Friday, September 29, 2006

Be True To Your School!

When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
Now whats the matter buddy
Aint you heard of my school
Its number one in the state

So be true to your school now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to your school now
And let your colors fly
Be true to your school...

The lyrics are by the Beach Boys, one of my favorite rock groups, back when, now, and probably all the way to the grave. The theme of the song is that of pride and loyalty to one's alma mater, something which should come naturally. Assuming, of course, one's school is indeed worthy of being recalled with pride and loyalty, and beyond that, love.

And there was such a school during my Havana years. I had thought at one time that, eventually, the wheel would turn and the blogger would get around to talking about his educational years in Havana. When that would happen, however, was open to speculation. But recent events, dictated by fate or coincidence - perhaps both - changed the priorities so to speak. So now it is time to reminisce and explain, with love, pride, and loyalty why I am still true to my school, and always will be...

For many years I wondered about the fate of my school mates, whom I had left behind, alongside Havana, in November 1960. There were no goodbyes, because mom and dad, for one thing, did not want to attract too much attention to the reality of our imminent departure, for wise and logical reasons tied to the times and circumstances. And thus, like Havana itself, Colegio Baldor - Baldor School or Academy - became another fond memory of a lost era.

So, one day, poof! I was not there. And, as one of my good friends - my best friend, like a brother, really, told me later, when we reconnected in Miami, "all of a sudden, you were gone. We all asked each other, "Where is Quiroga; what happened to him?" And even my good teacher, professor Duran - we respectfully addressed our teachers as "professor" or "doctor" in those days - I heard tell later, wondered what had happened to little Quiroga.

Ah, but this year - having not seen most of this crowd since 1960 - I reconnected again with more of my class buddies, a joyous and somewhat amazing re-encounter. And so, this post, dedicated to them, our friendship, our brotherhood, our good memories which cannot be taken away by a dying has-been who seemingly did not profit from his own education.

Here's to you, beloved Colegio Baldor, and to the two Carlos, Wilfredo, known as "Willie," Nelson, Warren, and those friends we hope to still find. Indeed, maybe some out there will notice and we will re-establish our ties through this reminiscence.

We are able to recover our memories thanks to a "Memoria." Yes, a play on words. You see, in Cuba we called school yearbooks "memorias." Literally, "memories." And that is what they are. A memory or remembrance of your school, and the good times hopefully you spent there. Thanks to my friend and former school mate Carlos C, we have some pages of a "memoria" from Baldor to share with you and weave this story. Regretfully, only photocopies of the subject pages were available, original yearbooks being difficult to find. But, as has been said, "half a loaf is better than none."

This is the cover page of the 1955-1956 yearbook. A then little blogger started his loving relationship with the school in September 1955. The school day began with a short assembly on the school grounds and the raising of the flag.

Yes, you read right. September is when school started in Cuba back depicted, Norman Rockwell style, on this cover of Bohemia magazine, published September 13, 1959 - the image comes from

Isn't that just the way you feel - or felt - the first day of school? Just as exemplified by the young man bravely trying to awaken at breakfast, one sunny day in Havana, on his way to Baldor, circa 1955...

But, never underestimate the power of a good breakfast - the young man now seems chipper and ready for his day at Baldor Academy!

My buddies and I started at something equivalent to a Kindergarten level - "Pre-Primario B," as defined by the school administration, but more challenging than Kindergarten. Call it preparation for First grade, if you like. The classes were subdivided into groups, A, B, C, D, and so on, depending on how many 'lil students were registered. Our teacher - whom we loved - my friend Carlos B admitting recently he "had a big crush on her" was Mrs. Caridad Lobato. Many years ago she popped into mom and dad's pharmacy, in Miami, and left a phone number, asking that yours truly contact her...did I do so? Of course, being an obnoxious teenager or too-busy young man then, the answer is - NO. To my shame! And then the phone number was lost...and now, of course, "we," meaning the four of us who have reconnected from Pre-Primario B and who were fortunate to have her as our teacher and mentor are desperately looking for her.

Moral of the story: When your beloved teacher comes calling, call your teacher!

And if anyone who reads this can help with this quest, we will be forever grateful.

Presenting the 1955-1956 pre-school Pre-Primario B class! Can you find the perpetrator of this blog amongst that clean-cut group? And you, reader - might you coincidentally be one of the boys in that little band? Yes? You gotta let us know - "we" - Carlos B, Carlos C, Wilfredo - AKA "Willie" and yours truly are looking for you. That is our quest.

