Christopher Gulick and Elissa Fuchs

Recorded October 30, 2021 Archived October 30, 2021 40:28 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv001228


One Small Step partners Christopher Gulick (62) and Elissa Fuchs (67) talk about Elissa's new method of asking questions, Christopher's upbringing in a family of artists, and their beliefs about public art.

Subject Log / Time Code

EF and CG talk about their intentions behind One Small Step and read their bios.
EF talks about upstate New York, where she’s from.
EF talks about her expansion of the question, “Why?” to “How so exactly?”
EF talks about the COVID-19 vaccine.
CG talks about his career and being born from an artist and in a family of artists.
CG responds to EF’s question about seeing statues of certain historical figures torn down. He talks about working to understand peoples’ anger.
EF talks about the promises and plans of politicians that might sound good but don’t happen the way they say.
CG talks about his past with drugs and his work now sponsoring people who struggle with addiction.


  • Christopher Gulick
  • Elissa Fuchs

Partnership Type




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00:00 I'm 67 years. Old. Today is October 30th, 2021. My recording partner is Chris.

00:10 And this is part of one small step.

00:18 My name is Chris.

00:20 I'll be 63. Next month. Today's date is Saturday. October 30th 2021.

00:28 And my recording partner Eliza and up. Until now we are complete strangers.

00:36 And are not see one small step conversation partner.

00:48 In here today. So the first question that I wanted to ask you all this just to kind of share with each other. What made you interested in participating in a one, small step conversation with someone that you don't know.

01:01 Elissa.

01:03 Well, so I like to talk to people in general. I'm talk time. I'm most interested in people and I find that.

01:17 Communication in the year, 2021 has been grossly, diminished and a very difficult.

01:33 It's very difficult to get communication going with anyone. Even people, you know, with the the way we have to communicate during a pandemic. So I supposed to running out and you. Running up to a car or two in a restaurant that, you know, these the way we normally meet people has kind of changed. And so, when I saw this as an opportunity to meet a stranger, because strangers in the last year, there is kind of a mess hysteria in America fear of strangers. As far as the pandemic goes, I think has been, unfortunately, part of her life and I look at story Corps as a way to break that break out of that, you know, and and show the people who never met before can speak about things.

02:33 They Pine important to them.

02:40 Very nice. I like until we've already got several things in common Alicia because networking in general. I mean, just using that word of advice currently work in a fabric and sewing machine store. So I get to meet lots of new strangers in my past Thirty Year career, as a telephone repair technician. I was going into people's homes and businesses. So I I like collecting information on to further my own perspective and make it just as broad as possible. So I understand how you think, how you feel, and how that may or may not relate to what I already think. And feel the all these things are really important because I go buy a mantra of We're All in This Together and nobody gets out alive.

03:40 Back to what you were talking about it. I hear a lot of folks, bring up the ideas about this, the craziness, the pandemic. And then I'd go back to a lot of old history books and things like this. But so any anyway, I can facilitate and be a

04:01 I want example of making sure that I learn to listen even better than I talk. I come from a family of stalkers and we didn't do that much listening. We just talked over each other. So I'm working on it. And and I'm go. That's why I'm glad to be here in this is a great platform for that.

04:25 You just said you come from a family or talk or something, maybe because we're probably that's fine. It definitely is fun.

04:42 The one thing that I'm just going to ask you if you'll refer to the message feature again and just read each other's bios out loud, and you can kind of go from there and ask questions and I'll leave you to it.

04:54 Okay, he'll feel free to take it from here and kind of dive into anything that you're curious about.

05:00 So, I'm a New Yorker.

05:04 And an RN. I grew up in a secular liberal Democratic home. My grandfather, from New Paltz, New York, ran a small business. And he was the guy who is always there for the whole family, as well as the community. I realize later in life that everything that made our lives better. And that's in general. I think, you know, living in a western civilization II. Everything from medicine to, your refrigerator came from people who believed in our freedoms and rights, and that's when I switched to Republican. However, I blame the Republicans, most who are too weak to fight for our freedoms and rights.

05:55 I'm a sculptor retired. Telecommunication, technician, previous aircraft fabricator, vintage, sports car. Mechanic grocery store stock boy, short order cook born from an artist. I'm a lover of History. Archaeology mythology, philosophy psychology and all the world's religions and basically all the different ways of thinking about things. I know a little bit about most everything and not a lot of anything in particular I prefer to go to parties and events of all kinds and meet and discuss topics with complete strangers. I'm here to relate to not compare to

06:50 I mean, to others Baez.

