Rachel: So the first question is your name – as you want me to include it – and your age and where you’re from.
Allie: My name is Allie. I am nineteen and I am from Big Spring Texas.
R: Okay, great. So what’s it like where you live. If you were going to describe the town, the region to someone who has no idea what this part of Texas is like, what the town is like – how would you describe it?
A: It’s pretty quiet, pretty sleepy, not a whole lot goin’ on – umm. It’s pretty dry, pretty hot most of the time.. It’s just a yery average little Texas town. Everybody knows everybody – you know. And everybody helps everybody. So it’s just a yery average little sleepy West Texas town.
R: What’s the population?
A: Around twenty-five thousand.
R: That’s awesome – okay cool. And so where were you born? Where did you grow up?
A: I was born here in Big Spring, but I’ve lived in Alpine, Texas. I’ve lived in Bull Head City, Arizona. I’ve lived in Longview, Texas. My mom kept getting promoted in her job so we – we’ve – moved back and forth between places, but now that I’m grown-up I came back here for college.
R: What was your childhood like? What did you parents do or who – did you have siblings? You know – what – what was growing up like?
A: Growing up was pretty, pretty normal I guess. I have a little sister Maddy. She’s gonna be seventeen here soon. My mom is a nurse. She’s now a C.N.O. at a hospital in Arkansas. My dad’s a surgical tech. He’s now a teacher at a community college there in Arkansas where they live. My mom is from Canada originally. My dad is originally here from Big Spring. So I’ve – I live here mostly but we go and visit Canada every summer, which is fun. I have relatives from there. We did a lot of traveling just a lot of traveling to different vacations, different places. I just had a pretty average childhood. I mean of course mine was a little different just because I have a pretty high IQ. I was reading pretty early, talking pretty early, put in advanced classes – stuff like that. So I mean not most six year olds don’t read Shakespeare, but I did – you know – so, so it was a little different from normal, but for the most part it was just average. I had pets, I liked the color pink, I liked different Barbie dolls and stuff like that.
R: How do you identify?
A: I identify as pansexual, which to me means that I like – I don’t base who I like sexually on their perceived gender. Like if they look female but they’re actually male, I don’t really notice that. I don’t notice a person’s gender when I first see them cause everybody does this whether they realize it or not in the back of their head of when they see a person they don’t – they automatically have that moment of “ooh I totally know that person.” Gender for me doesn’t play a factor in that – you know – it’s never played a factor.
R: When did you first know that you were pansexual?
A: [Sigh] I kinda knew – I knew I wasn’t straight probably when I was six or seven. Just because I found something pretty in everybody, I thought a lot of people were pretty that a lot of other people didn’t think were pretty. But it was – pshh – the first, the way I kinda found out was actually watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time and when Tim Curry came out in drag I just, I don’t know in the back of my head I was like “Wow that’s really attractive, I like that, I think that’s hot.” And it just kinda startled me. I was like “okay, where did that thought come from?” And so I just kinda thought about it for a minute and I stopped the movie and I went over to the computer and I just kinda started looking online and then I came across pansexual and I started reading the definitely and I was like oh my god this is, this is me. This is how I feel. You know, this is who I am. Yeah.
R: And how old were you?
A: I was probably about twelve or thirteen at that time.
R: Okay, so then what was your – I’m just tryin’ to notice when people are trying to come out the door not cause it matters but cause it will pick up on them. So what was your coming out experience like?
A: Ummm it was actually pretty good. I was – I told my dad first, we were actually on a road trip to go see a concert together and we were just talking and stuff and you know he was like you know – he is always kind of reiterating – you know – if you wanna tell me anything – you know you can tell me anything you want. And I just kinda came out with it – you know – that I was pansexual and that – you know – at the time I had a girlfriend and but that might change – you know – and that it didn’t – you know – necessarily mean that I was a different person, but that’s just that’s just who I was. And he just kinda paused for a minute and was like “You know, I kinda already had the inkling that you just – you know – weren’t exactly completely straight, but you know you’re still my daughter and I still love you.” And I told my mom and she was like “Well, duh Allie, duh.” I was like “How did you know?” and she was like “I’m your mother, I know everything.” And I was like, “Okay mom, okay. Alright, mom.” Yeah.