Although, in the strictest sense, Baldor was not a religious or church-affiliated school, religion instruction was part of the curriculum. The founder, Aurelio Baldor, believed a good religious foundation was essential in a civilized society - there was no issue involving allowing prayer in the classrooms - or not; agree with it or not, God was present there and the school was better for it. The quiet piety of the "Baldorians" I know, and knew, is testimony to that. Thus, the yearbook contained a page, which might be called the "consecration page" - the students dedicating their thoughts, words, and deeds to the Lord, in return asking his favor and blessing througout the school year. I can tell you God is always present in hearts and minds when students are faced with difficult tests...the military variant of that exemplified by the saying "there are no atheists in the trenches."

Aurelio Baldor, lawyer and mathematician, was the founder and director of Baldor. Indeed, he even taught in the school and authored what is described as a "terrifying" algebra textbook, titled simply "Algebra" in 1941. It is still in use in many Latin American schools. I suppose I was fortunate in not having to wade through its terrifying pages, but, on the other hand, the effort might have shored up my brain somewhat.

I remember him well. For one thing, every Friday, the school week would close with an assembly, outdoors - weather permitting, which was usually the case in our semi-tropical climate - in the schoolyard where we had recess. This gathering was referred to as an "acto civico," which you could translate to "civic assembly." Basically, it was an opportunity for us to be appraised of issues and things pertinent to our school and our country. There was usually a short play or act, having to do with some significant event in Cuban history, perhaps a vignette depicting the battles of the "mambises" or Cuban guerrillas, against the Spaniards. Dr. Baldor usually spoke at these assemblies and of course he became a familiar figure to the students.

Once, I even wound up in his office! No, no - it was a happy occassion - I had not done anything wrong. There had been a schoolwide spelling and grammar contest, which a certain cocky little boy actually won. I say cocky because - the pint-sized speller was in 3rd grade - the kid remembers telling his teacher, Prof. Alpizar, right after taking the spelling and grammar test, "I'm gonna win this contest!" Professor had a wry smile on his face, as if saying "Yeah, right!"

A few days after that, Dr. Alpizar asked the young man to step up to the front of the class. The mischievous kid thought something was wrong, but then Dr. Alpizar, beaming, and putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, simply said: "This young man has won the contest and has earned a scholarship." His classmates went wild, shouting, clapping, jumping, yelling...that was so deeply satisfying and such an honor...and the young man may be almost 50 years late, but this has to be said: Thank you guys, for cheering me on so enthusiastically! I will never forget that.

Afraid we have veered from the path; was not trying to be a braggart, just filling in the story - and remembering one of life's sweeter moments in a wonderful place. Anyway, some days after the classroom congratulations, dad and I dutifully marched into Aurelio Baldor's office to receive the scholarship award and a "well done" pat on the back. And it was thus the lil' guy saved his parents a year's tuition at Baldor. Not bad for a 3rd grader. You know, I still remember one of the trick sentences we had to write on the test for the contest-although the accent marks will have to be forsaken for the sake of avoiding display problems with your browser. Here 'tis: "Se cayo, y no dijo nada; se callo." "He fell, but said nothing; he was silent." You see, "cayo" - to fall - in Spanish - sounds the same as "callo" - to be quiet or silent. The letter "o" is accented in each word. No doubt some fell victim to that tricky sentence...

Oh, before I forget - the kid had another reward from his proud parents. He was taken to dinner shortly after, the venue being the La Torre (The Tower) restaurant at the Focsa building. The beautiful nightime views of Havana from the 32nd story and the good food are still fondly remembered, 576 months later. This contemporary photo from gives you an idea of what a goggle-eyed kid saw that memorable 1958 night from behind La Torre's glass panes.

This page from the yearbook introduces Dr. Buigas, Assistant Director - call him Assistant Principal; Dr. Rebollar, Inspector or Superintendent of Baldor's Elementary grades and the Academy's Business School; Dr. Martinez, another Superintendent over Baldor's Elementary School.

I remember them all, but specially Dr. Martinez. He was the "enforcer" at recess, vigilantly patrolling, eyes hidden behind his sinister-looking sunglasses...sinister at least to impressionable "muchachos." If he saw you misbehaving, acting up, fighting, what have you, he would declare, in stentorian voice: "Pa' la pared!" - "To the Wall!" Fear not, reader - not the same wall of shame at Cabana Fortress where starting in 1959, Cuban patriots would bravely end their days in front of firing squads composed of thugs clad in mold-green garb. No, this was a "time out" wall, where you stood in boredom, deterred by invisible bars, until Dr. Martinez decided it was time to parole you. Don't get me wrong. I bear him no ill will, but I still think it unfair that, one time, eyeing me and a buddy suspiciously, he peremptorily ordered the two of us "to the wall," adding insult to injury with this rejoinder: "Just in case!" By God, preventive detention! A precursor of the "revolutionary" method of detaining folks for the concocted "crime" termed "dangerousness" by the maximum mold-green thug and his stormtroopers? I am sure Dr. Martinez would have been horrified at the idea someone would actually implement such lunacy. Alas, lunacy did come to pass.

