Bodden, formerly Jane Hurst, was introduced to Cuba in 1957, she said, when her father, part of a team of supervisors from Texaco, was sent there to open a refinery in Santiago.
The family lived in a hotel for a while, waiting as a home was built for them, she said.
In Santiago, Bodden and her brother made friends with the other supervisors’ kids.
“We were given a lot of freedom,” she said, adding that they could come and go pretty much as they pleased.
Taking advantage of it, they explored their new home inside out.
Among the sights she remembers most, along with San Juan Hill and the home where Desi Arnaz grew up, were the beautiful Sierra Maestra mountains, which came almost up to her doorstep in Santiago.
It was in those mountains, where Castro and a small band of comrades had taken refuge, that the Cuban Revolution had its official beginnings.
Those first guns that Bodden saw and heard were just a few hundred yards from her neighborhood and signaled that the fight was heating up as Castro’s rebels engaged with the forces of dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The family was never in any immediate danger, she said.
But her dad would soon have problems at the refinery, where guerillas came and tore down the fences.
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