Angela [No name given] and Cynthia [No name given]
DescriptionOne Small Step partners Angela [No name given] (37) and Cynthia [No name given] (56) share about their experiences of motherhood and their children's love of theater. They talk about their views on immigration, sexuality, and abortion.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Angela [No name given]
- Cynthia [No name given]
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
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00:02 Angela. I am 37 years old, today is Friday. June 25th 2021 in Wichita, Kansas, and I am recording with Cynthia. Who is my one small step conversation partner.
00:20 And I am Cynthia. I am 56 years old and it's Friday, June 25th, 2021 in Wichita, Kansas and I am with and well, as my one small step conversation partner.
00:35 Do the thing that interested me about this is I move. I grew up here in Wichita and moved away for a long time and 15 years or so. And move back just about 2 years ago. And I always felt kind of like an outsider here. Like I didn't quite fit in. And so, moving back was a little bit nerve-wracking, but I wanted to be closer to family and
01:09 Anyway, so when I heard about this initiative, I'm also kind of but just a social science nerd. That's what I studied sociology and college and so I I think it's just cool to get people together. The idea of this and talk about things. You don't normally talk about just like when you're making small talk and so that was really exciting to me and I thought, well, I don't consider myself like a typical Wichita person. So maybe I'd be a good fit for that. Who knows?
01:52 Awesome. Yeah, I was I was interested in the idea because I feel like there's a lot of caricaturing of people with who have different views from each other. And they're kind of like, you know, people over on the right people over on the left and they say, horrible things about each other and I don't think they really understand each other necessarily. They can't kind of pain each other into Corners, you know in terms of
02:28 They make the date. Yeah, they just make caricatures of each other. And I think if we actually knew each other, we would realize, you know, we're all just human beings. And we, we have tons and,. Even if we disagree on, on some big things, you know, we all love our kids. We all went good to make good liars for ourselves, you know, so I'm just interested. I guess she's making
02:56 And and yeah, I just create an understanding between people. So I thought this was a great idea. I don't know if it's true. We should we read each other's? Do we do the BIOS? Yeah. Okay. So your bio says, I'm a 56 year-old wife's mom and teacher. My husband is an architect who owns his own business and we raised $5 in Wichita, Kansas. I'm passionate about education in particular, helping students with reading disabilities. I love meeting new people and I'm eager to be a peacemaker in these challenging season in our country. Do you want us to? Can I ask you or whatever? What do you think?
03:47 Don't you just get mine over with and then? Okay. Alright. I actually I locked it cuz I close my email it again. Which one is it on the reminder? Yeah. Okay. Alright, let me read, Angela's bio. I'm a first-generation daughter of a Cuban, immigrant raised in Kansas in a Catholic Republican family. Moved to New York City at 18, where I lived for ten years and worked in theater and attended Columbia University sociology. Major. I felt more at home in the diversity of NYC, and I did Growing Up in Wichita, and as my political views developed. I came to identify as liberal immigration Criminal, Justice Reform, and economic inequality are important issues for me. Move back to ICT 2 years ago with my husband and two daughters.
04:47 So, I guess the first thing that jumps out at me, when I read your bio was five daughters.
04:56 I know it's crazy and you have to say, yes, and I barely have the energy for those two. I don't know how you do, how you do at 5, you know, in a certain way, the more you have. I know this sounds crazy, but it's almost easier. It went to add a baby because the older ones are helpful, you know, so like by the time, I had my fifth daughter, oldest daughter was nine and so she was like, Mama Junior, you know, and I mean she could clean the whole house almost by herself. She was amazing. So and then like, you know how, when you have two in the new baby comes and then the toddler's like mad that you're not paying attention to them and they don't have anybody to play with, right, but if you have three,
05:56 The older ones play together on their Legos or whatever and then you can just nurse the baby and sit there. So I'll pay, you know, the process just starts automating itself, once he gets here, a certain number, but I definitely have found, you know, we've got lots of cousins, the girls have lots of cousins here and sometimes it's like, how is it that when we have 10 kids, running around the house? The house stays cleaner, then like when it's just the two of them watching TV while I think when they when they can run in mobs they play all those pretend things that don't look like their imaginations go wild and yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I grew up with three older brothers. So we have four kids and in my family.
