Sunday, November 06, 2005


It started here...for me, at least. At Calle LaCret 378, corner of LaCret and Figueroa streets, Santos Suarez (Celia Cruz's neighborhood too), in the merry month of May, 1950. Well - correction - I came into the world via Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart) Hospital in Havana - sometime after 9:00 PM. The first of 3 'lil Quirogas.
Marta was to come in October '55, and Grace in June of '61. Grace - the first gringa in the family, born in Miami. A true Florida Cracker.

This was the first home owned by Nicanor, known as Nick or Nicky by most family and friends, and Teresa aka "my parents." It was built in 1949. The architect was Aquiles Capablanca, brother of the famous chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca. The "lawn man" was a Mr. Tain, a Spaniard (from Galicia - a gallego) who later also tended the tiny piece of lawn in our apartment at the Focsa building, our last home in Havana. Kinda hard to keep a lawn mower in an apartment - and sheep weren't allowed.

My father relates that, interestingly, the land for the home was purchased from a Cuban woman who had married an Englishman and moved to London. She had to return to Havana for the closing on the lot. At the closing, she commented to my father that "she could no longer abide the informality of the Cubans." Evidently the tea and crumpets had by then gotten the best of her...

The home had some advanced features, including a circuit breaker box, instead of the usual glass screw-type fuses more common at the time, and also a cistern. Mom and dad lived there from '49 to '54, selling the home to a family who later ran the now defunct Glorified Restaurant in Miami.

From there we moved to El Nautico. However, that story will have to wait. The tale will be continued, after some needed searching of the Quiroga photo vault, and of course, still being a working stiff, as time permits.

3 Comments:

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Susie Green said...

I am curious to learn more about this house & the sale of the family you mention. My father, Angel, ran Glorified Restaurant in Miami from the mid-70's until its closing around 1999. Could that be who the house was sold to? I placed your quote below. Thanks, Susie. "The home had some advanced features, including a circuit breaker box, instead of the usual glass screw-type fuses more common at the time, and also a cistern. Mom and dad lived there from '49 to '54, selling the home to a family who later ran the now defunct Glorified Restaurant in Miami."

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Albert Quiroga said...

Ms. Green: Indeed it is certain the house was sold to your father. My father and I were at the Glorified for lunch once - this was sometime in the 80's, when my dad started speaking to a gentleman whom he (father) said was the owner of the restaurant. Somehow, the conversation, as is usually the case with Cubans, turned to things about life "bc." At one point my dad said "this is the gentleman to whom we sold the LaCret house." Your father then said he remembered "what a nice house it was," and brought up the unique features about it discussed in the blog post. He then mentioned that after your family left Cuba "the home was given by the castroites to some military officer and his family." The house was sold by my parents sometime before May 1954. There will be more photos of the house and the neighborhood posted later as I will be writing about the Santo Suarez neighborhood.

By the way, we miss the Glorified to this day. Nice venue for informal gatherings with friends and family, and always good food. Nothing lasts forever, I guess.

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger OSCAR VIDAL said...

Hello, My name is Margarita Vidal and I lived at that house from1954 thru 1961 that I came to the U.S. My grandfather Angel Castro Virellas owned the house, I think he bought it from your father. My gradfather came to Miami in 1970, his two sons were the owners of Glorified Rest. Their name Angel Castro Bertot y Laito Castro one of the owners of Les Violins at the time. One thing that you don't mention is that each of the bathroom had an electric water heater.
Also in one of the bedrooms (mine in fact) there was a safe in the closet wall.

 

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