And in fact, speaking of unjust detentions, Dr. Buigas and other Baldor faculty members were arrested and confined at La Cabana fortress prison in April 1961, when the school was seized - illegally and without just cause - by the mold-green slugs-and-thugs. Fortunately, most if not all were able to leave Cuba and escape from the clutches of the "revolutionary" carrion-eaters.

Let me just get something off my chest now, which Aurelio Baldor would not approve of, because he believed that education should include promoting good manners, proper behavior, and the use of appropriate language. At the risk of violating Baldor tradition, this is what I say to those slugs, if any are still around, who seized Dr. Buigas and other faculty members at gunpoint that fateful day in April 1961: YOU WERE, ARE, AND ALWAYS WILL BE COWARDLY BASTARDS WHO DESERVE TO ROT IN HELL. There, I feel better.

In the schoolyard we gathered for recess and to eat our snacks and drink the beverages our mothers had dutifully packed in our metal lunchboxes - remember those? I think I had a "Hopalong Cassidy" lunchbox at one time; there were others differently themed, such as one seen depicting "Wild Bill Hickock and Jingles."

The sound we did not want to hear was the sound of breaking glass insulation when one had the misfortune of dropping the thermos bottle out of the lunchbox...there went your delicious "cafe con leche" your mom had lovingly fixed for you. Yes readers, we drank coffe-and-milk. And we're still alive and well. Most of us, anyway.

Here is the Baldor schoolyard, summer 2004...photograph courtesy my cousin Ana, whose mother, Susy, is a niece of Aurelio Baldor.

So sad to see the almost-empty yard - as if the spirit of Baldor had left, never to return. The children now wear "de rigueur" communist "pioneer" uniforms with the obligatory blood-red scarf. The little concession stand where I would purchase "jawbreaker" candy is shuttered. The auditorium where our class would go see movies about nature, or other educational subjects - always a treat - is on the left. Ah, got another anecdote for you, about a little amusing incident which took place right in front of the auditorium - involving yours truly and Susy Baldor.

Who is shown here, the studio photo dating from around the time of the "incident," 1958 or 1959. It goes like this. One sunny day, my class was marching into the recess yard when we noticed some teenage girls in their Baldor uniforms looking out the auditorium window. Susy, whom the young man barely knew but had heard of, fixed her eyes on her target, and called out for the whole world to hear: "Are you Albert? I am your cousin's girlfriend!" Imagine...there I was at that age when you HATE girls, except maybe your mother or your lady teacher - and here is this OLDER GIRL shouting something embarrassing about boyfriends and girlfriends.

Then, to make matters worse, my classmates started laughing, jabbing me in the ribs, shouting "She's YOUR girlfriend! She's YOUR girlfriend!" "No she's NOT! No she's NOT!," yelled back the beet-red kid who wanted to hide inside a shell...I felt like punching them all out and telling that GIRL to LEAVE ME ALONE!

To this day, Susy and I reminisce about that and we have a good laugh about it. Eventually, I got over hating girls. I had to - am surrounded by them now...

OK - let's move on. And speaking of moving on, let's take a look at Baldor's bus fleet - because unless you were fleet of feet and lived within walking distance - or your dad drove you there, you would have relied on one of these nice buses to get you to school on time. All 32 of them, to be exact.

The yearbook proudly touted the features of the buses - 14 of them acquired, at $10,000 apiece for the '55-'56 school year - "for the safety and comfort of your children." The body maker, Blue Bird, is still in business. These workhorses were no doubt "trashed" under their "new mis-management" after the school was taken over in 1961. They're good at that, those puke-green slugs - good at turning everything into trash.