06:55 But I don't know. It's it's hard to imagine that now.
07:03 CIA. Young mom, whose
07:05 Kids or whatever and I look at them at night and it looks overwhelming to me and I think how did I do that? You know, I just do it right, you do what your life brings to you, you just how how old are they now? The oldest is 28 and the youngest is 20, older will turn five next month. She'll be starting kindergarten next year and the younger one is three. It's a a heard a lot of older mom's call it like kind of the boot camp years of being a parent, you know. Yeah. I am very much looking forward to at to her going.
08:05 School next year. And then starting all of that. Like, I never, I never plans to be a stay-at-home mom and I still work part-time. But, you know, it was the kind of thing where when we, when we had our first daughter, we were like well stay home for now, figure it out, decide what, what Austin and I ended up staying home, but that was not necessarily my I didn't I didn't, I didn't know this is what it would be. Like, what do you mean? This is what, you know, I don't, I don't think I would have. I don't think I imagined that I would have stayed home this whole Time Marshall Lee. Just cuz like work and makes me keeps me sane a little bit but
08:57 But, you know, I'm not, I'm not particularly a kid person. So obviously it's different with your own kids. And yeah, that's that's all just to say. I'm looking forward to her going to school, but I know that it's going to be really sad.
09:21 Is it a little passage that there was a lot of that kind of rivalry for the first couple of years? And and, you know, I had to hear with Franny alone and then Hazel me and I came along and and I haven't had that alone time with hazel really yet. So I'm looking forward to having that that is super special. And I enjoyed that with my last daughter, you know, cuz you're working or whatever. And that I had a few years just with Susan and me and we were running around together and it was, it was great. Yeah, that's a baby even when they're Seventeen. You know, it's there still.
10:14 So I have so many questions that I'll just jump in because I love talking about Mom stuff that are interested in so many things about you.
10:28 So you said your parents immigrated from Cuba? My father, did my, my mother grew up here in Wichita and my father was part of a program called at Pedro pan. And thus was a, a program between the CIA and the Catholic Church down in Cuba, after Castro had come into power. There were a lot of kids, mostly mostly people whose parents were more politically involved. And they were worried what was going to happen to them. And so they had worked the system out where they sent a Visa is down into Cuba and distributed them through the Catholic church, and it was supposed to be when it when they did it.
11:26 They thought that it would be temporary that they would be sending their kids to the United States and you know in a couple years when all this Castro nonsense was over, they would come back obviously, that's didn't happen. But my my father, my uncle and my aunt all came through this program and ended up being placed with a foster family here in Wichita. And so, that's how they ended up here. My, my, my uncle thought he was going to be a cowboy and when he heard Kansas didn't know anything about it. And but they ended up being placed with a, with a really great Foster family here. I think he actually actually lived in a house with them down the street from on the same street that I live on now.
12:24 And then, and then a couple years later, about the time, that my father was graduating from high school. I had they that Cuban government. Let the parents join rejoin, the kids and let them out. So my grandparents ultimately ended up coming here as well. So, yeah, I just kind of a kind of a crazy separated from their children. Yeah, we're like 10 years or it was about five years, I guess. Yeah. My, my aunt was nine when they came. He was my father was 11:00. They didn't speak any English.
13:10 And then my uncle was a little bit older. So and they they came, they all came separately. It looks like you were just get a phone call one day and say, okay, it's time for you to go show up at the airport. They were not allowed to bring anything with them on the airplane and and they just had that they didn't even know who was picking them up at the airport on their side. They just showed up at the airport in Miami and you know, some guy comes up to them and says you're supposed to come with me.
