Hollywood resident for 16 years, Cristina Brondo, shares her immense love for the community by expressing herself through painting and poetry.
“I used to spend many days on Hollywood Beach and I loved to watch the palm trees as part of a beautiful landscape,” Brondo says.
One romantically expressive poem she wrote is called Palms of Florida, and came very close to getting it published by the Library of Congress. Unfortunately, her health took an unexpected turn and the poem was not published.
Born in Argentina, Brondo initially wrote the poem in her native tongue, Spanish. She moved to Florida with her two daughters and son over 25 years ago — first to Miami, then to Hollywood after her grandson was born, where a neighboring friend helped her translate the poem in English. She then sent it to the Library of Poetry.
“I don’t remember exactly the time, but the Library of Poetry sent me a letter to inform me that my poem had won placement and they offered to publish it in the annual book of poetry! I was happy and excited for the award, but not for long.”
Around 2005, Brondo started experiencing health issues.
“I had an active life — my job, long walks, swimming; but then I started feeling bad pain and discomfort and started taking aspirin every day. My treating physician was not providing good care and the pain got worse.”
Brondo continued working, but could not longer concentrate on doing the things she loves — painting or writing.
In 2006, a follow up with her GI doctor revealed very high blood pressure. Brondo was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Pembroke Pines, but then immediately transferred to Memorial on Johnson Street.
“As I always say, God, or an angel, was protecting me because when the ambulance arrived at Memorial, everyone – doctors, nurses, all of them were expecting me – treating me with the highest level of care – like I was a person. I mattered and they wanted to help,” she says.
After several hours, five bypasses, and complication with her kidneys, Brondo made it.
“I stayed in ICU for over 18 days, but I survived. The wonderful staff saved my life,” she says.
Life started returning to normal for Brondo but she lost the opportunity to see her poem published.
“Rehabilitation was a slow and difficult process,” Brondo says. “I knew I had to do things to fill the emptiness and shorten the days. So, I switched up the routine. I sat down in front of the computer and started work on a novel. It revolved around Tango, the traditional dance music of my homeland — romantic and philosophical.”
Brondo built a love story between two lonely souls, Mariana and Rodrigo, who unite through tango and the use of email. Two years later, in 2010, Brondo’s book, Amor, e-mail y Tango, Historia de Immigrantes, was published; inspiring her to start painting again — eventually finishing a canvas to go with her poem, ‘Palms of Florida’.
Now in her 80s, Brondo says, “ If I occupy my time doing things that I really love, I take my mind off my problems. It makes me happy and that benefits my health.”
Brondo is grateful for all the people who took care of her – from her family, friends and Hollywood neighbors to the staff at Memorial. “Marvelous human beings and authentic professionals. I will never forget the compassion they treated me with.”
What’s in store for Brondo?
“I have been living in this beautiful city for 16 years and I expect to write and paint for the rest of my life,” she says.
And while her poem was never published in the Library of Congress, it will appear in the February 2016 issue of Hollywood Gazette.
Palms of Florida
Wind dancers, rising to the sky, stoic and lame…..
always caressed by the soft breeze
and sometimes enclosed in the crazy
fury of a wind without brakes.
Faithful sentries of the sea and the sand,
painted in gold by the ardent sun.
Mute confidant of nocturnal romances:
dressed at night with shimmering moon lights.
Ladies of the dreams of the travelers who
dream nostalgically about their green palms,
moving to the wind, in golden beaches
and seas of calm.
Green dancers, gleaned ladies.
You can find Brondo’s book on Amazon.