I have put aside my need to write another novel to put together this quasi-memoir, quasi-history for my three-year-old grandson, Ozzy. I would like Ozzy to read, one day, about the life and times in Puerto Rico during those years (1965-1990), as experienced by his “granddadio,” and by his mom, Madeline, who was born and bred (until the age of 11) on that sometime troubled, often colorful, and almost always humane quasi-U.S. colony in the Caribbean.
Hopefully, the general reader will also want to delve into a crucial time in U.S.-Latin-American history when Washington was promoting Puerto Rico as the “Showcase of Democracy in the Caribbean,” to counter Communism, Castro, and Cuba.
There are lots of politics in the stories, as was (and undoubtedly still is) in the everyday life of the island. But also included are Puerto Rico’s show biz and sporting scene of the time, with interviews and articles featuring such visitors as Leonard Bernstein, Muhammed Ali, Sammy Davis Jr., Jose Ferrer, Cary Grant, Norman Mailer, Dizzy Gillespie, et al. Also included is a visit by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and an appreciation of Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest baseball players of the era, and a deeply human being.
I hope this book will offer a both entertaining and moving trip down memory lane for Puerto Ricans who lived through those times; a vivid vicarious visit for the younger, stateside-born generation and a clear journalist’s-eye view for the general reader of an important era in Latin-American history.
~ Bob Friedman