13:49 Wow, yeah, that's amazing. So, I mean, that it definitely shaped a lot of like you're politically speaking as shaped. A lot of my, my views, my family has always been, and, you know, republican-conservative has a lot of I think Cuban family are because there's like, they're just scared of anything but has any kind of wisp of the collective socialism. I had to 8 came out to my family as a Bernie supporter and that was like, one of the most stressful events of my life. And, you know, that's that's how I kind of grew up as well. And I
14:42 Since you know, have moved away from that, but but that's we were definitely staunchly Republican growing up. And then I had just the older that I the older that I got. And the more that I learned I felt like
15:04 They just needed to be a little more nuanced and that and some of the reasons why we were here and doing what we do Works. Kind of In conflict with those views and
15:22 You know, I don't, I don't hold that. I don't hold that against them like
15:29 Like to me, it seems like, you know, the further right, you go the the more anti-immigration you are and you know, and I and I've heard people in my family make comments that are eating a kind of anti-immigrant, like we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be here if if somebody didn't. Just say sure I'll take this kid into my house. That doesn't speak my language. Have anything to offer, you know, as far as we know until like why is that? Why is that Fred? What how is that any different? So so yeah, and I think, you know, when I moved to New York, I found more.
16:15 More of my people, I guess in that way.
16:22 And so obviously immigration is important to you is that with that one issue that made you think okay. I'm not a republican. You know it was it was that the main issue that made you feel that way. Or I think that
16:41 Okay, tell me, tell me, tell me how you feel about this. Okay? I feel like a lot of the Republicans that I know are are very much into this. You pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of, you know, that's the American dream and if you put the hard work into it, you'll see the results. And, and I think as I as a study to specially at Columbia, I began to see so many more ways where things are just in Tire Lee out of our control and
17:21 And, you know, and then who are we to decide, you know, who is worthy of our help and who is not? And if somebody is not living a successful Life by whatever metric, you know, you're judging that.
17:40 How, how does any other person ever know?
17:46 You know, what to scribe, either, either blame or support, you know, based upon that and I and so I think that is probably the
17:58 Be over all like kind of kind of sports. That's pushed me. That way. Is that idea that? You know, people can be the best people work hard, do everything right? And that's not always enough to guarantee their safety or you know, health and happiness and abilities. And so
18:31 Yeah, it does that make sense things like the circumstances into which people are born.
18:39 The circumstances and is that what you mean? Yeah. They're there are so many larger forces than the decisions that we make on the day today. That determined, you know, what happens in our lives that it's is I just feels impossible to parse that out to try to make judgments on, you know.
19:07 On people. And so that, that is a real big and mean it, it, it, it turns it turns me off. It's like, you know, with covid. And so many people, you know, how me and not wanting to follow mask mandates or get vaccinated or this and that and it's like Willy, you know, if you're at risk, then you stay stay home. Don't don't put yourself in a position of risk and you people don't always have that choice. And I've had people say like well as long as you eat right and you take care of yourself and your exercising, it's not going to harm you.
19:56 That's not necessarily true, and
20:03 So, you know, it could just be a who's who somebody was born to that, that affects their life, or it can be the people, they meet along the way, and the choices that those people have made. And, you know, so many other things, I, I, I grew up doing theater here in Wichita. And, and the theater in the theater scene in Wichita is amazing. It's, it's, it's just people. I mean, nobody ever believes that people be when I talk to people from Wichita and tell them how great the theater is Here, and how many opportunities there are in.
20:47 Then they'd never believe it. But if if that hadn't been the case, then I wouldn't have gotten involved in theater and moved to New York and chase, you know, that dream for a while and then so many things. But it also opened my eyes to a greater diversity. I think then was just available to, you know, my my brothers who dated a lot of sports and activities, but it was all within our school, you know, within the Catholic community and a lot more insular.
