For some, the thought of having to work alongside their spouse is a frightening prospect. For us, it’s a natural byproduct of our friendship which now spans over 35 years of marriage and the start of Rivers & Caves.
George grew up always knowing that he would someday be an artist, more specifically, a graphic designer. As a kindergartener, he would “borrow” clay from his classmates to complete his elaborate farm sculptures, complete with all types of animals, barns, and equipment, in perfect scale. You get the picture: the one kid that put all the others to shame when it came to artistic talent.
I, on the other hand, knew I wanted to be a “scientist.” I wasn’t totally sure what that meant, but as I got older, it morphed into becoming an engineer. As a kid, I would take apart anything I could get my hands on. That included watches, radios, and dead lizards (ewww). I loved to investigate how things came together and how they worked. Both of us are creative but with a very different focus.
We met during our junior year of high school in a commercial art class. He took the class cause, well, that’s what he actually wanted to do as a career. I took it because it was varied and would teach photography, screen printing and a number of other different commercial processes. Turns out, I wasn’t a great designer but I was technically proficient and understood processes very quickly. That instantly qualified me to be teacher’s pet.
Now, with the title of “den mother”, I would explain to all the other students what the project requirements were. George was the best designer in the class. This “best in class” tension is what forged our friendship. It was smart and cute against design-y and whiny.
After graduation, I moved away to attend the University of Florida…Go Gators! George stayed in Miami going to junior college. We continued to keep in touch by writing to each other. Not email, not text… actual paper letters! It would take 3-4 days to arrive once written and sent, and 3-4 days to receive a response… so last century. Upon completing his Associate degree, he immediately transferred to UF. It was at that point that we realized that our friendship had become more than that. We started dating and got married right after graduation (UF Class of ‘88). I graduated with a BS in Materials Engineering and he graduated with a BA in… Graphic Design! Surprise!
Upon graduating, I was offered a position at a pharmaceutical company located in Memphis, TN. It was here that we started working together on different projects. Since we were new to the area and had time on our hands, we’d just come up with projects we’d work on together. One time we purchased RC vehicles to build, custom paint, and race against each other. Cause that’s how we roll.
As two broke recent college grads, we couldn’t afford furniture and needed an entertainment unit, so George designed it (in Memphis style, of course) and we built it over a weekend.
This is how our partnership with DIYing began. We should have started a YouTube channel then…oh wait, YouTube didn’t exist. Cell phones existed, but only for those Wall Street guys who carried them in a briefcase. But I digress…
Eighteen months after moving to Memphis, I got an offer to do my master’s at the University of Miami. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get back to our hometown, family, and friends. We moved back and purchased our first home. (Check out our Home Sweet Home sign, yes it’s a shameless plug 😉 ). And that’s when the DIYing fun really started…and the start of Rivers and Caves.