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Perla Zaydén

A successful woman

How I became a millionaire before the age of 40 while raising 11 children

Edited by Linda Montaner

80 pages
5.5" x 8.5"
Perfect Bound
Year: 2006
Copyright: 2006 by Linda Montaner
$20.00 USD (for Charities)

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Firmas Press
2333 Brickell Avenue,
Suite H-1
Miami, FL 33129

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  • Introduction

  • Requiem for Lebanon

  • From Lebanon to Cuba

  • The Separation

  • Back at Home

  • Engagement and Wedding

  • Married Life

  • Independence

  • Zaydén Laboratories

  • Competition and Expansion

  • Castroism

  • The Circumstance of Our Escape

  • Into Exile

  • Teachings and Ideas

  • Epilogue

  • Our Roots

  • Family Tree

  • Family Album



On Oct. 21, 1990, my mother died at Doctor’s Hospital in Miami at the end of a three-year illness. Although I realized the inevitability of that outcome, I had clung to the hope that her life would last a few more years.

From the day we arrived in exile, various circumstances contributed to separate me from my parents and siblings. They emigrated to the center of the United States, to Tennessee, and I and my husband, Carlos Alberto, to Puerto Rico. In 1970, we moved to Spain, where we have lived ever since. In the mid-1990s, my mother decided to return to Miami with my father. He already suffered the degenerative disease that would keep him bedridden till the day of his death. After my father died, I thought the time had come for my mother -- who had raised 11 children, looked after her husband, and never stopped working -- to take long vacations in Spain and the United States, where the rest of his children lived.

But this wish could never be fulfilled. Two months after my father’s death, my mother suffered a cardiac infarct and, as a consequence, her kidneys failed. Dialysis became necessary. This tied her down to the hospitals in Miami and prevented her from traveling. Her final years were years of constant worry for me, fearful that I might be far away if her illness reached a crisis. At that time, my greatest concern was to board a plane and fly to my mother’s side to make up for so many years of separation and longing. I tried to be useful to her, to please her, to make sure that her days were cheerful, to solve her problems. In some way, I wanted to make up for everything that we couldn’t share ever since life, and an absurd political situation, tore us from our homeland.

To me, exile brought family dispersion and separation from the people I loved most: my siblings and parents. But, despite the distance, my mother and I were always very close. I believe we had things in common, which contributed all the more to the trust we placed in one another. Since childhood, I admired her. I knew she was an exceptional being, gifted with a natural intelligence and an instinct for business that would help her go as far as she wanted. What I witnessed and experienced throughout my childhood was simply the life of a woman fighting tooth and nail against the windmills that tried to discourage her. She was a woman who never gave up, a kind of Don Quixote reincarnate. She achieved almost everything she set out to do and became a businesswoman and millionaire at the age of 35, without ever ceasing to be an exceptional mother and wife. Arriving in exile after leaving her homeland, her business, her property and a lifetime of work, she rose against adversity.

While in Madrid, I received a call from one of my siblings: Mother was gravely ill. I took the first plane to Miami. Much to my distress, by the time I arrived at the hospital my mother was unconscious and we could not bid each other farewell. Several years have passed since her departure. I have saved in a drawer several papers she wrote, where she told about her life, from childhood until the time she went into exile. I am sure that -- to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren -- her story will be not only interesting but also instructive and inspiring. She was a singular woman, a feminist born ahead of her time.

She also had great character and an overwhelming strength. She was a human being with an inordinate moral quality and integrity. I shall never forget her joy of living, nor shall I forget her Christian and serene acceptance of the inevitable.

I know that the reading of the papers that follow will help us to better understand and know our mother. This is the story of her life, told in her own words.

Linda Montaner