Miami Stories

Miami Stories are tidbits of life in the Magic City and its surroundings. To submit your story and photos, click here.

Your submission may be aired on WLRN 91.3 FM/91.5 FM, posted on, published in the Herald's Neighbors section's Sunday edition, and archived at

This project is a partnership among HistoryMiami, WLRN, the Miami Herald Media Company and Michael Weiser, chairman of the National Conference on Citizenship.

Doree Fromberg


This story, as told by Dr.Richard Epstein and Dr. Gil Epstein, is part of an oral history series.

Every mother who wanted to buy her daughter a stunning dress will remember the name Dorissa of Miami.

This is the story of our mother, Doree Fromberg, a girl who won a scholarship to attend the New York Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) after graduating high school, began designing and sewing dresses in her home in Miami and developed the business into an international company.



It feels like a high-speed chase west on the ironically named Dolphin Expressway, veering south on what follows as a seamless string of highway on the "Palmetto," the Don Shula Expressway and the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, all certifiable assaults on the nervous system.

Working At The Airport Becomes Sociology Lesson

Jun 19, 2015
Heidi Anthony


This story, as told by Heidi Anthony, is part of an oral history series.

I started working at Miami International Airport in 1988. My mind was young and impressionable and clueless.

Miami Theater Brings A Lifetime Of Inspiration

Mar 29, 2015


This story, as told by Veronica Diaz, is part of an oral history series.

Let’s set the scene: It’s early 2004, and my mother is taking my younger sister and me to go watch Cats: The Musical at what was then known as Jackie Gleason Theater on Miami Beach.

MiamiStories: Up In Smoke

Nov 24, 2014

This story, as told by Oscar Fuentes, is part of an oral history series.

It was the summer of 2003; I was living in a very old and ugly apartment building between Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 2nd Avenue, off of 33rd Street. I had a bitter, mentally unstable landlord that walked around with a concealed weapon. I had a part-time gig at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, now HistoryMiami. I would give guided tours of the permanent galleries and write historical theater scripts for their summer camp program.

A Cuban Rafter Looks Back, 20 Years Later

Aug 14, 2014
the Miami Herald

This story, as told by Pedro Fournier, is part of an oral history series.

I was born in Guantánamo in 1956. I moved to Havana as a teenager to study and ultimately graduated with a math degree. In 1994, I decided take a raft to the United States. 

I had to leave Cuba. I had no future there.

This story, as told by Olga Perez-Cormier, is part of an oral history series. 

It was always exciting when Abuela would tell me that she needed to go downtown for the day. This meant she had business to attend to at “El Refugio,” the Cuban Assistance Center. This also meant that we would do a little shopping. As a reward for helping her translate and get around, she would treat me to lunch at McCrory’s.

A Miami Story: The Litzes Take Miami

Jun 4, 2014

This story, as told by Ronni Litz Julien, is part of an oral history series. 

Sheila Presser (Bronx-born) and Norman Litz (a Philadelphian) both moved to Florida with their families in 1946. 

Sheila graduated from South Broward High School, named “wittiest” in her senior class.  Norman graduated from Miami High School, a left-handed star pitcher on the baseball team; he was also known as “Lefty Litz.”  Upon graduation, the University of Miami offered Norman a baseball scholarship; he pitched for two years as a Miami Hurricane. 

For 89 Years, A Charmed Life In Miami

Apr 25, 2014

Miami Stories is a project by WLRN, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and HistoryMiami. To share your story, click here.

In 1925, my parents and I disembarked in Miami after a three-day train trip from Chicago, and went to stay at a cottage surrounded by a grapefruit grove that belonged to my mother’s aunt. I was three years old, and it marked the beginning of my nearly nine-decade-long adventure in South Florida.

Police Chief Recalls Immigrating To Miami

Apr 8, 2014

This story, as told by Ian Moffett, is part of an oral history series. 

I was born in Georgetown, Guyana, which is the only English-speaking country in South America. At the age of 6, my parents migrated to Toronto, Canada.  

I remember my love for police work came from that tall police officer who visited my third grade classroom for career day. His uniform and command presence stood out the most and left a visual imprint or what I refer to as a personal vision. 

The Many Different Smiles That Make Up Miami

Mar 14, 2014

This story, as told by Marcos Oliveira, is part of an oral history series. 

My experience here in Miami has shown me that here you have the opportunity to make relationships with many kinds of people. This gives you ample possibility to be flexible with people and at the same time with yourself. 

Why? Well at the same time that you’re at a meeting, you can sit in a table with someone that’s from Colombia, another from Venezuela, another from Chile, another from here in Miami, another from Europe. Then you have to maintain a dialogue with those kind of people.

This story, as told by Mark Avila, is part of an oral history series.           

I was born in the city of San Pedro, California. Our family is very large and of Mexican descent. I was the youngest of four children. We grew up in a Catholic parochial school. Then I chose to further my education.

I was the only one in my family who went to college. And I was the only one who decided I did not want to follow the routine that everybody did in the city where I came from, which is basically working on the docks and in the shipyard.

Miami Herald

This is the story of T. Willard Fair as told by him.

I was born in 1939 in Winston-Salem, N.C. I’m the last of eight children. I was born to John Fair and Mary Lou Fair.

People ask me about the name “Talmadge,” which is an unusual name for me to have. The day I was born, I came home and the insurance broker came by and inquired as to whether or not my mother had named me. She said no. He said, “Why don’t you name him Talmadge?’’

Tooling Around Miami As A Teen In The ’60s

Dec 26, 2013

This is the story of Joe Arango as told by him.

My Miami story began the day my KLM flight touched down from Cuba at Miami International Airport.

I was traveling alone in 1961 at the age of 11. I was going to some unknown destination, which turned out to be an orphanage in Colorado, arranged by Operation Pedro Pan. I was reunited with my mother and two younger sisters almost two years later in Miami (we were some of the lucky ones).

Transforming Her Pain: Ligia Houben's Story

Nov 26, 2013

Ligia Houben left Nicaragua for Miami after her father died. She lost her familiar homeland shortly after losing her parent. As part of her grieving process, she wrote extensively. Her efforts became a self-help book that introduced 11 principles for transforming loss. She was astonished by the magic in her numbers.

Listen to her story below.

Houben now teaches classes in Ethics, Religion, and Death and Dying at Florida International University, Kaplan, and Miami Dade College.