Sometime in 1954
At the age of 16 Alberto was already working at the Jose Marti Airport in Rancho Boyeros in the baggage check room, it was a job his father Arturo had gotten for him.
Alberto remembers one day getting off work and seeing a friend named Miguelito who went by the nickname “Bacardí” – He was nicknamed Bacardí because he was under contract as a bartender at the Airport to give away taste test or “shots” of Bacardi to the international travelers as they entered Cuba.
He recalls saying “Oye Bacardí,, ¿Cuando me vas a dar una botella?”, and then at once Miguelito takes out a bottle and puts it on the counter top and tells Alberto “¡Vaya, esta es para ti!” here, this is for you – So Alberto grabs the bottle and heads home on the bus at about six in the evening, but before heading home he stops off at the neighborhood bar where his brother Antonio, Amador and father Arturo would frequent. He walks in and ask the girl for a glass full of ice, after looking around to make sure neither the bartender nor the waitress are looking he sneaks his Bacardi out of his pocket so he would not have to spend his money. Within 45 minutes half the one liter bottle is gone, at this time the owner who knows Alberto well comes out and says “ Rogina, if you don’t buy from us, you can’t stay here” Alberto replies “ Muy bien, entonces traeme una cerveza” so with only one glass all he could do was mix the Bacardi with the beer. The hours passed and finally at around 11pm when he leaves the bar he had just about an inch from the bottom left of his bottle and had drank 3 beers.
On his walk home that night of no more than a short block and half, as he approach the corner before turning to his house there was a light post right in the middle of the sidewalk, so he stood and stared at it and did not know which side of the post to walk on because he thought that the post was moving as he was swaying back and forth. Finally he straightens up and walks past the post and up to the iron gate that guarded his house and as he takes the two steps needed to get to the porch he wipes out flat in front of the door.
There he laid asleep till about one in the morning,when he comes to he says to himself “Coño, esta es una situacion”, so he finally walks into his house (in those days houses were not locked) it was dark, he did not want to wake up his father, but he knows where all the furniture is placed on the way to his room, so it should be a quick quiet walk, but that night his father Arturo had had a party and the furniture had been moved around.
After a few steps he knocks his feet on the furniture and hits the floor again, he thinks “ if my father sees me there will be hell to pay” after all the noise Alberto knew that his father would be out immediately, so he got up, quickly got into his room and with all his clothes still on, jumped in bed and under the covers, within a minute his father was at the door, he turns on the light , and Alberto says’ Coño viejo, apaga la luz, no puedo dormir”
Surely Arturo laughing inside knowing what his son had just gone through..
It was the norm to go drinking at a young age; this is when fathers and sons had their first beers together. Alberto, Antonio and Amador as teens would go to the bar with their father Arturo.
Link to The Bacardi Story: From Exile to Icon Status
Story was written with permission and consent from Alberto Lopez-Rogina
NOTE: To all my cousins, there are 25 of us. We are the sons and daughters of Ana, Armando, Antonio, Alberto, Amalia, Amador, Xiomara, Ileana and Mayra. It has been about 11 months since I've started this project, thank you to all that have contributed with photos and information. My goal on this "our families" page is to capture the stories of our parents to pass to our children and to future generations with a different memory every month. If each of us took the time to get with our parents to get a story of their struggles, their accomplishments as well as their dreams and even a lighthearted story like the one above, then each of us would only have to tell a story once every two years.
Many have shared already, Colita with her tribute to Rosa. Jackie, Vilma, Carmen, Colita and Robert with the tribute to Arturo.
So this is to - Rafael, Colita, Rose Mary, Robert, Alex, Charlie, Tony, Patricia, Tony, Sergio, Michelle, Vilma, Vivian, Pablo, Ana Maria, Jackie, Blanca Rosa, Amador, Arturo, Antonio, Carlos, Rene, Elizabeth, Gerry and Dominick. Please go to your parents get a story which you would like to pass down to your children and one day your grandchildren. Yes, the photos are very nice, but one can only guess the story. It is up to us to pass our family history to future generations.