Mary’s family emigrated from Cuba in 1959. On her first return visit since then, Classic Journeys tour leader, Eric, helped her reconnect with family members with whom she’d been out of touch for more than five decades.

Her day of discovery started when she and a friend hopped into a classic 1950’s car with Eric to a Havana neighborhood that she barely remembered. She thought her father’s younger sister might still live there, but there had been no contact since the family went into exile.​

Mary’s grandfather, Lucilo de la Peña, was once President of the Cuban Senate and owned a newspaper. Eric stopped at a friend of his who lived in the neighborhood to ask if she knew the family. Though the friend wasn’t familiar with the family, she directed them to an area full of elegant old homes and there, they lucked into a conversation with someone who’d known the family for generations.

With that additional information, they got directions to the family home nearby. Though her aunt and her husband were on vacation, Mary managed to connect with another member of the younger generation who welcomed her warmly where the fourth generation of her family still lives. Remarkably, the home was much as she remembered it, with original furnishings and colonial-era décor. There were even portraits of her grandparents on the wall.

Thanks to the detective work that she pulled off with Eric’s help, the family has been reconnected after 56 years apart. Mary hopes to return soon with Classic Journeys to visit her aunt.