|Maximilliano Mike Henderson|
This is Maximilliano Mike "Max” Henderson. He was my first cousin, the son of my mother's older sister, Maria Padilla Henderson and my Uncle Sam Henderson.
Mike was born June 10, 1937 in Puerto de Luna, New Mexico. Ten years later, his family moved to Tucumcari. The move was traumatic for Mike because he had been attending school in a one-room schoolhouse, surrounded by his family's Spanish language. His formative childhood experience was the complete opposite from mine. I was born and went to elementary and middle school in Amarillo, Texas and then went to live in Puerto de Luna with my Spanish speaking grandma in the eleventh grade. I can honestly say it was in the top five best experiences of my life and it changed the trajectory of my life.
April 19, 1954, the year before I was born, Mike married, Mary Esther Moya in Amarillo, TX. He was 17. The couple moved to Los Angeles where they stayed for 10 years. They then moved to Albuquerque and eventually back to Tucumcari, where Mike made a living doing car paint and body work. By this time, the couple had eight children. Mike had began to create furniture and art for their house.
Later Mike started selling some of his art in Santa Fe. Then when an elderly man showed him a wooden figure of Christ that was broken and held together with duct tape, Mike volunteered to repair it, taking the opportunity to examine the design. He began studying the work of famous artists and books of saints and found encouragement from several famous santeros in northern New Mexico.
Santeros are artists who carve and paint santos, images of saints.