A Tale of Two Cities
The word of my city is that word from of old.
— Walt Whitman, “Mannahatta”
As a child I fell under the spell of two great cities. Until November of 1960, when we left Cuba for good, Havana was my home. Never gray except in winter when a norther blew through it, it was almost always happy and clear, the antithesis of Dickens’ soulless London or Victor Hugo’s sordid Paris. Havana in those days might have had its terrors and sorrows, but it was, above all, a city of activity and hope. It was, besides, the place that first instilled in me an interest in human beings and sparked a curiosity for the physical world—the sun, the sea, the bay—of which it was so much a part. Read more…