Recalling Casa de Sales

Plucked out of post-revolution Cuba, a group of young immigrants learned to succeed—and lead—in Delaware. Would they ever go home?



(page 1 of 3)

Joe Miro, Pedro Ferreira and Yrene Waldron (from left) in front of the former orphanage at 13th and Broom streets in Wilmington. (Photograph by Christian Kaye)Joe Miro was only 15 and leaving Cuba, the country of his birth, for the first time in his life—and probably for good.

He wasn’t worried or afraid. Young Miro was comforted by the fact that his mother would soon join him in the United States. She was scheduled to leave on October 23, 1962, to be reunited with him in Wilmington.

On October 22, 1962, however, President John F. Kennedy announced a quarantine on all shipping into Cuba in response to the discovery of Soviet offensive missiles on the island. The Cuban Missile Crisis had begun, and Miro’s adolescence had been irreversibly altered.

Miro was not the only one. Through Operation Pedro Pan, an effort of the Catholic Welfare Bureau in the United States and the U.S. State Department, thousands of Cuban boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 were being moved to the United States to prevent Fidel Castro from sending them to Communist indoctrination camps in Eastern Europe.

In all, some 14,000 Cuban youths were moved to the United States, either to be reunited with family or to become wards of Catholic-sponsored foster homes, group care homes or temporary orphanages established for the specific purpose.

One such orphanage was Casa de Sales at 13th and Broom streets in Wilmington, which was operated by Salesianum School. According to Miro, 21 young Cuban boys eventually went to live there.

One of those youngsters was Pedro Ferreira, then 15, whose parents feared he and his brother, then 13, could be sent to Eastern Europe.

“I came under the Pedro Pan program, but I didn’t know it was even called that until I was in my 40s,” says Ferreira, a psychologist in Wilmington. “I only found out the name when I attended a psychology seminar and the subject had come up.”

Ferreira was not alone in his ignorance. According to www.pedropan.org, Operation Pedro Pan intentionally avoided publicity, fearing it could be used for propaganda purposes.

The first published reference to Pedro Pan occurred in a 1962 issue of Reader’s Digest. The next occurred in 1988. So many of the 14,000 who came here under the program merely thought they were arriving under the same student exchange programs that had operated between Cuban Catholic schools and the United States in pre-Castro times. (Castro closed all parochial schools, such as Ferreira’s Collegio St. Augustine, following the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961.)

“I thought I was coming here to attend school for maybe six months or so,” recalls Armando Hidalgo, another Casa de Sales alum who, at 64, still operates a successful refrigeration and air conditioning business in Miami. “But my father knew exactly what Castro was all about, and one year following the Bay of Pigs, he said, ‘Cuba is lost forever. I’m sending you to the United States.’”

Pedro Pan also transported young girls to the United States. One presides today as a Delaware Family Court judge. Another, Yrene Waldron, only 10 in 1962, was supposed to leave Cuba with her parents and younger brother. But when Waldron’s father was discovered to be engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, his visa was revoked. His family’s was frozen. Fearing his children might be relocated to the USSR, he pleaded to Pedro Pan.

“He bravely gave us up so that we could live in a democracy,” says Waldron, a licensed nursing home administrator from Wilmington and executive director of the Delaware Healthcare Facilities Association.

Waldron grew up fast. After arriving in Florida City, she learned that she and her brother were to be placed in separate foster homes.
 

Page 2: Recalling Casa de Sales, continues

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

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OperaDelaware Studio
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
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Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: Free

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2nd and 3rd Streets
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


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Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

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501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: 0.00

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Cost: $12-$20

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Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
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January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
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GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Where:
Wilmington Drama League
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Cost: 15

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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