Towards the end of my years at Baldor, I rode Bus Number 7, or as we called "her," "La Siete," from Focsa at 17 and M streets, to Baldor at Avenida De Los Presidentes - Presidential Avenue; these images from the yearbook help me recall the pleasant ride, and the "ambiance" on the bus.
Maybe this is a good time to tell you about another unique thing-some would call it a privilege-we were lucky to experience during our Havana school years. We had a loooooong break during the day. School began at 8:30 AM; we then broke for rest and lunch at 11:30 AM. The break or lunch period lasted THREE hours - three hours of freedom! Those of us fortunate enough to be close to home, as yours truly was, or to have a wonderful grandma living across the street - at G street, number 358, to be exact - would go home, or to grandma's for a nice lunch - grandmother Maria could fix a mean "picadillo con arroz, frijoles negros y platanos fritos;" that's beef hash, Cuban style with black beans, white rice, and sweet plantains - a meal fit for a king, forget foie gras, pheasant under glass and all of that junk. So, many times, promptly at eleven, I'd find one of my uncles waiting for me, and we'd cross G street and head here...

The photo was also taken by cousin Ana in summer, 2004 - the place seems to somehow be holding up. Unless memory fails, I recall grandma's apartment was in the middle of the building, left side, the balcony facing north towards Malecon, the thoroughfare bordering the Havana coastline.

On the other hand, perhaps dad would show up in his '55 Chevy Bel Air and take me home to Focsa, where after lunch and only after doing assigned schoolwork, I could watch cartoons, shows, adventure serials and such on this very TV set...was it a Phillips?

Well, we have visitors! Aunts Josephine and Dolores, who both also lived at G street, number 358...and there's little 'sis. Well, nice to see you all, but please don't block my view 'cause I wanna see my favorite space adventure series...
Raise your hand if you watched Flash Gordon episodes during your 3-hour "r and r" period between classes at Baldor! Do you remember Flash, Dr. Zarkov, Dale Arden, Princess Aura and, of course, Flash's nemesis, Emperor Ming the Merciless? I think I remember having a little bit of a crush on Dale Arden, even though the snotty 7-or-8-year-old wasn't supposed to like GIRLS.

"Time is up; turn off the TV and get your books. You are going back to school!" And back to school it was until 5:00 PM.

Before blogger boy forgets - these images of the Flash Gordon series - titled "Space Soldiers," came from the website created by Larry "Buster" Crabbe's granddaughter, Lindsay Crabbe. Larry played Flash in the series; if you are a Flash fan, set aside some time and space, head to for a true Flash feast.

Tempus fugit. The first year for our Kindergarten or "Pre-primario" class ended in June 1956. And on 9th and 10th June, there was an awards ceremony at the school auditorium/theater, as documented in the yearbook.

Seems as if that particular class had a bunch of smarties in it - or maybe smart alecks? Like the one best known to me...heh, heh. Do you see your name on that list? By all means, please drop by via the "comments" feature - we of the Baldorian Pre-Primario B Brotherhood would love to re-connect with all our classmates.

You received small prizes, medals, and such at these award ceremonies. I no longer have mine, but at least can show you two small relics from those days.

For good behavior, you received a "Conducta" or Good Conduct medal - this one I found at the Cuba Nostalgia event in 2004. Believe it or not, actually earned a couple of those here and there, during the Baldor years. The lapel pin actually came with me into exile in 1960, and needless to say, it is greatly treasured. Lo and behold, it is NOT made in China, but was manufactured by the firm of Fuentes and Alvarez in Havana. No outsourcing to China or India, back then. Made In Cuba.

The graduation ceremonies for the upper classmen - and women - took place at the America Theater in Havana, on Sunday, the 24th of June 1956. Fortunate were they, these young men and women, in that they finished their education at Baldor without interruption. The June 1960 class was the last one to graduate from the school, amidst the turmoil caused by the green slugs and Cuba's own version of Ming the Merciless...actually, that is an unfair comparison. Ming had more class, and some semblance of humanity.

The started in 1959; early that year, after Cuba's takeover by the green slug (Flash Gordon - where were you when we needed you to vaporize that alien creature?) and its minions, some of Baldor's faculty - 32 of them, in fact - struck against the school. Supposedly this involved disputes over pay, but needless to say the politics of the times were intertwined. Some thought the pay issue was a pretext to oust Aurelio Baldor, and then solicit "revolutionary intervention" to "save" the school. For almost two months Baldor was shut down, many students having to enroll in other schools so as not to ruin their academic year. I was one of them. Mom and dad enrolled me in a small school, owned by a certain Angel Del Cerro, located in an old mansion within walking distance of Focsa. That school was called "Colegio San Pablo," that is, "St. Paul's School." I was out of sorts during the entire period of attendance at San Pablo - it was a nice place, but it was not Baldor.

Fortunately, the strike was settled after the 32 striking faculty members agreed to resign. A certain individual who fancied himself Cuba's greatest teacher, leader, know-it-all, etc. etc. got involved in the negotiations, and supposedly was instrumental in "resolving" the problem. Of course he would be instrumental - when you are backed up with an army of green slugs toting guns all over the place.