06:54 Are they say if I'm am the area of New York, our friend from North Carolina and New. Paltz is an Ulster County. Probably. And I've not traveled everywhere, but I would venture to say one of the most, beautiful places that I've ever been a chew. It's nestled in the Sean Gunn mountains and it is Upstate New York. And, you know, just the smell in the beauty of Upstate. New York is pretty much unsurpassed. It's also a big climb.

07:54 Village, you know, rock climbers, and I was very influenced by a rock climber, in a part of my life, where it came to going into a gym actually and working out it ends up. I ended up in a very small gym where rock climbers used to walk in and grab the pull-up bars. And just all day long, just pull their bodies up and I became very interested in expanding my knowledge in health and nursing, you know, yes, we all know, the importance of eating well, and exercise per se. But what does that even mean? And so when you get to watch people who can climb mountains and you start understanding the strength of the body and its limitations and

08:54 Ask about New Paltz. No, it's not Long Island it. It's a whole it was a whole other world. It's and unfortunately, it's not the same anymore, but that's a side issue.

09:06 We write that part of why I even asked about that, too, is biologically. I'm half, Long Island.

09:17 Dial. Yeah, well and end it is. If there is a family scenario where I've never actually met my biological father, but I've been in born and raised in Wichita. So it's, it's worked out just fine. It's some point in time. I might actually meet up with the, my other half Brothers, but I just never got around to it. And it's beautiful. I mean, to Seafood the ocean. I mean, it is what it is. If I stay in New York, if you're a sculptor and into our, it's just the mountains up there, Ulster County, Hudson Valley look when they settled the Hudson Valley.

10:17 New, you know, you put your home on the most beautiful place and right on that Hudson River. There's nothing like it.

10:25 I've had the opportunity to spend a bit of time in New York City. Proper about half a dozen times now, but for several related business trips, but as fennel, I went up to now, we went a few miles up there, but I've never driven through, Upstate gave me of the state itself of New York. We always just came through Philadelphia and never went any further. North.

10:57 You know, I lived in Texas, San Antonio, and in other states, Georgia, as well as people think New York is New York City and I used to love New York City. I just, you know, growing up is it was just so exciting and beautiful. And the food was, I mean, the Museum's, what is it to me? It's not change for the better over the last decades and

11:31 You know, I think that it sucks. Unfortunately, I pressed, you know, communicating like this people. Can you know who remember New York from you. 20 years ago, you know, when things started, when crime started to go down, can start asking a question. Like, so I went when I learned most recently in the last decade and why we're having this conversation. Why I'm interested is I expanded my the term, why, you know, it's a child, why, you know what it may be as an adult. You say why? But I've expanded that over the last decade to how so exactly.

12:18 Because when you still play why people can sort of right, you know how very nebulous, you know answers, but I decided wait a minute. I need to pinpoint. I can't get the answer. I'm looking for or maybe there's something that leaving out and when you say how so exactly changes the answer that someone or maybe even affect how side effects me, you know, when I say how so exactly.

12:56 I really liked that. It would also sound to me like that could also be an easy. Stop point for a conversation. If the other party doesn't really know enough to appropriately. Answer you. Yeah, and and and I don't have another one of my things I have to think about often is

13:28 I can if I'm ignorant about something I can fix ignorant cuz all I need to do is get the information, but you can't fix stupid.

13:41 It it just doesn't happen to be stupid because they don't want to know.

13:54 I think a lot of our problems are the fact that people don't want to know. Like, for example, like I tend to be very lazy. I'm allowed to be lazy because I surround myself with people who are very smart and therefore, it's very easy for me to just stay away. Or can you do this? And, and that is a shortcoming. So, and if I would say not to denigrate myself, but it makes me stupid or ignorant of being able to do something that I probably could do it. If I spent the time researching a finding out and doing it myself as opposed to just

14:46 I asking someone, that's what I end up, doing? You back to that choice? Regardless of what the scenario is. We always have a choice. I'm sometimes it seems like other people are impeding on our choice and they might be impeding on it, but I still can choose to find that work around. I like the way you were talking about that using the word stupid to broaden that, you know, your perspective on a definition on how that works in that kind of helps me. Look at it a little better to now.

