The Silk Purse: A Memoir

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Xlibris Corporation, Sep 30, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 178 pages

Memoir of a South Bronx Childhood

The Silk Purse, a memoir set in the l950s tells of Raquels ingenuity, courage, and inner strength as she struggles to keep her dreams alive while living under the close supervision of at least a dozen pairs of vigilant loving eyes.

Raquels early childhood was filled with strict rules, traditional expectations, and myriad household duties imposed by her Puerto Rican Cuban extended family. From age 3-18, she lived under the watchful gaze of her parents, maternal grandparents, a great aunt, her half-sister, their majestic collie Sabu, various tenants, and many of the residents of the South Bronx, New York, apartment building where they all lived.

Some episodes are touching examples of growing up; others are painful and poignant passages in the life of this young girl and her family. The story themes are about friendship, loyalty, childhood pranks, her first job, first love, first separation and much more. In spite of the cramped quarters located in the midst of a neighborhood that is showing signs of devastation, decay, and danger the apartment and building were a sanctuary for Raquel and her family.

Raquel Ortiz writes with such humor and vivid description, I felt I was eating a juicy mango too! The coming of age stories of this young Latina are written with simplicity, humility and such dulzura you cant help but journey with the author to bitter sweet places in your own heart.
-Linda Soto-Harmon, First Book,
(A national childrens literary organization)
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About the author (2004)

RAQUEL ORTIZ has 35 years of experience in television and educational production as producer, writer, director, executive producer, and manager, within the public broadcast system and the media. She also owned and managed her own independent production company, Ortiz/Simon Productions, Inc., which specialized in the development and production of multi-cultural film and video projects; produced multi-media educational videos and TV and radio commercials, and has consulted for various media entities in the United States and Latin America. Ortiz developed, produced, and was host for public broadcasting WGBH-TV Boston’s award-winning Latino series La Plaza and as Executive Producer went on to supervise other popular TV shows, such as Say Brother, Kaleidoscope and the Neighborhood series. As Senior Producer at VPG Integrated Media, she produced numerous educational language videos and CD-ROMS for classroom use, such as the award-winning Caminos des Jaguar, taped in six Latin-American countries for a major US textbook publisher. In 1996 the documentary Mi Puerto Rico, a personal exploration of Puerto Rico/American relations that was executive produced, hosted, and narrated and co-written by Ortiz, premiered on PBS. An active member of the larger community, Ortiz has served on various boards, including United Way and The Children’s Museum Multicultural Advisory Board, The Film Fund and The ASPIRA Association. She has been inducted into the YMCA Academy of Women Achievers and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle. She is also a fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and was awarded a MacDowell Arists Colony Residency. Raquel Ortiz was born and raised in New York and is a first generation Puerto Rican. She is now the sole proprietor of Noble Roar Productions and works and resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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