The story is documented in this article published by the newspaper "Prensa Libre," that is, "The Free Press," on May 3, 1959, which fortuitously was saved when mother cut it out of the paper because there was another article of interest to her printed on the other side. Regretfully, cannot offer the readers a translation - it would take up too much space and be too time consuming. But those of you who read Spanish will no doubt be able to read between the lines...

Mom and dad fully supported Dr. Baldor and the school throughout this period, and manifested their support openly, as you can see if you view the sign affixed to the plate glass in the facade of their jewelry store.

See the sign? On the left - the reflection on the glass hides part of it - but it says, above the Baldor logo, "We support the students of Baldor School."

The strike ended, the school re-opened and the little guy was happy as a clam to get back to his familiar and warm environment, reuniting with his friends. Little did he know that a short 18 months later, he would be saying goodbye to Baldor forever.

The Baldor Alumni Association in Miami recently sent me copies of their publication, "CABI." There are some wonderful photographs of the school, which evoke good memories for those who walked the Academy's halls. I hope the good folks of the Alumni Association will not mind if this former Baldor student posts some of them in the blog.

The large house - known as Tarafa Palace, until leased by Dr. Baldor for the school in 1941 - you see on top of the photo set is where our Pre-Primario B classroom was located. We went up the staircase, seen on the left side, evey morning - a very prominent feature; most "Baldorians" I come across remember the staircase well.

The black-and-white photograps date to the '40s; the color image is from 1999; the passage of time and "revolutionary" neglect is evident. Rest assured Aurelio Baldor or his successors would not have allowed such deterioration to take place.

If you wish to compare and contrast, look at these images, courtesy of cousin Ana, from 2004 -- you have already seen one of the schoolyard.

You could call the format a "cascade of Baldor graphics."

Here's one from another "Baldorian," Gilda - we met through cyberspace because of our common bond and interests as former and proud students of Academia Baldor.

This is "Aula 2," or Classroom 2, according to Gilda, who took the photograph during her trip to Cuba in 2000. "This was my classroom," she said in the email accompanying the photograph. Peeling paint, broken windows - truly a sad picture.

Oh, but the curmudgeon of Havana has more or less refurbished the school since then - notice things looked better in Ana's 2004 photographs. The school has also been renamed "Colegio Espanol" - "Spanish School." It caters to students from the European Union. My question to you, "Mr." ill-educated curmudgeon: Why is it that Cuban children cannot attend? Not good enough for you? I tell you, "Mr." puke-green dying are getting your just desserts these days. Someday, after you are - hopefully soon - gone, a new Baldor will rise from the ashes in a free Cuba, to carry on the tradition of properly educating future generations - for God, for family, for Cuba. And there is not a damn thing you will be able to do about it.

1959-1960 was my last full school year in Baldor. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, maybe the unsettled times had a hand in it, the 'lil guy did not do so well in math and had to attend summer school in order to graduate into 5th grade. However, thanks to capable instruction from another Baldor teacher, Professor Duarte, the young man "aced" the mathematics test at the end of the summer and graduated to 5th grade, attested to by the sole document we managed to keep from those days.

And so, school began in September and our little band was together again in 5th grade - for the last time. And another little Quiroga joined the Band of Baldorians, although she would only enjoy the privilege for a little less than two months.

Yep, little 'sis became a "Baldor Girl," as you can see by the presence of the school logo on her blouse. Wonder why she looks pissed in the photograph? Maybe I was bugging her. Or maybe she did not want her photograph taken. Regardless, you too are one of us, sister!

You run into Baldor people everywhere...this year had the pleasure of meeting Patricio Texidor - heard of Texidor Fine Art? You can also find a link to his blog here. Patricio was another Baldor student, as we found out during our conversation - we met at Cuba Nostalgia. He was in 4th grade when this Baldorian started 5th. The quality shines through, Patricio! But, that is what we expect when you say: "I was an Academia Baldor student."

Are you exhausted from this educational experience? Remember, to get a good education sometimes you must work exhaustingly hard. Not to worry, recess is upon us! One more thing before closing this post. All of us Baldor boys and girls should keep the memories alive of a very special school, which we were fortunate to be part of, in a unique time and place. One way to do that is to keep connected through the Alumni Association. They welcome all former students - the common bond is Baldor, and nothing else is needed. This guy has been procrastinating, but will be joining them in the next few days. For you, Baldorians who may stumble upon this ramblin' rant, here's your "snail mail" link to the school's Alumni Association - perhaps someday there will be a website.

