In February 1962, three years into Fidel Castro’s rule of their Cuban homeland, the González family—an auto mechanic, his wife, and two young children—landed in Miami with a few personal possessions and two bottles of Cuban rum. As his parents struggled to find work, eleven-year-old Gerardo struggled to fit in at school, where a teacher intimidated him and school authorities placed him on a vocational track. Inspired by a close friend, Gerardo decided to go to college. He not only graduated but, with hard work and determination, placed himself on a path through higher education that brought him to a deanship at the Indiana University School of Education.
In this deeply moving memoir, González recounts his remarkable personal and professional journey. The memoir begins with Gerardo’s childhood in Cuba and recounts the family’s emigration to the United States and struggles to find work and assimilate, and González's upward track through higher education. It demonstrates the transformative power that access to education can have on one person’s life. Gerardo’s journey came full circle when he returned to Cuba fifty years after he left, no longer the scared, disheartened refugee but rather proud, educated, and determined to speak out against those who wished to silence others. It includes treasured photographs and documents from González’s life in Cuba and the US. His is the story of one immigrant attaining the American Dream, told at a time when the fate of millions of refugees throughout the world, and Hispanics in the United States, especially his fellow Cubans, has never been more uncertain.