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Yo Soy la Hija de Mi Padre: Una Vida Sin Secretos

Yo Soy la Hija de Mi Padre: Una Vida Sin Secretos

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by Maria Elena Salinas, Liz Balmaseda

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Cinco noches por semana, María Elena Salinas presenta las noticias a millones de televidentes hispanos en todo el país. Pero cuando se apagan las cámaras, es como tantas otras mujeres, una esposa y una madre que lucha por encontrar un equilibrio entre su vida personal y su vida profesional. Un día descubrió que su adorado padre había sido


Cinco noches por semana, María Elena Salinas presenta las noticias a millones de televidentes hispanos en todo el país. Pero cuando se apagan las cámaras, es como tantas otras mujeres, una esposa y una madre que lucha por encontrar un equilibrio entre su vida personal y su vida profesional. Un día descubrió que su adorado padre había sido sacerdote católico, y su vida dio un vuelco: todo lo que creía saber, y en lo que había basado su vida, había sido puesto en duda. En Yo Soy la Hija de Mi Padre, María Elena Salinas cuenta la increíble historia de su exitosa carrera y la de su lucha por descubrir y aceptar los secretos que envolvían su vida familiar. Desde su infancia en un barrio pobre de Los Ángeles, a sus años de adolescencia pasados trabajando en una fábrica de ropa en el sur de California, a su extraordinario debut en el mundo de la televisión y su cobertura de algunos de los sucesos y desastres más significativos de las últimas décadas, María Elena cuenta su propia historia y la de su padre, en el tono cálido y directo que la caracteriza.

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HarperCollins Español
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Zondervan Publishing
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Yo Soy La Hija de Mi Padre

Una Vida Sin Secretos

By Maria Elena Salinas Rayo

Copyright © 2007 Maria Elena Salinas
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061205675

Chapter One

The Box of Secrets

I learned to tell stories from unheard voices, from the nameless Mexicans of my childhood streets. They spoke to me like my mother had spoken, in tender phrases that only hinted of the epic peregrinations they endured. They told me -- with some prodding, I confess -- about their children, their past loves, their daily hardships, their machista husbands, their fairytale dreams. We were kindred souls, linked by more complexities than I could imagine at the time.

We had worked side by side when I was fourteen, cutting loose threads from garments in a windowless factory. We met again and again, at random intersections in South Central and East Los Angeles, at the subtitled movies, at Sunday Mass, at the charm school in San Fernando where I conducted classes, at weekend festivals where mariachis played our favorite songs.

In their stories I found all the key elements of compelling journalism. And when I became a television newswoman, I drew from that well of stories. Of course they seemed different when filtered through the detached lens of the evening news. They often seemed to take on telenovela dimensions. The things that happened to other people, namely my news subjects, always seemed to be more surreal than thethings that happened to me. But I, too, had expansive dreams. I wanted to be some kind of self-sufficient businesswoman. But doing what? At first I had wanted to be a fashion designer or a beauty expert. Then, I took marketing courses and developed an interest in the budding Hispanic market, so I dreamed of being an advertising executive. My career path, I decided, would be defined by one requirement: that it never lead me to stagnation or mediocrity. And it never did, although it didn't exactly lead me to the sales office.

The road detoured at the old, musty newsroom of KMEX, Channel 34, Los Angeles's first and the nation's second Spanish-language TV station. It was an old two-story house converted into a humble, noisy news operation. The air conditioner was always busted, but the Teletype machines worked. In our rip-and-read days, they buzzed constantly, coughing up endless reams of codes, datelines, and bulletins, the hour's urgencies tumbling and curling onto stained linoleum. KMEX was, as then station manager Danny Villanueva called it, "that little Mexican UHF station down the street." But that little station, reflecting the Latino explosion of the 1980s, grew dramatically during my first few years there, and as it did I came to master a new language, one that had been alien to my Spanglish-fluent world. It was the rhythmic and beautifully condensed language of broadcast TV. I was moved by its pace and economy, by the intensity of the breaking news it captured. Here I found a true challenge, a new world to conquer. I wanted to learn everything, so I plunged right in. Soon, I was delivering those familiar Latino stories, the ones I had memorized since childhood, to our viewers, not only during the evening newscast as a reporter and anchor, but also in the daily public affairs show Los Angeles Ahora and a weekend entertainment show as host. After a few years and some initial on-air stumbling and bouts of stage fright, I had it down -- without a TelePrompTer, for that trusty device came into the picture only much later. I had wanted, more than anything, to make my father proud of me. And he was. In private, he'd counsel me about my new profession. Keep reading, he'd advise, never stop learning.

