There are stories which are made up to be read, and real lives that, without making history, are interesting nevertheless. They belong to ordinary people. As if by chance they are assigned a number which is equally ordinary and then, day by day, deed by deed, memory by memory they find the shelf where they belong in this strange and exciting place we call the world.
Luis Puntes happened to be born in nineteen twenty, in a small village in the province of Zaragoza. In Muel, in fact, because his father, Luis, “made shoes and mended soles for the whole village”. It is for this reason that during his childhood he was brought up with the freedom that is provided by small spaces and the loving care of a family which gave him enough happy memories to be able to face what life had in store for him.
Life has been extreme to him, extreme in deprivation and in putting him to the test, but also in providing opportunity. From a very young age, Luis Puntes knew how to see, observe, accept and evolve. If typhoid thought it could diminish that skinny little boy, it was wrong. Luis Puntes came out of that long illness with a box of colours, which led him passionately to what has undoubtedly been his great refuge: painting.
A few years later, his family decided to move to Zaragoza, in search of a more secure income. But as elusive as luck is, the family suffered a hard blow and had to make use of Luis’s determination and hard work. At around just twelve years old, he had to give up his education and start work./p>
One peseta. A nice, round peseta, shiny, enormous, which would probably jump from pocket to hand and from hand to pocket, was Luis Puntes’ first wage, working as an errand boy at an important cafeteria in the city.
Nowadays Luis’s sight goes beyond the superficial and observes and dissects a landscape and places it on canvas. The same eyes that witnessed catastrophes, both civil and family, were able to steal the best hours of sunlight from a landscape, and allow our eyes also to see its apparently rude charm.
His works show clearly a sensitive man. At least as sensitive as a man could be in those times.
As if it were a continuous stream of responsibilities, Luis went on through a diversity of professional stages, one of which was as manager of a large firm in Zaragoza. Around that time, he was offered the possibility of trying his hand at politics, but he preferred cultural groups.
Although it was necessary for him to leave school, the truth is that Luis Puntes even today has not stopped learning. Reading has been another great passion.
In spite of tremendous family adversity, he still excels in his trilogy: art, work, family. It was a long, slow, difficult road, but he simply kept walking, with the firm belief that it was worth it.
At the age of forty, he took the decision to leave a stable job and turned down a salary which was ten times higher. His own project was in the making; he only had to carry it out…
The fact that Cauchos Puntes was the first factory to set up in Cuarte de Huerva, is a consequence of that fate that seems to follow Luis. His small business began with a simple press, in the basement of a premises in a suburb of Zaragoza, but it was not long after the beginning of this new activity that an unchosen challenge forced them to move.
By that time he knew very well what it meant literally to get up and start walking, so the Puntes family moved again, this time alongside the Valencia road, to the land on which Cauchos Puntes now stands.
The authorisation and collaboration of the then mayor of Cuarte throughout those days, was of course vital in the process of industrial development in the area. Other small factories began to arrive, and Luis Puntes, as a founder member of the local Business Entrepreneurs’ Association, worked hard to encourage the opening of a clinic which could attend any possible industrial accidents in the area, and it was his wish that an Aragonese company should set up the clinic in the area of Cuarte. And this wish must have come true because it is a fact that nowadays the same company is still running the clinic.
Luis Puntes is portrayed by his deeds and his character. I do not think we would be wrong to think of him as a disciplined, hard-working man, with a great sense of social justice, a non-conformist, a defender of family values, passionate about his land and continually facing personal challenges.
From one peseta to a livelihood, from the obligations of employment to the passion and vertigo of a business, from a wounded heart to the sensitivity of an artist. And with my own eyes I have seen that all of this was underpinned with total honesty.
Nowadays Luis continues to fill his days, surrounded by his people, stimulated by his art, following the news with passion, and hardly anything fails to appeal to his interest.
Luis Puntes Gracia died on 13th February 2004