Dad joined the US Army by this point , and initially he was stationed in Texas and then South Carolina. But the Vietnam war brought our normal life to an end. Once again, Dad was gone. Communications were very basic back then: Dad couldn't just pick up a cellphone and let us know he was okay. Months would go by without a letter or anything. Eventually he bought two tape recorders -- one he kept with him and one for our house. Dad used to talk into the recorder and send the tapes home. Then we would gather round our machine and tell Dad stories. And I would sing. I still have all the tapes, but I can't listen to them. It hurts too much. After Dad came back from Nam, he wasn't well. He'd been poisoned by Agent Orange and needed quite a lot of looking after. Mum was busy trying to get her Cuban qualifications revalidated by a US university, so I had to take care of Dad and my little sister [Becky]. It was tough. Toward the end, Dad was too far gone and he didn't really know what was hapening around him. I joined Miami Sound Machine in 1975 and we were getting quite successful, but Dad didn't even know who I was. He had to be moved to the hospital. On my wedding day in 1978 [September 2] I went to visit him, still wearing my wedding dress. That was the last time that he said my name. Dad died in 1980, but he touches my life every day. On my last album [Unwrapped] I did a lot of writing while I was looking at a picture of him in his younger days -- so happy and in the prime of his life. I'm not sure if he sees me, but I can feel him all around me. I hope he knows that I am so very proud of him.
Friends and Friendship