"Think before you speak," he'd warn. "Read the background of the story that you're covering. You have to be very careful. You have to do this right."

But in public, as my name emerged in the local television world, he'd point to my news reports with pride.

"Esa es mi hija," he'd boast.

I was beginning to embrace this new profile of myself as a newswoman, to feel secure in this identity. And then my world was rattled to its core.

My father died. August 6, 1985. That's when I came upon the most daunting story of my life, the one that would challenge my own identity and redefine me.

I got the call on a busy news day, in the morning rush for assignments. Days later I stared numbly at my father's coffin from across the room. A kind of force field slammed me against the opposite wall. I couldn't move. Something powerful kept me glued to that wall, away from my father. It felt like gravity. I now understand what the distance between us was about: My father was dead and I didn't know who he was. My father, José Luis Cordero Salinas, was the first family member I had ever lost. He had been in the hospital for six weeks, battling the consequences of a circulatory disease. I had watched him slip in an out of a semicomatose state, gasp for air, and wither away. His death certificate listed about six causes of death. My love for him ran as deeply as the mysteries surrounding his life. Disciplinarian, pacifist, intellectual, undocumented. He had been an enigma, even in our small, tightknit family. He bounced from job to job, enterprise to enterprise. He worked as a realtor, an accountant, a bowling-alley manager, a professor. But it wasn't big bucks or salary bonuses he seemed to be after. Instead, he was driven by a sense of mission and charity. He charged his accounting clients paltry fees. For this, I used to scold him:

"Papi, this is your business. You need to charge them more."

But he'd shake his head.

"No, m'hija, they don't make very much money."

Once, he spent all his savings to write and publish a bilingual consumer guide to the real estate market, because he believed the system was unfair to the buyer. I remember another time he took us to a German restaurant. He had never taken us there before, but clearly he was a regular. . . .


Excerpted from Yo Soy La Hija de Mi Padre by Maria Elena Salinas Copyright © 2007 by Maria Elena Salinas. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

María Elena Salinas has been the Noticiero Univision news anchor for seventeen years. She has won three Emmy Awards, and recently created the María Elena Salinas Scholarship for Excellence in Spanish-Language News Media. She lives in Miami.

María Elena Salinas ha trabajado como periodista en Univision durante los últimos veinticinco años. Ha sido galardonada con tres premios Emmy y recientemente creó una beca de estudios llamada María Elena Salinas Scholarship for Excellence in Spanish-Language News Media.

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Yo Soy la Hija de Mi Padre: Una Vida Sin Secretos 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Salinas just goes on talking about her career with Univision. She speaks about her father and family briefly and at the end she really dissapointed me because she never found out what other secrets her father hid from the family. This seems like a recollection of her career rather than unraveling her fathers secret.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leer tu libro me tomo dos dias, forma elegante de describir tus sentimientos de forma veraz y sencilla. Como mujer y profecionista, eres admirable Maria Elena, deseo profundamente que la mujer latina siga tus pasos y logre un alto nivel de superacion en todo aspecto. No debemos preocuparnos por las dudas de este mundo que seran aclaradas en el mundo que viene. Muchas felicidades por lo que eres. Dios te bendiga siempre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is her own autobiographical sketch from the viewpoint of a daughter of an immigrant, journalist and social commentator she puts together her whole as a person and brings the reader down to the conclusion that as an individual we are what are parents shaped us to be. As a reporter she documents and researches her family roots that she thought she knew until her fathers best friend gives her fathers box of secrets, then and there she realizes that she really didn¿t know who her father really was. From that point on she goes through a chilling journey of discovering her own roots and eventhough she doesn¿t find all the correct answers , every step of the way she discovers more about herself and how important family values are for the individual. This is my own conclusion from her readings, we are who we are do to our predessesors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
todavia no lo leo y pienso que es de suma importancia saber de nuestros antepasados y mas al saber que eres la hija de un sacerdote que paso en ese tiempo donde el desidio ser mejor padre pero de familia