Evil men may think they can erase the good works and subjugate the good men and women of an institution like Baldor. This has not happened, and will never happen. Evil will pass, but the spirit and goodness of Baldor shall live on. We the Baldorians of 1932 to 1961 are living proof of that.

This is dedicated to my friends from the Class of '55-'60, the ones reunited and the ones yet to be found, and to the Baldor family, to all of you, students and faculty, from all generations, whether from 1932, 1961, or anywhere in between. God bless you.


At 11:20 PM, Blogger ziva said...

Al, what a wonderful tribute to your school and to the real Cuba, the free one alive in the hearts of Cubans everywhere. How did I miss that you & Pat attended the same school? Thanks for sharing another great file from the Quiroga vault.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

My father graduated from Baldor. My mother attended as well but never finished thanks to the curmudgeon called castro.

Great post as usual, Alberto. Your blog is truly a treat and the photocopied photos actually look quite good. Half a loaf is indeed better than no loaf.

Best regards,


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Albert Quiroga said...

Thank you all for your kind comments - if my writing has any coherence, a lot of credit goes to the academic foundation I received at Baldor...I believe it was when I started 4th grade, the school started having afternoon sessions in English, which essentially immersed you in the language - very forward-thinking and, although unbeknownst at the time, good preparation for the future.

Henry, very gratified to know your father was another member of the "Baldor Brotherhood" - and as stated in the post in reference to Pat Texidor, bet the "quality shines through" for your father as well. All thanks to the quality education we the lucky ones to have been part of the Baldor experience received there.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Davette said...

What a tribute to Baldor! Actually, Dr. Baldor was my math teacher in high school at Stevens Academy, a small private school in Hoboken, New Jersey from 1962 to1966. He was a really excellent teacher. None of us had any idea that he had been a very well-known person in Cuba.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I studied at that place from 1978-1983 The name of the school was then "Tomas David Royo Valdes"
The state of the house was deplorable already at that time.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger rluis said...

I could hardly believe it!!!
Not only do I stumble on this page by pure chance, but I even find my name in one of the lists in mid-page... (The one before last in both lists, Aritmetica and Lenguage).
After I was over the goose-bumps, I took a trip down memory lane that took me to the first Christmas I celebrated at Baldor (1956), and it brought back the warmest, most beautiful memories of my entire life!
Unfortunately, I don't have a good memory, but from my time at Baldor Like many other Baldorians, I don't remember if it was third or fourth grade, we started the afternoon sessions in English. Who would have know back then how important this was going to be in the future?!...


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is wonderful, what a detailed description of my School. The reason I was looking for some information of Baldor is because I am helping to organize the celebration of our 50th anniversary of our graduation 1957 - 2007, and I am trying to find as many graduates as possible. I printed all your pages, I am going to read them over and over again, and I will show it to my American son; so he can see what we had in Cuba. Excellent job, I know you put a lot of time writing so beautifully about our dear Dr. Aurelio Baldor, but he was the one who instilled the love on you. Congratulations
Sylvia Mola (Bachillerato-Ciencias 1957)

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola chicos, estudie en Baldor el
mas prestigioso plantel que existio
en la Havana,cuantos buenos cubanos
se forjaron alli,tengo un libro del
1955 56 y quisiera tener hasta el 1960.
Yo compartiria el mio para que le tomen fotos a sus aulas y sus amigos de entonces.

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Armando Braña said...

I attended Baldor until 1961 when the school was taken over by the devil. I'm trying to reconect with some of my friends from that era like Leyda Lugo and Anita Diaz Calderon. You can write to me at

Armando Braña

At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many wonderful memories came back, I was walking the halls again, how sad to see the 2000 photo, bye, bye Colegio Baldor…

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I studied there too but at my time it was "Tomas David Royo Valdes" from 1975-1981

At 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Quiroga! you did a great job with this blog.
I was sent this link by Zoraida C from my Bachillerato '61 class. When we go to the Antiguos Alumnos Reunions we are the babies of the group. How sad that it all ended and there are no more graduates of one of the best schools, not only in Cuba, but in all of Latin America.

I am sure there are many people with a smile or a tear in their face as they read this and see the pictures.
Perhaps a couple of the ones that we are missing from our year can be trace as they stuble into this page, like Oscar Gutierrez and Maximiliano creo Rodriguez apellido.
Yo soy Maria Magdalena Velasco 1961

At 1:47 PM, Blogger SNOW said...