15:27 Well be called stupid and I'm so I I think you know what I look at storycorps and y'all look at your bio. If you don't want to pinpoint someone and stick them in a

15:49 And you know, in a box of what you think they are based on this, then you just don't, you know, do your research, don't ask questions to help, discover who they are. And what makes them behave? The way they do. And I think you can extrapolate to the pandemic and you what you just said that, I we have a choice and that leads me back to Madison and the vaccination the back, and I think that, you know, medicine is a choice and, and there's a reason they call it, the art of medicine, because one size does not fit all. And I've learned a lot. I think we're all learning a lot about this virus.

16:49 We know that the vaccines are safe and effective, but we also know that the malaria vaccine is safe and effective, but I wouldn't suggest taking that today unless I was traveling, you know, to another foreign country, that required it. So,

17:11 And I think Choice when you live in one, we were talking about New York City, how people Assuming New York City is like the rest of the state New York City. I see is a place that is really

17:26 More of a dictatorial dictatorial type of where you don't have a choice. You must do this. And I'll look I'm not in New York, but I hear, you know, people are starting to you know, ask why, you know, and if it actually looks like, people are expanding to house so exactly how so exactly mr. Mayor is your decision going to affect my life and I think when we can pinpoint us suppose, you know, we look you can't you can't get a rocket into space. I see you build airplane Parts without being willing to ask. Every question and

18:14 An airplane fabricator, it looks like you build part. So, you know how to build those parts or you work with the parts. Is that true?

18:26 It was many years ago. But but yes and it's those same skills apply to just about everything I work on now and I actually had written a question for you. It was so you say, you're a sculpture sculpture before you were an airplane fabricator or was the airplane fabrication leading to sculpting. Well, that that kind of goes into my comment about having been birthed, from an artist. I do not have a degree in anything. I barely graduated from high school for a myriad of a juvenile delinquent reasons, but my, my mother was a painter and an illustrator, and the graphics are in the calligrapher.

19:21 Mostly self-taught. But she always had access to friends that were also teachers of the same. And I'm pretty much the same way. A lot of my close friends and colleagues or professional Educators in the realm of everything up. My baby sister. She would probably tell you, she's the only one in the family. That's not an artist, but she is the only one in the family who is a art teacher of Elementary children.

19:52 And she loves it, because there's nothing more real than a kindergartener, who's trying to be an artist, and I try to maintain that for myself in my head. So, essentially, I'm 5 year-old stuck in some old guys body and trying to put the child is telling me, what is the real art? Art is really more of a thought than a thing. And the old guy in me is taking the materials, and the process and giving it some logic. And, anyway, something that makes sense. And so those two people are working together to try to be this artist.

20:38 Well, that that's how my mother was a mentor to me. I've never needed to go get a degree because they don't have a degree in a lot of the stuff that I do and it was brought up to me by a admin in of University. I have 9 hours of college credit and it's all in telecommunications and radio.

21:03 Well, so they asked me several years after I hadn't been taking any more classes and wanted to know if I would be interested. It's too. Well. Thank you, but is sensually. The only thing I would be doing now is Art and I would be the one that would be having teach the class on, on this particular things that I work on a kinetic sculpture specifically, but of late, I've gotten into the Fashion World and so I'm not trying to be a fashion designer, but I'm building engaging and building lots of wearable sculpture where you are the kinetic length, you're the kinetic frame, and I hang these things. Or bolt to wrap, these things around a human body and send them down the runway. We just finished up a really nice little runway show last night here in Wichita.

21:58 Probably won't be running along too long here. But did I answer any of your question there?

22:09 I just want to say it made me, I didn't want to interrupt your course, but I do recall you saying that you don't have a degree in anything and I just want you to know that in my life. I the smartest one of those, the biggest influencers in my life. That would be my grandfather didn't make it through. We had no education yet. He, he knew math and he ran his own business. And during World War 2 worked on radar. I mean, he just was a natural engineer. Okay, and as far as having a barbecue grill, you know, what has done to the country over the last couple of years and I mean, really do respect.

