What's Going on With Me

Apr 17, 2023 | Blog

Welcome!  Bienvenido! I am delighted to have you visit my website and hope this will be the first of many visits.

Let me introduce myself.  I’m Maggie, the author of The Story of Orqui and Starr. I’m also Orqui in the book. My husband and I live in the beautiful state of North Carolina and have three sons and (so far) six grandchildren.  We moved here just a few years ago after a lifetime in Miami. Do I miss Miami? Yeah. Am I glad we made the move? Oh, yeah. I have a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in art history and can get lost in a museum or art documentary with no trouble. Growing up with a dad in the Army taught me to enjoy travel and I’ve been blessed to travel the U.S., the Caribbean and most of Europe. But enough about me!

There are a few reasons why I’ve created this website.  The main purpose, of course, is to promote my book.  As a tribute to my parents, Estrella and Manuel Perez, the book needed to be written – an itch I had to scratch.  It was birthed from memories, stories, old letters and photos, laughter, and tears. It’s all true.

Having lived among Cuban family and friends almost all my life, my story seemed normal – everyone had gone through something similar in their own life or that of their parents. My husband, though, is from Oklahoma. My story is not common where he grew up (although he did have a Cuban teacher in junior high school!). He kept encouraging me to tell him about what my family and I went through to get to the U.S. He was mesmerized by and curious about details, especially my father’s part in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then one night, we were babysitting our two eldest granddaughters and my story just flowed out as a bedtime story. The seed was sown! What more personal and genuine way could there be to honor my parents and others like them who sacrificed so much to ensure their children would not grow up in a communist country?

But there’s a second reason for this website – I want to hear and post your stories! Whether you originated in Cuba, Colombia, Croatia, Cameroon or Cambodia. Tell me about your own odyssey and how you came to be in our melting pot, the U.S. of A.

Click on the Your Story tab above and share your story with me.  If appropriate, it will be posted in the Your Stories section of this site.  And if you have photos you care to share, I would love to include those as well!

I hope you enjoy reading my story and it encourages you to remember and perhaps compose your own!  Not everyone has an immigration story, but we all have stories. As I included in the dedication in my grandchildren’s copies of the book, “Even little kids have wonderful stories to tell!”

A third goal (yes, I’m ambitious!) of this site is to share things about Cuba that are important and dear to me.  For example, you may have noticed there’s a Recipes page here.  Check that section regularly for recipes to best-loved traditional (and some that have been “Americanized”) dishes.  The first one you will find is arroz con pollo (a “soupy” yellow rice with chicken), a favorite of most Cubans (and my husband!).  The recipes will be mainly from my own mother, who was an absolutely amazing cook, but some will come from the bible of Cuban cuisine, Nitza Villapol’s Cocina al Minuto, Recetas de Antaño, and other tasty sources.

Lastly, I am also including a Resource page where I plan to share recommendations on books having to do with Cuba and immigration (especially those with children) that I found meaningful or useful.  I would love to hear from you about your favorites and include them on the list!  The Resource page will also have great websites and articles about Cuba.  Hopefully, they will be of help to educators or anyone who would like to learn more about my beautiful island, her people, history, and culture.

And, of course, keep checking this Blog to learn more about what’s going on with me, especially with my book.  I’ll keep you posted on any book readings, interviews, etc.  This is also where I’ll post any giveaways like free dedicated books, bookmarks, and bookplates!

So as my father used to say to us almost every single day, “vámonos, muchachos!”  Join me on this ride and let’s see where it goes!