Thanks for the memories! "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." PERICLES
Aurelio Baldor, along with his family, have left a strong and wonderful legacy in the lives of many, including my sister’s and mine. I attended Baldor from Pre-Primario until Bachillerato in 1961I left Cuba in 1962 as a Pedro Pan. My sister, 3 years older than I, also attended. Quiroga; I am 4 years older than you. I must rub it in… I was able to enjoy Baldor a little longer than you. My sister and I were “pupilas” for a while. Jesus Baldor, Aurelio’s brother and Lourdes and Susy’s father, along with his wife Azucena ran “el pupilaje” as well as Kingdergarten. Those were the days my friend! Those were the days… When we were not "internadas," (boarding) we took bus #5 to Baldor. This bus would also pick up, Mirtica de Perales' daughter from her salon in Paseo y Linea. This was at the end of our trip from Ampliacion de Almendares.
I thank Armando Braña for sending this to me. It was a good cry, but well worth it. My sister and I would also like to find many good friends. To name only a few; Zenaida Capote, Armando Codina, Julito Fernandez, Mireya Castañon, Tina Jones, Carmelina Castellanos, Miguel Fresneda, Armando Cuesta, Jorge Sarria, Armando Urra. Sabemos que Jorge Codinach, fue asesinado en California. And, to close... Does anyone remember Profesora Lombillo? She taught Religion and I believe for a while, she assisted in the boarding school also. My name is Maria de las Nieves Aulet Pizarrosa and my sister is Gerardina Aulet. Me pueden contactar en

At 9:24 PM, Blogger sergioamoreno said...

My sister Lia and I attended Baldor since 1951 though 1959 and have nothing but fond memories. I made it a point to visit the 17th Street campus on my first and only vivit to "mi Cuba" since my family left in late 1960. My heart broke, must of the school was in such desrepair that it was not safe to climb "las escalinatas: to the second floor. The Jose Marti bust was in pieces but the caretaker obligingly brought it out got mr to take a picture. The dissecated lion however had long disdappeared. The flood of memories lasted for days...

At 9:35 PM, Blogger sergioamoreno said...

My sister Lia and I attended Baldor from 1951 through 1959. We left Cuba in 1960 and I visited the island in 2006. My old school was the place I visited - it was desserted! The caretaker told me the second floor was unsafe to visit as the roof and floors were sagging. I asked about the Jose Marti bust and it was brought out (in pieces) and placed on the stand for me to photograph. The dissecated lion wa long gone. I lefy knowing Baldor was not its buidings or grounds but the flood of memories that overwhelmed me as I walked away!

At 4:33 PM, Blogger SNOW said...

Sergio! Your sister Lia Moreno was in the same classroom with my sister Gerardina Aulet... My sister also remembers their good friend, Elsie Calafell. Please ask your sister if she remembers. Someone said your sister is a VERY well known painter in Miami, is that true?
By the way, mi gente, the correct name of "Tina Jones" is Graciela Jones. I was SO USED to teasing her with "tinajones," that the name stuck. Sorry... (Nieves Aulet)

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Alina said...

I graduated from Baldor in 1958 what a great school and how many memories of my lovely Cuba.

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Josefina Cardenas said...

Cardenas 1960.

My name is Josefina Cardenas. My graduation was the last one in 1960Dr. Buigas hired me to work at the school till Dec. 1960. I left Cuba after that. You can reach at A GREAT SCHOOL BALDOR WAS!

At 12:37 PM, Blogger elsajuliana said...

Alberto, thank you for bringing these wonderful memories. I had the honor and priviledge to attend "El Colegio Baldor" from second grade to cuarto de Comercio in 1961 the last year. I only have warm and wonderful memories of all those years, seeing el Dr. Baldor walking the halls with his warm and solid figure. I also wrote to him and to my amazement and surprise received a letter from him which I treassure if you like I would e-mail you a copy of it. My maiden name was Elsa Valdes Fernandez and I graduated in 1961 if any of my classmates would like to write to me I would just love it. I have some pictures and medals too. You can write to me at thank you

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Edita said...

It really took me back, I was there the day the school was taken over by that scum and I will never forget that day. My bus was No. 32 and Fernando was the driver. But bad memories aside, my years at Baldor were wonderful, I even sang at one of the actos civicos, good thing no one heard me. 5th grade H, Ingreso I and I forget the others.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger felipe.rodriguez8 said...

I found this page by chance. I graduated in the year 1956. My name is Felipe Rodriguez Labastilla and will like to get in contact with some of my classmates.
My e-mail is I also will like to know when is the next reunion of ex-alummus in Miami.
Good job and great page.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Sara del Castillo Gomez said...

