Light: Check out this book writing rap by Erin Dealey. Cute!
Yeah! Completed the first draft of the first two chapters of my (as yet untitled) manuscript!
I’ve decided to tell this story in alternating chapters of an American orphan and a Cuban exile who become friends at the orphanage. Today, I worked on my character study for the American orphan. I feel like I know him already and appreciate his resilient spirit. However, I feel so sad for him and his little life.
Also, a huge thank you to my new friend, Rich Ryan, for spending so much time with me yesterday. We talked about his life, his experience at Holy Family, and his relationship with the “Cuban boys.” It was fun to see how our lives intersect at many levels.
This story is just waiting to be told and with the help of many, I know it will be.
A headmaster of an American academy in Cuba worked with an American priest to obtain exit visas and fly Cuban children to the US where they would be housed by foster families and orphanages until their parents could join them or the situation improved in Cuba. Between 1960 and 1963, 14,008 unaccompanied Cuban children came to the US. They were dubbed “Pedro Pan” (Peter Pan) children by a news reporter. Only 50% of the children were met by families at the airport in Miami. 10% never reunited with their families again.
Some of the Cuban children came to an orphanage in Marquette where I live. I found out about this because I was researching our orphanage for a potential story. I’ve made contact with the last American orphan to live in the orphanage (which was transitioned to an administrative support building in the mid-60’s) who is still friends with some of the Cuban boys with which he made friends. I’m excited to meet with him tomorrow. I hope to complete the primary and secondary research and begin writing soon.
You might have heard references to Operation Pedro Pan in relation to the Haitian orphans. Catholic social services in Miami offered to relocate Haitian orphans using the OPP model. However, the Haitian government decided they did not want to pursue this fearing it would be too traumatic for orphans to leave their country.
If you have information about Operation Pedro Pan, Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette, MI, or any other related topics of interest to this project, please contact me. Thank you!
—- Jim Shepard
Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.
— Kin Hubbard
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
— Tom Clancy