Tiny purse from Cuba

A small leather purse from Cuba.
A small leather purse from Cuba.

This purse is from my grandparents. Their families were seafaring Catalans who had lived for periods in Cuba since the early 19th century. Abuelo owned a hardware business in Santiago where my Dad was born. With impeccable timing my grandparents decided to move to Spain just in time for the civil war only to escape back to Cuba in 1944, having experienced immigrating to a number of places, including Morocco. My grandparents thought they'd spend the rest of their lives in Cuba. When I was an infant they sent this purse, decorated with the symbols of the Country. On the left are the royal palms that lined the broad avenues of Santiago. Next there's a pennant of the Cuban flag, followed by a lady dressed in the bata Cubana. Finally the rooster, perhaps one of the cocks that Jose Marti wrote about. When Castro's revolution occurred my grandfather was retired. With concern for personal safety my grandparents fled with only a suitcase; their last immigration to a new land. Abuelo began all over at 59 in Milwaukee. The memories of a home once cradled between the majestic Sierra Maestra and the azure playa Siboney was exchanged for snow, and the promise of freedom. They eventually retired moving one last time to the warmth of Florida. In their home the Cuban flag hung on the wall next to the American flag, my grandmother crocheted a bata Cubana for my Barbie, a couple of royal palm trees shaded their street, and they never had to flee and start over again.

Place(s): Cuba,Spain,Milwaukee,Florida
Year: 1961

– Karen Carreras-Hubbard

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant