From the Editor

 My First Autograph

How I wish my Father Had Lived to See Our Countrymen Making History


“Cruz is one of three Latinos in the Senate; the others—also Americans of Cuban ancestry—are fellow Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey.[13]”

~ Wikipedia ~

After I said my goodnight prayers, I added a post script, asking God to give me a little something special, the next day. I did not have anything in particular in mind, but I wanted a bit of “I am here and I am on the job” from Him.

When I woke up, Kate told me that she had spoken with someone on Craig’s list that was willing to help us with the yard, for what seems like a reasonable price. I proceeded to drink my coffee feeling like God had answered my prayer and I was most assuredly encouraged. I honestly did not expect more; but I love how God is such a better Father to us than we are children to Him.

A few days before, I had forwarded an email to my sister, Caroline, and to Kate, regarding Senator Marco Rubio, who would be in New Hampshire on August 26, 2015.

I had already decided that this was the year to do something I have always wanted to do; I was going to participate in the joys of a New Hampshire political season. I remember years ago, reading a piece by David Brinkley, where he spoke about how electrifying it was to witness politicians campaigning, at the small scrapyards, where New Englanders take their refuse, on Saturday mornings, thinking I want to partake in this interaction.

Since I was a child, I have loved politics and been involved in working on campaigns, as far back as high school. There is something quite stimulating about walking into a room filled with people that are festooned with buttons or hats, chatting on a phone or to each other, all at the same time, and looking determined to win!

For me, every election provides us with the hope that things, no matter what the things are, can be improved; however, this election also feels especially personal and important. First, I have made no secret of my disdain, for our current national leadership and their policies, secondly, not only is my former Governor, Jeb Bush, seeking the presidency, but two of three Cuban-Americans, in United States Senate, are also campaigning to hold the highest office in the land – how could I not feel engaged?

My sister responded to my email, exactly as I had hoped: “Wanna go?!” Yes, indeed I wanted to go; as did Kate. We made plans, along with my niece, Hannah, to drive to Londonderry, New Hampshire to hear Senator Marco Rubio.

I have seen or heard all of the United States Presidents, beginning with President Carter through President George W. Bush; and have visited all the Presidential Library’s and more than a few presidential birthplaces and homes, along the road. It is my father who gave me a love for history and for America, and it is he who I continue to think about, as this election season unfolds. I was thrilled that my sister wanted to go hear Senator Rubio.

The night before, the night I had asked God for a little special something, I went into my library, and committed what for me was a brazen act – I removed Senator Marco Rubio’s book, An American Son, (which is now available in paperback, as he said) from my bookshelf, almost embarrassed to admit, even to myself, that I would love for him to autograph it.

The book was a gift from Marcial and Adriana, who for me exemplify the American Dream, and who beautifully dedicated it saying:

“Querida Jill, Yo sé que vas a disfrutar esta lectura. Tu te precias de tus raíces cubanas y este testimonio de un compatriota te va hacer sentir orgullosa.”

“Dear Jill, I know that you will enjoy this book. You deeply value your Cuban heritage, and this memoir of a fellow compatriot will make you feel proud.”

Adriana and Marcial were of course correct, not only am I proud of the Senator, but I was also incredibly and deeply moved that they would have given me this book. It has been my honor to witness both of these fine people, take their oath of citizenship, and my admiration and respect for them truly knows no bounds.

I left the Senator’s book on my desk for several hours, coming in and out of the office, looking at the book and debating whether or not the opportunity for him to sign it would even present itself, and if it did, would I have the courage to ask him? I seem to be able to travel to war torn, foreign lands with limited funds, but the thought of approaching a United States Senator, and asking him to autograph my book, on the same page that Adriana and Marcial dedicated it to me, seemed insurmountable. Yet, as I turned my computer off, that night, I picked up the book, and moved it to the dining room table, and shared my hope with Kate.

As I dressed the next day, I took out my Republican pin and my crossed American and Cuban flag pin, attached them to my blouse, left my bedroom, on the way to the car, stopping to pick-up my book; at the very least it fit in my purse, I could take it with me.

The venue, where Senator Rubio spoke, was much smaller and more intimate than I had expected; it filled up quickly and more chairs were added. Caroline, Kate, Hannah, and I engaged in conversation about the candidates, the race, the issues, the process, and the moment we were experiencing.

Senator Rubio came out and spoke for about an hour, the speech was perfect and filled with hope. The question and answer period followed, and the brilliant Cuban-American Senator did not disappoint! He was able to eloquently offer fact laden answers to every question asked, from NASA to computer security; yes Kate asked the final question of the night. His responses and comments concerning ISIS, Iran, Israel, the economy, the Second Amendment, immigration, 911, and Planned Parenthood were all insightful, direct, and sincere. His $100,000 education has served him well.