21:25 I have to tell you something because we have something important in common that I don't know if you're aware, cuz I didn't put it in my bio, but I, I marked it down to ask you about. So you said, you had done theater. Our family is very theatrical family. We grew up with the grandparents, were completely Music Theater knots. And, of course, you know, we have new Theater Wichita, which is just amazing, and I'm so my girls grew up watching every old Hollywood Musical. And, you know, they loved all that stuff. And we did a lot of classical music growing up and then the youngest two daughters end up. Getting involved in a Music Theater organization here in town and it was so much fun. It was a Community Music, Theater thing for kids teenagers. And
22:25 Made all the costumes and all the sets and they were amazing Productions. But anyway, and then one of my daughter is my second second, born daughter. She's actually getting her Masters in directing right now at Roosevelt University in Chicago, there and she's an actress and did Collegiate theater and stuff. And now she teaches theater at Trinity, Academy. Do you know, Trinity High School here in Wichita anyway, so yeah, so she's a theater teacher and she, she loves theater. She eats sleeps and breeds that are. So I'm constantly talking about theater, every waking moment with her go.
23:25 Can you do the first big thing I ever did was at Music Theater, Wichita, and Annie. I was an Orphan Annie's in 1994. I did some stuff with Music Theater for young people and and the children's theater. My first job. We actually went to go see a show at the Children's Theater the other day and I was telling my daughter but that was where I had my first job because I did a birthday pie dressed up in a bear costume and did birthday parties for like little kids when I was in Middle School there. And yes, so I I left those experiences. I learned so much from from those experiences and then you not was just everything.
24:21 Oh, that isn't that amazing. And until you went to New York to kind of try to pursue that theater dream. Yeah. I originally, I went to the American Musical and dramatic Academy. You do musical theater performance tonight, and I did it for about five years professionally, and and ultimately I just wasn't quite crazy enough to do it, to keep continue doing that, and I wanted, I wanted to have a family and I wanted a little bit, you know, more stability. And so that's when I ended up going back to school and going to Columbia and Opera at Florida State right now and no cover big dream that she is chasing you.
25:13 She wants to sing at the Met in school for so long. I told her you should have been a brain surgeon and you would do the same amount. But anyway, yeah, it is. You know that path kind of ended up taking me to improv eventually. I actually improv classes and after I had quit doing theater, you know, it's not it's not easy to casually do as an adult, you know to put together be a part of a show. So improv I started taking classes down in Houston. When I lived down there and fell in love with that started teaching. And so that became like,
26:13 World, but yeah, I may have to put my daughter who's the theater teacher in touch with you. She's stuck with her kids and master classes, and that's cool. So, how it, what, what organizations have they been apart of? How, how did you end up? You know, they end up getting into that while I know you said, you could have always done it without something that was important to you, to get them involved in. Or how did that happen? Well, here's something a little different about us. So, we homeschools, our kids. Have you ever met anybody who home schools? I don't know.
27:09 Like there's cats. It's really interesting. Wichita has a big state homeschool conference for Kansas and it is such a fascinating experience to go to because there's like Amish people there that where the little caps, you know, the denim skirts with the tennis shoes, you know, and and that it's so there's like this kind of real conservative, you know, her. And then there's a lot of people who look like you and me, you know, what kind of normal LOL? I think. We'd look normal anyway, and then and then, you know what? Then there's like the tattoo and, and nose ring people and not this one. I don't know. I think a lot of times, people think of the denim skirt and Tennis Shoes, ladies when I think. Yeah, yeah.
