Everyone has a dream. One of my dreams has always been
to write a book, and now that day has finally arrived.
The hurricanes … Charley … Frances … Ivan … and Jeanne, brought
enormous damage to Florida’s economy. My clients, who are citrus
processors and growers, lost huge amounts of money and had to
cancel many contracts—including mine. The hurricanes were a
powerful force in our lives, forcing us to ask ourselves many
A few weeks after the
hurricanes struck, I rekindled my old dream of writing a book and
sharing the stories of a young girl from Paraguay who overcame many
obstacles to make her dreams come true. My great grand parents came
from Italy and Spain and were immigrants in Paraguay making a good
living but they lost all their fortune and they became poor again
during the depression. If you like reading how someone born in a
poor country became successful in the United States, then you’ll
enjoy this book. It will take you on a journey that includes the
history of the country where I was born and how my early life set
the tone for the choices I would later make.
Wonderful experiences in business,
marriage, medicine, and spirituality have made my journey
interesting and successful. I hope the story of my road to
success, independence, and happiness will inspire others.
From Chapter 1
The Dream Begins
After my father announced we could choose a toy if we were the
best in our class, I knew I had to win. I was in first grade, and it
was the first time I had ever entered a school competition. My dream
was to have a doll similar to my sister’s, or a tricycle. I was
determined to work hard and win.
This first incentive was significant in my life. It created a spirit
of competition and a desire to follow my dreams. Even though I
wasn’t number one in my class, I got second place, and that victory
put me in better standing with my father than my brother and
sisters. At the end of the school year, we were sitting all together
with our report cards.
My father said, “Let me see how your grades are.”
All of us handed our reports cards to him.
Dad said, “Congratulations! Everyone did well, but we have to find a
winner for this year’s competition.”
We shouted, “Who won, Daddy?”
Dad announced, “Your mother and I believe Elizabeth won the
competition based on her grades and being second best in her class.
But since everyone did well, we’ll all go for ice cream tonight and
to a movie on Sunday.”
“Hurray! Hurray!” we shouted. Going for ice cream at the Belvedere
Restaurant and ordering the portuguesa flavor, my favorite, was a
heavenly reward for me. Portuguesa is pink in color, like
strawberry, but tastes better than the best vanilla.
I jumped out of my chair and immediately told Dad “I want a big doll
for my prize.”
Our budget was just enough to feed us, dress us, and pay our regular
bills. We had no money for extras, and my parents couldn’t afford a
new doll. Fortunately, my mother found a used doll in a second-hand
store. The doll’s eyes were sunken inside her head, and my mom
looked for someone who could repair it. She also bought pink fabric
with flowers and designed a lovely doll dress with short sleeves and
a wide skirt. She even made a beautiful bonnet and a pair of white
booties with laces. It was the most beautiful doll I could ever have
imagined. I named her Kitty.
Later in life, when I was thirty-eight years old and visiting
Niagara Falls, I went into a toy store looking for something to give
our daughter Kathleen, who was eleven years old. To my surprise, I
saw a German doll similar to Kitty, my beautiful childhood doll.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I bought the doll and called her
Jennifer. Today, this doll sits in a leather recliner in our guest
bedroom, a happy reminder of my childhood. To me, this doll
represents my first dream, a dream that led me to excel in a career
that brought freedom and financial independence to my family.