It was while walking through the streets of San Francisco, discussing with Marvin Frankel our respective childhoods, his in the Bronx and mine in Havana, that the idea for this book originated.
As I began to put fingers to computer, I found progress difficult to make. Either nothing would come to mind or a torrent of memories would overwhelm my ability to write things down. I started the book and gave it up several times, and would use all sort of excuses to keep away from it.
Kerstin Eggers saw the first twenty or thirty pages I had managed to write in the first couple of months and became a firm advocate of the project. Without her persistent encouragement, constructive nudging and editorial counsel, I doubt I would have seen the task to completion.
Our son, Alejandro, undertook the thankless task of bringing some order to the untidy stream of consciousness that constituted the book’s first draft. He has been an able and sensitive editor and only seldom could I object to his suggestions. I am very grateful for his assistance— and patience.