28:09 My kids in the house 24/7 and, you know, it wasn't like that. So that's the reason I bring that up is because we did home, educate. But it was super important to me that our girls are involved in our community that quick. They were super involved in our church because our faith is very important to us is Central to our life. But also we wouldn't want them to be sheltered in the negative sense of the word, you know, where they just didn't know anyone who thought differently from them. And also, as you said Wichita, just has amazing. It's a great place to raise children. There are so many different organizations, either at sports, or arts, or music, or whatever. For children to get opportunities, to grow, and learn. And so, on my husband and I are kind of our two people. I guess he's an architect, you know, and so we, we were been that way and
29:09 They started in music. We required them all. As part of their home schooling to play the piano cuz that was like their music education for school. And, and then we tell them, you know, if you, if you like piano and if you will work out in practice, you can choose another instrument if you want. And so then they all start taking more instruments than we sort of got in the orchestra world. And then and then I also put them in the Wichita Community Children's Choir which was kids from all over the city, all different schools all over and it was that audition choir and they saying like classical choral music and it was so then we start getting into that horrible music world, and then that morphed into the Music Theater world, and we just kind of all happened. But but the girls, all I don't know everything. We put them in, they loved it. And so we just, we just kind of followed their interest. I guess you could say,
30:09 I guess I don't know our family culture is people and they just all cop that the we're all kind of loud Express, passionate people and they are and yeah, you are to the 10 minutes to 10 minutes.
30:34 Ten minutes. Oh my gosh, hasn't flown by so fast. Anyway. Yeah, I don't know what exactly your your your face background is, but I I know that growing up sometimes the cedar world was a little incompatible with the homophobia that you find in some religious communities. And is that something that that you have experienced or where do, you know? Where does that sit with you?
31:11 That's a controversial question. I'm a little scared to answer at that. Okay, I guess the way I would answer it. Is that so
31:24 Like even the term of homophobia that you used their. So to me what that that's that's a term in which I feel painted in a corner a little bit. So like in my religious beliefs, I do have certain beliefs about sexual ethics and everyone has beliefs about sexual ethics. Right? Like we all do we all we all draw a line somewhere in terms of what we think is appropriate, sexual behavior, and not appropriate sexual behavior. I mean, everybody has a line somewhere, right? And so we draw those lines in different places depending on our, our beliefs and our convictions about the nature of man and nature affects the nature of God, you know, and so my line is probably further that much further to the right then maybe your line, but it doesn't mean that I don't have relationships with people who are homosexual we've had.
32:24 Being in the Arts world as much as we've been in an architecture and theater. We've definitely, I mean there's a lot of gay people in both my daughters programs that they're currently in, you know, and I we, we are, you know, those, those conservative people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman because that's the way God designed it and it to us it's kind of common sense as well as something that our religion teaches us as well. But we don't have like a hateful attitude towards someone that has a different view of that and we're happy to work with people who have different different lifestyle choices and I hope they would be happy to work with me too. I think here's that you're the phrase that I think has meant a lot to me the last few years.
33:21 I'm one guy that I listen to on the radio. Sometimes he says we need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. And what it means by that is we need to be able to hold.
33:35 Old tensions where I can I can disagree with you about something but we can still be friends, you know, we can still work together and that I'm not going to say. Oh, you're just an immoral Heathen because you think what you think I'm that you wouldn't say. I'm a hateful bigot because I think what I think, you know, I mean and so I guess that's important to me. But yeah, I mean, I'm I'm conservative in every way you can probably imagine in terms of sexuality. You know, I would say I'm not a typical Republic. I am a republican, but I'm not a typical Republican on things like what you were talking about about immigration.
34:21 I would say I'm very pro-immigration II.
34:26 You know, I I I guess I put myself in the situation of a mother in Central America who surrounded by drugs and gangs and her kids are growing up and there is an opportunity and there's there's a lot of danger for them and asked if I could get my kids out of there, probably what you know, and so I feel very empathetic. I feel like we need. I mean the current situation of what's Happening isn't sustainable. You know, it's like we how do you make a Humane choice right now with the situation we have with 800,000 people at, you know, at our border or trying to get in the Border. I mean, there has to be some way of managing that, right? And I don't know. I wish I knew what the most.
35:20 Moral Humane ethical way was to handle it. It it can't just be oh everybody can come in whenever willy-nilly. There needs to be some management. But I also am not at, you know, like, oh, well, they don't deserve to be here. And, you know, I don't think that way at all and jump back a little bit. And I think this applies to a lot of a lot of different topics, you know, you were talking about how everybody has, everybody has a line. And, and I think that we all understand that in a lot of different ways are lines are in different places.
