SLU Presentation on Cuba | Tom Warren

Presentation on Cuba to SLU

SLU Presentation on Cuba | Tom Warren

Tom Warren presenting a talk on Cuba to the Beloit Society for Learning Unlimited (SLU) in the fall of 2015.

Ron Adamson & Tom Warren | Bay of Pigs, Cuba

Friend Ron Adamson & Tom Warren swimming in the Bay of Pigs during their trip to Cuba

SLU is a non-profit  organization that supports life-long learning in the Stateline area.  SLU’s roots are at Beloit College and BC faculty often contribute classes.  Warren visited Cuba a few weeks after the announcement by Presidents Obama and Castro began the process that opened relationships between their two nations.  Warren describes himself as an enthusiastic learner about Cuba . . . not an expert.”

Still some sand

Where is our beach?

Still some sand

Not totally gone.

During spring and summer we have made five or six trips to the cabin (Read: lake) and each time north I have been accompanied by the anxiety of experiencing no beach when we get there.

My expectations have been so pessimistic that almost every time upon arrival I have been mildly encouraged: there is some sand still there and during our most recent trip in early September we were back to having a beach fire on, well, a beach.

Our diminished beach is partly a function of the rising lake, but not totally.   Currents and sand flows that have been very good to us over the decades have moved on.

Lake Superior Shore

Lake Superior worries

Lake Superior Shore

Whenever I talk to my California friends these days the conversation easily moves toward the drought there.  It is serious and I hope it ends soon.  Predictably, I say to them “I wish we could send some of our Lake Superior water to you.”  Sigh.  Yes.  Again this year the lake is up – seven inches according to the last report I heard – and I expect that our previously gorgeous, big beach will not exist.

In the early 1970s, when I would go to our recently purchased property to camp for a few days, Beloit friends who were more established with cabins in the woods by the shore would say, “Check our our beach.  See if we have one.”  Well, they always had one.  Sometimes like in the mid- to late-1980s it was narrow as the lake reached a high point in the ebb and flow of yearly levels BUT NEVER WAS THEIR OR OUR BEACH GONE.   I fear that this year they will be – gone, the beaches – under water.  I wish we could send some of it to California.

Fog moving in

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Cuba 2015 | Old Car

Tourists to Cuba

Cuba 2015 | Old Car

My wife, Mim, and I are still energized by our January, 2015,  trip to Cuba.  We had signed up via Road Scholar early in 2014 and throughout the summer and fall eagerly awaited the mid-winter time when we would head south.  Then came December 17, 2014, when Presidents Obama and Castro announced their intentions to improve diplomatic relations.  This changed everything.  All of a sudden we were among the first United States citizens to make the trip in an atmosphere of  hope and optimism.  Devils are in the details, of course, and we don’t assume that things will work out quickly or smoothly, but the fact remains that our interest is ongoing along with that of millions of others.

As we prepared for our trip and went through an orientation meeting in Miami before the charter flight to Havana, we were told, “You are not tourists.”  That designation is not deemed proper – or allowed – under existing agreements that permit only some researchers,  scientists, and educational & religious groups.   So, for example when a friend and I swam in the Bay of Pigs, we were told (with a wink and a nod) that you are doing it for fun, it’s marine research.

Okay, but the fact is we were and still are tourists.  Curious ones who are still learning.  Please stay tuned.

Future site of US Embassy

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Discovering Beloit | Thomas Franklin Warren

Purchasing my newest book

My latest book Discovering Beloit: Stories Too Good to be True? can be purchased in Beloit, Wisconsin, at Turtle Creek Book Store (a Barnes & Noble affiliated operation) and at Visit Beloit.  On line it is available via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iUniverse.  Just type in the title.

I also have some copies of my own to sell and personally inscribe.  If you want a personalized copy for yourself or a gift recipient, let me know: or 608 364-4136.

Discovering Beloit | Tom Warren

Discovering Beloit, the novel. It’s out.


Discovering Beloit: Stories Too Good to be True?

A novel by Tom Warren

This tale takes place a few years into the future. It features a Beloit, Wisconsin, high school journalism teacher and his class. He is frustrated by the disappearance of investigative journalism that has accompanied the decline of traditional newspapers. They call this teacher Gov, like in Governor. Gov says,  “All around us are untold stories. Some must be allowed to rest in private. Others need to be told, and some must be told!”


Gov’s students dig up stuff that at first glance seems un-believable. Certainly, many readers will think these things couldn’t happen in Beloit . . . Could they?

Ex-convicts teaching at Beloit College?

Major league baseball here, in little ol’ Belwah?

Vibrant main-line churches?

Violence and love in Oakwood Cemetery?

A goofy new industry?

Motivated matrons?

A herd of old Buffaloes?

A world famous chef?

A death-defying turtle?

Love after death?

Spies snooping around?


They could and they do. Happen. And they need to be told.

Is this the Beloit of our future, or our present? Well, things change and things that stay the same become better known. In the meantime, endangered species try to hang on.


All profits are donated to non-profit organizations that support investigation or the community of Beloit.  Purchase the book it at the following places: In Beloit:   Turtle Creek Bookstore and Visit Beloit; On line: Barnes & Noblel, Amazon, or iUniverse.