23:10 You know, and admire people who can you do create, you know those of us, that would be me who I'm a foodie. I noticed you are too. But I my mother also is an artist as a little bit of a picture but that's her. I cannot answer to the painting and producing. I think it's very nice and I can I like to admire what other people do. It's just not something that I have a desire to to do. Although I would when it comes to food, I do look at you know, how to play it and make it so that you know what, you're eating with your eyes, you know, that is the first thing but you did. I answer that question as far as the sculpting and the aircraft experience that you have.

24:10 Which question I actually had about you being a sculptor. That was some night when you said Skelter on your bio and I thought immediately think it's the same color I do but I want you to know as a sculptor how you feel? Has a troubled you watching these beautiful statues coming down in our I mean, we see this around the world, you know, whether it was China during Mouse, Great Leap. Forward pulling down, beautiful. Works of China, the Taliban destroying beautiful artwork when you see statues being pulled down Coast-to-Coast for whatever the reason does. He just wash them shattered. Does that?

25:00 Have an effect on you in any way a little bit of both. It goes from one extreme to the other end and quite frankly for kind of future reference to the rest of our conversation. I it's important for me to see that side that side and what and then we put them together. Here. We are in the mill.

25:25 I would, I would, first of all, summer, if it's something, if it was a sculpture, I'd like to know I'm sad. Okay, they took that one down and then I have to remember, that was a public art project that piece of work no longer work. That belongs to the artist. They were paid, they went on down the road that thing now belongs to the public and the public is always in context of when why, how, what for you're going back to some of your how exactly that. However, you said it that belongs to the people and the people have to dictate where the whether or not they want that there as a representation of themselves. Now.

26:18 Yeah, there's there's a whole lot. Well it was it the Diego. He started to work on the or if you ever seen the movie Frida about Frida, Kahlo. Okay, that was that was a perfect example. He started this painting and he was doing it for himself and not the client and the client walked in and said this is my stuff. So I'm paying you hit the road Jack and then they tore this thing down.

26:54 It could have would have been a very important piece but not necessarily for the people that were in front of it.

27:02 So I'm I'm a fanatic to the public at large and I'm sympathetic to the artists themselves.

27:13 If that helps, but I think so. I was not the reason. So I have no issue with people. The people deciding I'm all about the people decide and in this country, we vote. And so what I found I was wondering how you felt watching them being destroyed. I mean I didn't get to vote to destroy the statue as far as removing it peaceably and not, you know, blowing it up, That was what I was wondering how he felt personally about watching them being physically.

27:57 Well, I feel like the end of the, the videos of the large.

28:03 The huge sculptor of Saddam.

28:08 Yeah, I understand. I don't I don't necessarily approve of it. But I understand Mass. Hysteria and crazy anger is it is always been with us. I mean forever aspect of homo sapiens. In general, they get mad and they go crazy for a little while or for the rest of their life. It's, I have to be careful about that kind of thing in my own wife. Haven't been a juvenile delinquent that, like, to drink and do too many things that do terrible things to your body, but fortunately for me, I live to tell the tale.

28:55 When people are angry about things, myself included, it, it takes a lot to curb that anger to try to be more logical and rational about whatever the subject is. And I can't see a point in history when being careful about that as individuals and as a community that we always had to deal with that. And it doesn't look like it's going to change, but we as individuals can change and then talk to her neighbor, This is what's worked out. Well for me, is take care of that inside of me first.

29:37 And then talk with my neighbor and help them with that. If they need it. They might even be helping me even more.

29:49 East end, or do I feel bad about it? Yeah. For a little bit but then I have to think it through and get to the last what you got for panels in a comic strip. You start with the first one and try to work your way down to where the end panel. It's either a really good punchline for something that teaches me something.

30:13 You mentioned in your?

30:19 And your history of growing up, very interested kind of a he grew up in 56 days, you know, it was a sex drugs and rock and roll and that, you know, women always ended up on the short end of that type of thinking and we during the eighties had a war on drugs and coming from New York, you know, or any City and I've lived in many cities. I find every city. I've lived in it from Durham North Carolina to Atlanta to New York, the people and charger, run, it all the same way. We've had a War on Drugs, a starting in the 80s and we find out during this pandemic 100,000.

