fritas and Fries, A Cuban original). They were soooo gooood! And the best part was that they only cost ten cents each, and came fully loaded with very fine and fluffy french fries. I would buy three, and eat them in less than fifteen minutes.
For desert, I would walk a block north to 21 and 12. There was this Tropicream place, that sold delicious ice-cream cones for only ten cents each. I would have two of them. Barriga llena, corazon contento! (Full stomach, happy heart!)
Just about everything that I needed would cost me ten cents, the fritas, the ice cream. Used comic books were also ten cents each at 23 and 12, sold by a midget cojo. If I wanted a brand new comic book, I would have to pay thirty cents. I was cheap. I would buy used comic books.
A Coke was five cents, lollipops were a penny each. But my favorite was the boniatillo: two sizes, small for two cents and large for four cents.
Ahh! THOSE WERE THE THE GOOD TIMES!