by Hugo Salinas Price
My father was Hugo Salinas Rocha -“Salinas” was his father’s surname, and “Rocha” was his mother’s surname; the custom of using both parents’ surnames is universal in Latin America. Father was a successful merchant in Mexico City, and in the 1930’s he ran a store in downtown Mexico City. The store belonged to a company founded by his father, Benjamin Salinas Westrup and to the partner he took into the business, his brother-in-law, Joel Rocha Barocio; the company name used their initials: “SyR” (the “y” means “and” in Spanish).
I was born in 1932. As a little boy, I loved to play in my father’s store after school hours, and one afternoon when I was perhaps eight years’ old, one of the salesmen took two gold coins out of his vest pockets (men wore vests in those days). They were the large, 1.2 ounce gold “Centenarios” that had been minted to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mexican Independence from Spain in 1810. The salesman balanced the two coins on his forefingers, and placing them near my ear, he gently touched one against the other. The sound was the delightfully pure ringing of gold!