31:18 Suicides drug addiction, his skyrocketing surging crime through the roof, unbelievable homicide. And so in the conversation with storycorps and US communicating it's been since the eighties that that we're told vote a particular way and we will fix it for you. Well, they threw it right. They threw the money, right? You paid your taxes. You worked all these jobs and you paid all these exorbitant taxes. And what happened? Chris,

32:01 New York is worse than when I was a teenager. Not sure how Wichita is? But one thing we do know, is that doing it the way we've been doing throwing money at to the feel good, you know, it sounds good types of programs.

32:26 This is where, how do we change that? You know, how do we say how? So? Exactly, you've done it this way? Okay, if I, if you're going to tax me 50, 60 70%. How is that going to help the single mother with 3 kids? The drug addict? The guy who's just released from prison.

32:53 WellMed NM being involved in kind of his members volunteer, my service part of my key service work out there is working with people that are in recovery and that goes into I have the responsibility the fact that I was able to live through it. I tell a lot of my sponsor, he's I should be dead in jail.

33:23 If that makes sense, but but to kind of get the retention of what and then we start to talk about.

33:33 You know, I tell them my story and then they can relate to it cuz it's going to one of my mentors said if I ever sound like I'm giving you advice, you should turn around and walk out of the room, but if I can tell you my story and if you can relate to it, if it does any, if it helps your thinking, then I've done my job.

34:00 But that's just my perspective on the history that I have studied but I was very fortunate to In-N-Out in my case grade school and then going into high school. I went to parochial schools and but I was blessed to be around a lot of brilliant, unconditionally loving cranky old nuns that were very good at presenting mathematics. And you know, we we did study science. We studied Evolution. We studied all the sciences and all the religions and all the mathematics this kind of thing, which let me know that. Okay, I all I need to do is kind of followed their there.

34:51 Their examples and also got to know these people as the people they are outside of their vocation. So it was always a lot of fun and in very interesting and I learned a lot of good bad and indifferent about the things that those people went through.

35:12 I just saw a guy. I find myself just wanting to that's why I'm talking to you to is I want to know things about your experience. And so that helps me own my own experience if that helps.

35:29 Why you bring up a math and science that the crankiness has instilled in you and you know going into, you know, if you are seeing you need it's all about math science and compassion and you can't. How can you be compassionate? If you don't know the math and science? That provides you with the ability to send an airplane into space or put a life-saving stance in a body? And I find it incumbent Upon Us, Chris to get that message out there that if we don't stick to what work in the math and sciences in schools, right? So that we get the next Einstein and the next

36:29 How do you say Steve Jobs? Even have a degree either? By the way? I look with Steve Jobs, give the world. But, you know, you can't miss hearing what's going on. The school's, about the attack that math and science is being viewed, as a racist, type of discipline. And so I think by you letting your sponsor, he's know, you know, the ramifications of what would have happened to you. What should have, what could have happened to you? Thank God, it didn't and you have the knowledge, you know, that your experiences to help them, you know, just stuff.

37:20 Spread the truth and that's what I you know, I find you know science has never settled and yet that gets lost in our media and the way we communicate and you know asking how so exactly does this affect. You know, me and everyone else around me, you know is just viral.

37:48 I follow. I'm with you.

37:56 2 minutes left in the conversation. If there's anything, you guys want to ask each other to close out or even just reflecting on your expectations of what this conversation might be like and and how it was. How are you feeling now?

38:12 Elissa. Well, I so I mean, I may, I looked at this is, you know, I'm always happy to talk to people in and meet new people and find out about them. And I think it was very interesting to look at a bio and then you meet the person. So that's very different. I have to say, no. I've never done that before so I so I would highly recommend it because as Fabulous As I made you my self in that I always say, you know, I don't prejudge, you know, you look at a bio and it is make well as it made me think about you and terms of the things that you said, you know that you do and you know, you could have been

39:12 You know, you know, any other type of personality, but now that I looked at your bio and met you you really feel in the bayou in a human way. And I think that this is where storycorps, this is an aspect of it that is really very unique because in this side, you know, age of high-tech, we lose that humanness and we look at buy us all the time. But what is a bio if I was nothing and it's you and me talking.

39:52 That counts.

39:55 I thought that follow you, I would get I would throw out this that back to if I sound like I'm giving you advice walk away, but I'll throw out this one last suggestion. The next time you go to a wedding reception, go sit at the table with somebody at our whole bunch of somebody's. You don't know and start and introduce yourself and start talking to complete strangers.

40:18 I would always be fine. Especially the food is good.