Estela Bueno traced our beginnings, outlining the reasons why we came together
and continue to draw together: “In sharing these experiences, although it may be painful we show each other, as well
as our children, grandchildren, and friends joining us here today the courage we had as youth … we come and join together
in these reunions, we see each other opening our hearts and allow healing to begin.”
Opening her heart, Alicia Ciardullo shared with the gathering what the symbolism
of the palm tree meant to her – wherever the Pedro Pan take roots we remain true to our heritage and as Cuban as the
As Estela mentioned, in establishing our group, via our website and electronic
communications we reach out to all the Pedro Pan throughout the U.S. and around the world creating a forum for our shared
experiences. Last week we received this email from Barcelona, Spain which read: “Mi hermana y yo estuvimos a punto de
ir a USA con el programa Peter Pan. Finalmente,nuestros padres decidieron mandarnos a Galicia con la familia de papá. Mi hermana
tenía entonces 11 años y yo 15 e ibamos a las Ursulinas de Miramar... Aunque
no llegamos a participar en la Peter Pan, en cierta forma hemos tenido una experiencia paralela, pues nuestros padres no salieron
de Cuba hasta 12 años después. A pesar de los años transcurridos, nunca he olvidado el 17 de septiembre de 1961 y siempre
me he considerado cubana,contra viento y marea. Me ha alegrado mucho leer sus vivencias y les mando un cariñoso saludo. Mª
Teresa Casabella García”
Another reason we are together is to recognize the outstanding Pedro Pan
who are members of our community. With great pride and pleasure Cuban Kids from the 60’s Exodus congratulates one of our very own Pedro Pan brothers Judge Francisco F. Firmat on being honored as the 2008 recipient
of the prestigious Aranda Access to Justice Award. The award is cosponsored by the Judicial Council, the State Bar, the California Judges Association, and the
California Commission on Access to Justice.
Francisco was not present during the ceremony. He had been called to the
Orange County Court on urgent business. However, persevering in the best Pedro Pan tradition he and his family were able to
join us later after fighting through the mid day LA traffic and running out of gas!
The tradition of the Cuban Kids Pedro Pan reunion and the highlight of every
event are the Pedro Pan introductions. Numbering 45; including Segundo Timiraos who drove down from San Jose, Carlos Alamilla
in town from Florida visiting his son at USC, and Manuel Kou who arrived from China at noon and came straight to our reunion
, the Pedro Pan kids gathered to lend support for the self introduction of the Pedro Pan attending our event for the first
time. A part of the healing process as we share our personal experiences as Pedro Pan with our brothers and sisters.
In closing Arturo Bueno challenged the Pedro
Pan to move as group two hundred feet to where the palm tree is planted to take the Pedro Pan group picture. Once again the
Pedro Pan rose to the challenge and the picture was taken.