Written by Fernando Milanés

5 de septiembre de 2023

By Fernando J. Milanés, M.D.

 It all started in 1961 and my return from the Bay of Pigs invasion.    At that time, I survived economically by selling automobiles.    

At Deel Ford I became one of the top salespersons, but always behind Jim “Jimmy” Culmo, the eternal #1.    

We became friends and had our daily breakfast together as I accompanied Jimmy in his routine.  I left Deel when I applied to UM’s med´s school. 

That hope was thwarted by my being called to report, if needed, to the US Army during the October Missile Crisis.    

Then Jimmy called me to see if I would be his partner at a used car sales lot which was being sold at a great price. He made it clear that I was the only partner he wanted because of his trust in me.    

I borrowed my share ($8,000), and we went into business. In less than 6 months I was able to pay my debt. Then and there started a close friendship while sharing sorrow (his wife’s death) and joy when after some time he remarried.    

We went from friends to family when he asked me to be the Godfather of his daughter, Nancy. Jimmy became the Godfather of my daughter, Hilda.

Culmo-Milanes Auto Sales at SW 8th street and 32 Ave. became popular with all of Jimmy’s friends and my own. It is not an exaggeration to say that Jimmy turned from an Italo-American to include Cuba.    

His younger daughter Amy when she started school responded to the usual introduction of nationality that she did not know if she was American, Italian, or Cuban.    

Jimmy’s wife Irene had a young son named Tommy, that Jimmy adored and as he was a restless child, we told my friend “el guajiro” Gutierrez to teach him rowing.    

Tommy became a great rower, earning a scholarship to U Penn, and is now a well-known, successful attorney. Cindy, Jimmy’s daughter with the late Rosalie, was Nuria’s and my first Culmo close child.    

With Irene, Jimmy had two other daughters: my godchild Nancy and Amy.  Having similar ages and becoming schoolmates made our children very close from an early age.    

Despite Irene and Jimmy passing, the children’s closeness persisted.  To this day they are very close as every family is.    

The reason I am writing these memories is the picture above that show Jimmy’s grandchild Joey (Nancy’s son), and ours Michael (Fernando’s son). In summary our third generation remains as close as Irene, Jimmy, Nuria and I were. Family forever!    

I later earned my medical degree Jimmy after a few years sold the business (never had another partner) and as nature calls our generation will leave, but the Culmos and Milaneses will remain as close as ever.  I am sure that many that read this story will remember our sales lot and Jimmy.

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