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As the evening drew to a close, I removed the book from my purse. Kate had offered to approach the Senator, on my behalf, and I know her tenacity; short of some catastrophic event, she would have at least asked him to sign the book, but this was my chance to do more than visit or witness history – I could interact with a historical figure.

Prodded by Caroline, Hannah, and Kate, I crossed to the other side of the room, made my way to within inches of the Senator, and then waited politely, as he turned to leave the room. I was mute; but thankfully, a very kind journalist, took pity on me, and called out: “Senator!” The Senator turned around, and the journalist, whispered to me, that is how you do it. I put the book in front of me, the Senator took the book, and asked me if that was where I wanted him to sign it, it was, and he did, with a pen which Caroline had lent me.

The Senator signed it, and I was overcome with emotion; I told him that as a Cuban-American it was a great honor to have such a man representing us, that I was sorry my Father had not lived to see the Senator’s campaign, wished him the best of luck, and said God bless you. He looked up at me, and told me that my words meant a lot to him. He then handed me back my book, where he had signed his name, and in Spanish written God bless you.

I returned to Caroline, Kate, and Hannah, who photographed the autograph, feeling that I was indeed blessed.

Exuberant, we all went to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a chat. It was Caroline and Hannah’s first experience at a political rally, and I was pleased to have been able to share the moment with them, and grateful for their encouragement, to get my book signed.

The next day, facebook alerted me to Senator Ted Cruz’s planned visit to New Hampshire, on August 30, which I quickly posted in our special family page. “Yes! Perfect!” Caroline quickly responded, in less than four days, we were about to meet yet another Cuban-American Senator, who was running for the presidency! Oh my!

Instead of arriving early, as I normally would, I woke up to a host of small issues, like an iron that would not work, and thus did not arrive in Seabrook, until a few minutes before Senator Cruz. I was a bit surprised to see him, though he was why I had come to Brown’s Lobster Pound. Senator Cruz was literally standing beside me, signing autographs (apparently it is not just me), posing for pictures, and chatting with voters. I savored the moment, feeling a bit like a child waking up on Christmas morning; and I am a bit embarrassed to admit, admiring his very handsome cowboy boots. As he made his way into the dining hall, I followed along, not wanting to be left behind. I did not have a copy of his book, Ted Cruz, A Time for Truth, but with adrenalin flowing, and a momentary lull in those approaching him; I extended my hand, which he took into his own.

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I once again shared with a sitting Senator, that I was a Cuban-American, (I know you may well be tired of the phrase) and that it was a pleasure to be represented nationally by him. He smiled, and I expected him to go on to the next extended hand, instead, he asked me for my name? I was very surprised, not shocked, but surprised, and hesitated for a second before saying Cristina Mosqueda. He then asked me when my parents came from Cuba, and I told him 1961. I could not believe the exchange, which lasted for several minutes, and ended with me telling him that I would be praying him, and him telling me God bless you.

It has been quite a week. When I asked God for a little something special, I did not imagine that I would meet two sitting United States Senators, in the span of four days, and that they would both extol God’s blessing on me. I know, they are politicians who will be shaking thousands and thousands of hands, signing countless autographs and posing for millions of pictures; and I know meeting me did not impact their lives, but they did impact my life, they truly gave me hope for our nation. Both men were extremely intelligent, well spoken, and in possession of a plan to address what I believe are critically serious issues.

On March 23, 2015, the day Senator Ted Cruz announced his bid for the White House, I posted the above quote, on my personal facebook page; I had gone in search of more information. I know as a Christian, I should neither be proud, nor admit to pride; but as I read about the Cuban-Americans in the Senate, I indeed felt proud of not only what these men had accomplished personally, but how a rather small, exiled community had impacted their adopted country, in a little over fifty year span.

Senator Menendez, I do not imagine you will be in New Hampshire, any time soon, thus may I extend my hospitality to you, if you are ever in Maine or Florida; it would be an honor to meet the third Cuban-American United States Senator.

Meanwhile, yes, I am still interested in Jeb Bush, and I am looking forward to attending future political events in New Hampshire; it is wonderful to be able to meet and listen to those men and women who seek to lead the greatest nation in the world; but at the moment, I am overwhelmed with hope and honored to have such fine Cuban-American voices being raised for democracy! May God truly bless you Senators, and may the best man win! That is all for now.

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