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Alberto’s Story and Memories
Submitted by: Seasons Hospice
He was born in 1918 and is currently 97 years old. “I was born in Calle Estrella in Havana, Cuba.” His parents were Alberto Abril and Ana Armillan. Ana’s mother (Alberto's grandfather) was a Spanish General – Eduardo Armillan. Eduardo was considered to be a great leader to many men. He experienced a miracle in a moment where he was shot in the chest and a medal of Mother Mary that he wore had blocked the bullet. “My mother told me that story many, many years ago” he smiled, “I shared a closer bond to my mother than my father. However, my father always pushed me to go to school even when I did not want to. I am forever grateful for that.” Alberto went to school until he was 18 years old, he worked in commerce and trades – he was a distributor of merchandise.He stated that he had three siblings – Ana, Ramon, and Jose; Alberto was the second youngest. Alberto also described having two half-sisters, but he later identified them as his adoptive daughters. He married after he turned 30 years of age, his wife, Ramona, was younger than him by a few years. The couple met in a park, “She was sitting on a bench sitting alone when I decided to talk to her. It was love at first sight – She was a saint. I am currently typing a story about her on my typewriter.” He also described that Ramona used to play the piano. He had three children with Ramona – Jose, Vida, and Josefina. Ramona had two children prior to her marriage with Alberto, their names were Dulce Maria and Concepcion Aragon – “I loved them as if they were my very own daughters.”He shared his experience of moving to the US with his wife and daughter, Josefina, in 1968 when President Johnson invited Cubans to live in the US. He described his move to the US as a “difficult one. I had to work in labor in Biscayne Boulevard for a bit of time out of necessity. I adapted over time, as living here was a positive change.”
Alberto shared his experience when traveling to the US. Moving from Cuba to the US was an overall positive change, however it was a struggle to leave family members and possessions behind. Ultimately, the tense political struggle in Cuba was a larger reason to leave; thus, leaving Cuba was a form of relief. His daughter, Josefina, and his wife, Ramona, were the ones who came with Alberto to the US. Alberto shared that he felt a strong connection with the song “Cuando Sali de Cuba” because the song discusses leaving his heart and things he loves in Cuba. While living in the US, Alberto worked in labor for a few years; he was able to find housing due to a Church refugee that was available to offer help. After a few years, the church offered Alberto’s family to move to New Orleans, which he accepted – he traveled with his wife and daughter. While living in NOLA, he met Dr. Andres Pedrosa and quickly became good friends. The two would pass the time together attending dances with their partners and occasionally going out to parties. Despite this, Alberto was not one to participate in large festivals. Alberto worked for Pepsi-Cola as a distributor during his time in NOLA. His wife occasionally worked; however, he insisted that she stay at home while he worked.
His most meaningful memory of his brother was one time when they were fishing as teenagers, however the rain had forced them to end their session short. Despite the rain, he considered being one of his fondest memories of his brother; his brother was killed while serving the military during wartime.
He recalled meeting his wife at a park and becoming quick friends.
He expressed pride in his children and his ability to tell stories through his typewriter. Alberto expressed frustration in grandchildren but still expressed love for them.
Alberto wishes to be remembered as a “great father and a spiritual man who was close to God.” He challenges the youth, specifically his grandchildren, to listen to his story about his feelings of loneliness so that they may better treat their elderly with more love.
He did not express feeling regrets, he shared that his faith has “freed [him] from any regrets.” Additionally, he describes that time has matured him and he does not feel the need to experience regret. Alberto is also unafraid of death, “I have no fear with God by my side. God calls us to him whenever he chooses to.”
He hopes to be spiritually reunited with his family once he passes away, “I have actually been married three times before. All of them passed away from natural cause – I don’t believe in divorce, you see - so it will be interesting seeing the three of them in heaven.”
Finally Alberto shared a final quote: “Life has many roses but also many thorns.”
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