Everybody Has a Story: Orlando Alvarez | PPh
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Everybody Has a Story: Orlando Alvarez

Posted on: Nov 25, 2014

PPh is blessed with residents who have lived remarkable lives.  On November 20, at Founders Day, we featured the stories of three residents.  Below is the life story of Orlando Alvarez

Orlando AlvarezOrlando Alvarez was born in Havana, Cuba, on February 20, 1929.  His parents, Maria and Anthony emigrated to Cuba from Spain.   He has a brother, Anthony, and two sisters, Josefa, and Blanca.

His childhood was like anyone else’s who lived on a Caribbean island—days spent at the beach and the ocean and playing baseball.  However, they had hurricanes all the time. He remembers the Pinar del Río Hurricane of 1944 that caused 300 deaths in rural Cuba.

His father got him a job as a bookkeeper in the office of the Havana electric company.  He met his future wife, Maria Emelina, on a bus to work.  She worked for a clothing manufacturer.

Orlando said, “We took the same bus. I saw her and thought she was pretty.  The bus driver would wait for me to get on if she was already on the bus.”

They dated for a year and were married on December 27, 1950, at a lawyer’s office in Havana.  Their son, Orlando, Jr. was born in 1954.

From 1952 to 1959, Cuba became embroiled in a revolution, which brought Fidel Castro to power. In 1961, Orlando took part in the Bay of Pigs invasion and was captured and put into jail.  He was scheduled to be executed, but the guard mistook him for someone else and let him go.  A friend told him that he must leave the country, because if he didn’t, he would most certainly be killed.  He managed to get his seven year old son and his wife asylum in Venezuela through his brother-in-law.  Lastly, he left, and brought his family to Miami, Florida.

In Miami, he started out washing dishes and cooking and working in a bakery.  His wife worked as a seamstress.  Eventually he got a job with Caribbean Airlines.  Caribbean was bought out by American Airlines and he moved to Queens, New York, and worked at John F. Kennedy Airport as a crew supervisor.

He and his wife retired in 1994 and they traveled extensively to Florida, Hawaii, California, Puerto Rico, Canada, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic.

He is very proud of his son, his daughter in law Patty and his two grandsons, Christopher and Robert.

He moved to PPh after his wife passed away and is happy to be here. He plays bingo for blood and likes to give the candy bar prizes to the staff because he shouldn’t eat them.  From April to October you will find him watching baseball on TV.  Unfortunately, he is a New York fan.

What Residents Say

"In my nine years at PPH, I’ve grown to like it very much. At first, I felt like a stranger and then as I began to talk to people, we increasingly became good friends. A way to meet people is to join clubs. I’m now part of the PPH Auxiliary. I love helping with their flea markets because you never know what you can find. Recently, I’ve joined an evening quilting class. I love that I can continue to enjoy my life outside of PPH while experiencing the offers here.…especially the pool! Everything is just so convenient.

– Lucille Hite, Independent Living resident

What Families Say

"My mom is sooo happy at PPH, I can’t even describe it in strong enough words. She’s met so many new friends and these ladies do EVERYTHING together! She sees Dad every day in Pathways, but can have her life too. She’s gone to so many activities and I think I’ve already been to Scoops with her at least 15 times. She loves the dining room and Bistro too. My sister, Ilene, and I are so delighted that Mom is happy.......Wow, it feels like Mom’s been there about 2 years—but it’s only 2 months!! That’s how comfortable and natural it feels for her – and for all of us.

– Rhonda Frenkel, daughter of resident Bernice Segal

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