Andy’s a fantastic artist, but he started his career like anyone else. As his wife of 42 years, I thought it might be fun to revisit some of those memories.
My first birthday gift from Andy. It was a rock, painted with flowers and a verse. His mother told him firmly that he could not give me a rock for my birthday. She wasn’t empressed! So he took a piece of wood and melted wax into it and made a candle. I loved it, of course, because it was made by him. A few days later he gave me the rock too, and it still sits by our bedroom door, as a reminder of our first days as a married couple.
His first table. Andy says he wishes he had a picture of it for his scrapbook and for a good chuckle. It was a little plant stand with a plate set into it. It was never entirely stable, but it looked good.
His first sale. Remember those clocks people used to make back in the 70’s? The hands and numbers were glued to a piece of wood and then shiny plastic resin poured over it. I still have one he made as a gift to his parents. We inherited it when they passed. He went door to door and sold a few of them.
His first business. It wasn’t wood as you would expect, it was a body shop. His brother, who had the experience, helped him, and they opened their own shop. Andy decided he liked wood better than metal and left it after a couple years. His brother still operates it 40 years later. It’s still called Sanchez Bros. Body Shop.
My daughters gift. Christen was about 3 or 4 and Andy decided to build her a cradle for her dolls. A visit to the hospital was the result, the first and the worst injury to Andy’s poor, hand-carved hands. But the cradle was later finished and I think my daughter may still have it.
Our first big job. About 10 years later, in 1989, we began our business. Andy was working out of his brother’s storage area. He had to unload it every morning and put it all back at the end of the day. He was mostly doing repair work, but a friend helped him land a job for a local restaurant, Pete’s Cafe, still a landmark in Belen, NM. He commissioned about 60 chairs and ten tables and he gave the owner a really low price. Since we had no storage space, we brought them into our living room. And it was a tiny room to start with! We were waiting for a house in Colorado to sell before we bought, and we had seven children in a small two bedroom rental at the time. He also got some of the children and myself to help him doing sanding and staining and moving furniture around. They were good chairs and tables though; the restaurant used them for many years. In fact, the last time we were in there, which was several years ago, they were still using them!
As we look back over the last 42 years, it is with amazement that we behold the path God has taken us along. We are grateful for all of it…the hard times as well as the good because all of it built our character and created what we are today. I believe God does give certain people the gift of creativity or intellegence or whatever, but it is rarely developed to its full potential without the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears.