Cuban Stories: About People, Terraces,
Food, Revolution, and Good-Bye's
by Maria Martinez Aenlle

"Much of our life in Cuba was lived outdoors, not in the countryside or at the beaches, but on its terraces, patios and courtyards. My family frequently used their terrace. Our terraces were the centers of our family activities."

How exciting this story about life in Cuba, before the Cuban Revolution is! Maria Aenlle describes events from her childhood (she was seven years old) in the late 1950's, early 1960's, in El Vedado the oldest suburb of Havana. She wanted to record her childhood memories to enjoy in later years and because life in Cuba was never to be the same after the revolution. By talking to her grandmother Isabelita, her mothers cousin Cuca and Anton, grandmother's sister Josefia, their maid Elda, Aunt Carmen Luisa and her sister America, we enjoy visiting on the terraces of the city and dining at the 23rd street restaurant, and El Carmen, where her father would buy wonderful Spanish hams,cheeses and rice or beans. Shopping was another glorious activity for young Maria. El Encanto was a large, expensive department store with beautiful decorations, mirrors and escalators, that excited young Maria. After she moved to the United States, she would compare a Sacks Fifth Avenue or Lord and Taylor stores to El Encanto. The Cuban Revolution was an awful time for the author, her family and friends, and fellow Cubans. December 1958 to January 1959, were some of the roughest times. The people thought Castro would bring prosperity and freedoms to the people. They were terribly wrong. Through this documentary of the times, Ms. Aenlle joins the literary scene with this first book. She comes from a background of twenty-five years experience in relail and financial services. Her memories of the people, foods, sights and sounds of Cuban life before the revolution are vibrant. Her descriptive voice throughout this story makes us feel as though we were right there in her past, sharing the joys and sorrows along her journey.

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