May 25, 2010

Gregorio Miguens Bentron

Pipo !!!

On the evening of May 7, 2010, Gregorio Miguens Bentron passed naturally from this life. He was known to his beloved family as Pipo. Today, May 25, 2010, would have marked his 95th birthday.

Gregorio was born in Herbon, a poor, small town in the Galician province of Spain in 1915. At the age of five his mother accepted an opurtunity that was fairly common for Galicians of that period to move to Cuba. There they settled in the capital of Havana in the hope of a better life.
Resourceful by nature, young Gregorio took many odd jobs and eventually, though in the midst of the great depression, managed to open a bodega with his younger brother Jose to support their growing family which now included two sisters, Rosita and Elena.
During his years at the bodega Gregorio took to selling novelas in serial form and studied at night at Instituto de la Concepción Adonal. El Instituto provided the young man with a social milue in Havana of like-minded progressives, bohemians and the world of ideas. It was at this time that he developed a profound love for literature and a life-long appreciation for romantic poetry and the power of the printed word.

He enjoyed the work of the surrealists and found a kinship in authors like Frederico Garcia Lorca. It was in the work of Franz Kafka, however, with whom he most identified, particularly in the story of The Metamorphosis (published in the year of his birth), for which he maintained a joyful morbidity that remained with him. For the rest of his life he was known to be vigilant of his own morphing body -regularly check ing to be sure that he, by chance of inheriting the name of the story's protagonist, was not himself turning into an insect.
In 1940 he married Juana Maria Alvarez Ortuzar for whom he wrote countless love poems and they lived devoted to each other to his dying day. They were blessed with four children: Flor Teresa, Sandra, Jose (Pepe) and Francisco. The later's name was chosen when on October 4, 1955, on the feast of St. Francisco de Assisi, Juana Maria, with child, recieved news that Gregorio was struck head-on by a bus while turning a corner on his motorcycle at full speed. The accident left Gregorio in a coma for twenty-one days and in one form of traction or another for over a year.
After his recovery with a face that was totaly reconstructed to resemble by chance the then rising star of Marlon Brando, he was often affectionately called Marlon. Like Marlon, he got right back up, despite the afflictions that plagued his large boned frame for the rest of his life, got a new motorcycle and, as his sons tell it, "… we would ride around town on the moto, the three of us together all over La Habana… and often with the family pig!"
Gregorio's joie de vivre translated well to the Miguens household which became a local meeting hub / information / exchange center for neighbors and friends, to make and recieve telephone calls, watch the new news and programs on the then new and not so common television set.

Juana as Zorro & Pipo as (?) himself (?)

costume party Havana, 40's

On January 1, 1959, in Havana, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was deposed by the 26th of July Movement, more commonly known as The Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro. Although the revolution was initially embraced with entusiasm by the Cuban people, the following years proved that the complexities of power struggles between empires embroiled in "cold war" would be played out on the streets of Havana and every Cuban home.
In a country where family, solidarity, loyalty and honor were the culture's life force, families were torn apart. In an effort to consolidate power, the new government ordered the closing of all free press. This marked the impetus for the first wave of Cuban exiles which included Gregorio's beloved first born daughter, Flor Teresa with her husband and their newborn children.
The post revolutionary years in Cuba left Gregorio with a government job collecting debts related to his old business for re-appropriation for "El Partido" the new people's government. As became the case for many Cubans, these government jobs were merely a front to be able to maintain relations with a surviving network of colleagues and neighbors in order to trade essential goods underground… to this day Cuba's new real economy: black market.

Gregorio and Juana Maria, along with their two sons, Pepe and Frankie, via a long, round-about exile through Spain, eventually were reunited with their exiled families in the United States in 1980, ironically, the same year as the Mariel boat-lift.

New York City
viewed from
Union City, NJ

Settling in Union City, NJ, Gregorio, now well into his sixties devoted his life to his growing family and to writing. While it was known to most of his family that he published a regular news-letter called La Brecha (The Breech), he surprised everyone when he managed to publish "DAN-TI-NEE" La Increíble Historia de Randó Vidáles in 2005.
Over five-hundred pages long "DAN-TI-NEE", the war cry of one Rando Vidáles, chronicles her journey as she embraces her fate to seek a noble revenge for the senseless annihilation of her family at the hands of greedy profiteering scoundrels. Written in a dense and fantastic old Spanish style, the story is set with careful detail in the Andean mountains and villages of Peru of the early 1980's; a labyrinth of moral resolution in a neglected time and place.

La Icreíble Historia de Rando Vidáles
printed by
Al-Quick Quality Printers, NJ
available through alLuPiNiT
ISBN 0-615-12956-0

Discovered among reams of poetry, journals and personal observations were two other novels: one written years ago of uncertain date about a blue-eyed black man that would eventually become the U.S. President called "Blacksmith"… and another unfinished tome about Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln by Gardner August, 1863
Gregorio "Pipo" Miguens Brenton is survived by his wife Juana Maria; four children: Flor Teresa Sánchez, Sandra Garcia, Jose Miguens and Francisco Miguens; eleven grandchildren: Rafael Sánchez, Lourdes Sánchez, Eduardo Sánchez, Francisco Sánchez, Christina Fournier, Maria Lopez, Roberto Garcia, Gisele Miguens, Melissa Miguens, Kelly Miguens and Diego Miguens; and eight great grandchildren: Julia Sánchez, Xander Fournier, Quinn Fournier, Savanah Lopez, Julian Lopez, Emmen Garcia, Alex Garcia and Mariah Garcia.
Gracias Pipo por tus sacrificios, por acceptarnos todos completaménte y por dejárnos con tantos requérdos ricos y con tanto cariño.

Herbon, Galicia, Spain
An exceptional
friend & human being.
Gregorio Miguens Bentron nació el 25 de mayo de 1915 en La Coruña, Galicia, España. En el año 1919 se mudó al Cerro, La Habana, Cuba con su madre, Rosa Miguens Bentron. Ahí conoció a Juana Maria Álvarez con quien se casó en 1940. En el año 1955 tuvo un accidente de motocicleta que casi le quita la vida. Chocó de frente con un auto bus. La historia milagrosa se publicó en el periódico y es el por cual su cara tomó una forma redonda.

He was a self-made entrepreneuer. Sandy-Fort" was the name of his lamp business (named after his daughter Sandra Fortunata.)
He was a writer. His early writings were found in a local Church newspaper called Quo Vadis. His writings included poems, short stories and novels. His most noted poem Cartas Olvidado al Tiempo. His most noted novel DAN-TI-NEE: La Increible Historia de Randó Vidales, published in 2005. Other stories include, Los Suenos, Suenos son and Smith.
He started his magazine Brecha, in May of 1992. The magazine touched on social topics of his time and was distributed internationally.

Melissa Miguens, 5/25/2010