36:06 Do you know your lines different than my line at the ETC? How do you think about?
36:18 Setting setting Universal lines and that being
36:26 That being acceptable and fair to like, for example at a gay person who has searched their heart and their conscience and believes whether rightly or wrongly that they you know, they they they can get married. They shouldn't get married at that. That's a positive thing. Where do you how do you think about? You know, when it comes to politics, then policies that limit those type of capabilities.
37:07 Well, it's not being limited right now.
37:12 But are you I mean, like, okay, so we got me growing and growing up, Catholic. Abortion was always a very big issue. I I I don't, I don't like abortion, but I don't think that we need. I don't think that it's
37:30 Just to
37:34 Regulate that, you know specifically not the right law for Public Policy approach. Ought to be that one. I feel super clear about because to me an egg and I don't, I don't want to offend you and I like you a lot. So I actually do that to me abortion. It's it's the murder of it of a child. I mean, we all go and get sonogram pictures, right. And put them on our fridges and share them on our social media is. But then some people say, it's okay to take that same little baby that were some people are posting on the fridge and dispose of it.
38:25 I have a really hard time with that. I just said to me, just as I would want you to be protected your life to be protected.
38:36 By law, I would want a little unborn baby to be protected by law. So that's on that issue. I'm super black and white shoes. I'm more you know, like I'm not sure what the right public policy approaches. But yeah, I think that's just a super challenging thing to decide. You know, whether something is I think there are some issues, you know, especially economic issues that it's like, you know, there's no, there's no right. There's no wrong. There's no black and white Cavs are going to lead certain ways and maybe that ends up being good or not, it would but there's not the morality to it. And and then there are other issues. Where where where
39:25 You know, people feel there is a much greater black and white and his to it. And and I just, you know, I don't have any, I don't have an answer for that. But I think, you know, that's a really hard thing to decide. Is this something that I is, this something that I should be deciding for another person or, you know, is that not my, not my place to get that. And I think there are a lot of issues like that. So, thank you. Thank you for being open and honest with me. I hope that I appreciate that. I think we need more of that in the world, you know, where you can just
40:19 Say what you actually think, but without fear of, you know, being called hateful or something because of disagreeing, I guess, I guess that's why I did, what did want to do this? Because I feel that a lot of my own personal views do get painted as hateful in kind of the the big Media or whatever, you know, and I'm like, I don't feel hateful people.
40:46 You know, like about let's say the abortion issue and I would never hate a woman who made that choice. Even I totally understand why someone would make that choice. But empathy is a different thing and saying, okay, but what's right? And what's wrong, you know, and so I can still be empathetic even if I disagree I guess and I think we all should be empathetic with each other.
41:16 How we doing Leah? Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah.
41:23 I thought I think that's what I think. This was great. Thank you for, for your time and talking to me and and sharing everything. And I think, I think you're brought up a really good point. You no empathy.
41:40 Empathy can still exist with disagreement and unless we're comfortable, you know, actually talking about it. It just makes us grow farther and farther apart, and it's easy to be resentful and assume, you know, the worst about anybody. He knows you're not talking about something. You're probably thinking. They think? I'm crazy. They think. I'm sorry if we've all had different experiences. Yes, and we have different beliefs and
42:15 So, you know, I just think it's the power of communities is really important and things like what we were talking about earlier about like our kids being involved in theater and you know, or whatever at
42:29 I think it's important that we do come together and our children are a great way to connect us. I think because we all care about our future and that's our little children and we, we, we want to teach them how to live together in love and harmony and you and I can do that by, you know, bringing our children to the same activities or whatever it is. I mean as I think as parents we can really connect with one another and that's a something we have in common no matter what our beliefs are, you know?
43:09 How do you do?