Hi to all of you, I am very happy that someone versed in computer literacy has done something like this for all of us to enjoy. I attended Baldor from 1946 to 1958, the best years of my life. After I graduated, when the afternoon English sessions started, I was lucky enough to be hired as an English teacher(at that time, no degree was necessary to teach english,the requirement was to know the language). This afternoon sessions began in September 1958, at first I was teaching 4th grade boys, but it proved to be too much for me, I was only 17 at the time and asked Dr. Baldor to give me a girls class and so he did. I left in Nov. 1960 also.
In case you don't know it the 4 students in the front cover of the memoria were from left to right Amada Pizarro, Armando Cuesta, Olga Herrera and Juan Manuel Levy, this last one graduated with me in 1958, went to Bay of Pigs, was jailed and when he returned, became a doctor in the area of Baltimore, but I haven't heard from him in a very long time, tried to find him for our fifty year reunion to no avail. My name is Sara del Castillo and can be contacted at Keep up the good work.

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Joaquin said...

You mention a former teacher of you at Baldor. She now lives in Miami and her address is

Caridad Lobato Meunier
9431 SW 4 St. Apt. 312, Miami, Fla. 33174
Phone: 305-552-9763
I tought you may want to get in touch with her
Joaquin P. Pujol

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Albert Quiroga said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Albert Quiroga said...

Bless you Joaquin Pujol, for the contact information about our beloved teacher! We - meaning our little band who have re-connected, have been looking for her and will contact her. We cannot thank you enough!

The kind words and praise from each and every one of you who have commented on this post are deeply appreciated; I hope many Baldor students will find each other here; if time and skills permitted it, I would build a website/blog for Baldor. Perhaps some day that seed of an idea will sprout.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My whole family attended Baldor with few exceptions. My last year was primero de comercio. I left in September 1960 also very suddenly. Thank you for the fond but poignant memories. I recently found Nieves Aulet and Carmen Castellanos in Facebook. You may find other classmates there as well.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of my family attended Baldor. My last year ended in June 1959. Thank you so much for the memories. I recently found Nieves Aulet and Carmen Castellanos in Facebook. You may want to sign up and incorporate your blog.
Alina M. Lopez Marin y Govantes

At 5:04 PM, Blogger bal said...

Great memories. I remember them well. I knew Susie as well as Lourdes. Can not forget Jesus or Pachin Baldor. have great memories from another of your cousins, Teresita. Some of my happier times revolve around my Baldor experiences. I will always value the concepts and integrity taught by Aurelio. Once a Baldorista, always a Baldorista
Armando Leon Gonzalez

At 2:40 AM, Blogger patrick said...

This site is very informative. Very easy to use your tips and tricks. Keep up the good work, you Rock!!!!
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At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola compañeros,yo deje Baldor en el 1960 por viajar (exilarnos) a Mexico
quisiera saber si existe el year book
del 1958 o 1959 comence el 2ndo año
bachillerato pero no recuerdo si lo
termine por la situacion o la toma del plantel por los alumnos en ese
curso,temgo en mi poder el 1955 1956
year book,recuerdo que Otto Reich era
compañero de aula.
Jesus Rodriguez Chacon

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can buy Memorias (Yearbooks of Baldor at a site called

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Aurora Boreal said...

Yo estudié en Baldor y llevaba mucho tiempo buscando informacion y memorias de antiguos alumnos del Colegio.Lo felicito por su prodigiosa memoria gracias a usted pude recordar a mi profesora de Religion la profesora Lombillo toda mi vida he recordado su fisico y lo buena que fue con sus clases y habia olvidado el nombre. Recirde entonces a mi profesora Delia Ortega y a mis amiguitas Olguita Ros, Zoraida Corbo, Celia Aleman, ufff cuantis recuerdos!!!, muchas gracias.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Anthony Palmer said...

An amazing tribute to an amazing man and his gift to so many students, both in Cuba & the US. Like Davette, I was a pupil of Dr. Baldor at Stevens Academy, Hoboken, NJ from 1962 to 1966. A man of true dedication, he was always prepared to assist with problems by being available before and after school hours. By being dedicated to his work, he urged us to be similarly dedicated. On the lighter side, I always remember his nicotine and chalk stained hand (he was a heavy smoker, even in school) and the ever present cup of Cuban coffee in the other. I will be visiting Havana in 2 weeks and look forward to searching for the school or the site were it stood.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger losman said...

wow, great memories and nice write-up, I came across this while searching for information on San Pablo (referenced in this article) which I attended for two years before leaving Havana, Cuba 1960. Looking at the pictures the front of the building seems similar to that of Baldor..... still looking for info on San Pablo.


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