Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cuba, Pigeon's and Ellsworth Park, Union City, New Jersey // Cuba, Palomas y el Parque Ellsworth en Union City, New Jersey

My love of bird's and pigeon's go back to my earliest memories, when we had first escaped from Cuba, in January 1971. My mother decided to settle in Union City, New Jersey and my grandaunt (her father's sister) moved in to help my mother and I. We moved to 24th street and Bergenline Avenue and I would ask both my mother and my grandaunt about my grandparent's in Cuba, as well as my father who was unable to leave Cuba. My grandaunt told me that if I saw any bird's, that I could talk to them and that they would then fly to Cuba and give my messages to my relatives. I did this religiously, remember I was 3 year's old and always waited for a response which never came. I went crying to my grandaunt and told her that none of the little bird's I had spoken too had come back and bought me any messages from Cuba. She told me it was because I was "far" from the bird's and that I had to get very close to them otherwise they couldn't hear me. She also told me that these were "American Bird's and they had problem's understanding me in Spanish. She then suggested I ask a Pigeon to send my messages and told me there was a place close to our apartment where there seemed to be many of them and perhaps one of them spoke Spanish. I immediately started asking her about this mysterious place and my grandaunt took me to "Ellsworth Park" which was located one block away from our apartment, on 24th to 25th Street on Palisade Avenue. She called the park "El Parque de las Palomas" (Pigeon Park). They were dozens upon dozens of them there and they would get very close to us as we sat upon the benches. My grandaunt told me that if I fed them bread they would come very close and then I could give them my messages to Cuba. She also told me that there had to be at least one Pigeon there who spoke Spanish and eventually I would get a reply. My love for Bird's and Wild Life began during those "talk's" and specifically my love for Pigeon's. I was 3 year's old and as the month's came and went, I eventually stopped asking about my relative's in Cuba. They became memories. My grandaunt took me one last time to "Pigeon Park" when I was 6 year's old, shortly after that my mother remarried and we moved away. I remember the vivid memories of re-visiting that park over 20 year's later, in 1993. It was the last time I went there. I remember looking around, I remember sitting on the same bench my grandaunt and I sat on and I remember I sat there and watched the pigeon's very intently. I waited and sat there for 2 hour's. I watched each pigeon that approached me very carefully. I was waiting for them to speak, I was waiting for a message from the past. There were a hundred memories that came crashing into my head that day. I remember I cried, as I waited like I had when I was a little boy, for the messages I never received.