Today, we’re going to eavesdrop on a conversation between two people in Marfa, TX. It’s part of a new StoryCorps initiative called One Small Step (OSS) that brings together people on opposite sides of the political divide. Through StoryCorps conversations, the OSS Initiative seeks to remind people across the political and cultural divide of our shared humanity.
In February, Gloria Applegate and Allison Scott sat down together in Marfa for One Small Step. The two first met in the 1970s, at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. Since then, the two women have lived in the same town, crossing paths in the grocery store or community meetings, but they’ve avoided talking politics because they know they don’t agree on much. Allison describes herself as a liberal and Gloria, as a conservative.
Gloria: I was raised with guns. It was nothing that we children were ever scared of. We had a healthy respect. My father was a trucker, and he was often gone, and one of my very earliest memories... I was about five and a man came to our front door one day. He was a salesman of some kind and he forced his way through the door. We were all terrified of course when this man began to act very ugly and pushed his way in. And because that gun was right there, my timid little mother, she grabbed the gun and she protected us.
Gloria: So he realized he needed to leave. She probably didn't know whether she would really shoot him or not, but that to me is very key to why I have never had a problem with having guns in our home, even with our own daughters.
Gloria: We taught them the same way, they always know where the guns were, and they knew not to touch them.
Allison: You know, when we were growing up we would always have .22s or B.B. guns in the pasture, and shoot rabbits. And it's funny I had a childhood memory too, when we lived in Pecos, we came home and our dog was shot. My mom went next door and we were with her, and our neighbor's son was there, and he was an alcoholic and he was trying to explain that our dog was barking. So he shot the dog. And he was reaching for the gun to tell what he did, so my mom just put us behind her and started backing up and we went back home. It's interesting, we both had an experience with guns but it's totally different.
Gloria: And shaped us probably in two different ways.
Allison: It shaped us in different ways, for sure. Growing older, Rudy, my husband was a harbor police officer, and he would lock his gun up and it terrified me to have guns in the house. I relish the right that I have to own whatever gun I want to have, and at the same time I would really love to see more regulations.
Gloria: I would be okay with looking at some controls, but I feel like we can't stand to lose any ground on some of these issues, so we have to stand tough.
Allison: Right. Well thank you for telling me that, because that's the thing about the issues. Just like you and me, each of us are more gray than we are black and white.
Gloria: I think we're on opposite sides politically but I think at heart we're very much similar.
Allison: Thank you for sharing that with me.
Gloria: You're welcome. But I couldn't never if if you weren't so easy to talk to and so open and I feel like I know you better.
Allison: Me, too.
At StoryCorps in Marfa, Allison and Gloria sat down for a One Small Step conversation. Their interview will be archived, along with hundreds of thousands of others, at the Library of Congress.
Texas Public Radio is one of six public radio stations across the nation chosen by StoryCorps to curate these One Small Step conversations. If you are interested in participating in a conversation like this, just click here and fill out our questionnaire.
This segment has been co-produced by StoryCorps' Mia Warren and TPR's Nathan Cone, and facilitated by Nicolas Cadena.
“One Small Step” on Texas Public Radio is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support is provided by Monterrey Iron & Metal.