R: And so how old were you when this happened?
A: I was probably about sixteen. Yeah I was sixteen or seventeen.
R: Okay so, so it wasn’t a big deal for them?
A: It wasn’t a big deal for them, no. I’m kind of an odd-ball anyways so it was just kind of another “eh – it’s just who she is”
R: Totally. Alright so. Um how about – so it sounds like you, you had a girlfriend when you were in high school.
R: So how, what was it like being out in school here?
A: Well, I went to a couple different schools throughout my school career just cause we moved so much, but… it was, it depended on where I went. Alot of place I’ll admit I did get a lot of hostility especially towards, I guess, the more religious people. I got a lot of religious hostility. I got a lot of just general bullying because of it – lots of shoving, lots of, they loved to take my things and hide them where I couldn’t find it or destroy my things. And you know, but for the most part I just kind of grew a thick skin and kind of ignored it – you know – cause I figured it was their problem and not mine – you know. If you know I’m not going to change something as complex as my sexuality if – you know – if they just can’t, don’t want to keep their options to themselves, especially when their not asked for. So I just kind of ignored it, you know
R: Did you have a lot of other, like queer friends in high school?
A: Yeah, yeah. I hung out with the artsy kids, the nerds, the weird kids, you know and a lot of us were, some of us were more out than others, you know, but everybody just kind of new that’s the group of kids – you know – that aren’t straight. They’re the queer ones, they’re the weird ones, so.
R: Do you think that living in smaller towns made it harder to come out than if you had lived in the city, you think the experience…
A: Yeah, mostly just because of what I said before, everybody knows everybody here like I can’t even sneeze at the grocery store without my grandma finding out about it and asking me if I feel sick – you know. So it’s just – you know – as soon as I just think about doing something, someone already knows and is telling somebody else and it’s just all over before I even finished what I’m doing – you know. So it is a lot harder just mostly because of that mentality but also just especially in the South it’s still the bible belt – it’s still a lot of fire and damnation and hell and queers are gonna burn in hell for all eternity – you know. That we’re just, we’re not right, we’re not natural – you know. And growing up and hearing that does make a lot of people afraid to come out – you know – just cause they don’t want that hate from their friends and their family and their neighbors and their coworkers and just people generally around town – you know. It’s just a lot harder, it is a lot harder here… especially now that I’m an adult and I’m out and everything – you know. It’s just – you know – I get people that I don’t know, but that they know me through family or whatever – you know – they’ll come up to me and be like “Oh! You’re so and so’s granddaughter.” And I’m like “How do you know who I am?” And they’re like “Oh we know your grandparents.” And I’m like “Of course, of course.” And then – you know it’s just, it’s just hard, really hard. It’s a lot harder than most people expect.
R: Yeah, so are there like space where you are out and spaces where you aren’t out? And how do you decide?
A: For the most part I’m pretty out everywhere. I don’t, I haven’t really come out to my grandparents or certain members of my family cause they’re the uber religious ones – you know – I just don’t on top of everything else I deal with I don’t want to have to deal with that on top of it. But you know for the most part I mean I’m out everywhere and it’s just because, I guess cause I’m comfortable in my own skin and it’s just about that mentality it’s their problem, not mine if they don’t want to accept me I’m not going to change something as complex as who I am, my sexual identity, my opinions, anything like that if – you know – they just don’t wanna be a kind human being and respect me being open about myself – you know. So yeah, just for the most part I’m pretty out everywhere I mean nothing really, I don’t have separate spheres of where I’m out and where I’m not.
R: Um… so. This is kind of a big question. So what do you think is the largest issue, struggle, or challenge faced by queer people today in the U.S. And then what do you think it is for rural, smaller town queer people? And do you think it’s the same or different?
A: I think we all kinda face – whether we live in big towns or little towns or just wherever, just a whole bunch of stereotypes. Just stereotypes of what gay people are, of what lesbians are, of what transgenders are. Like the biggest stereotype that I hate about pansexuals and bisexuals is that we’re sluts – that we’ll just sleep with anybody. No, it just means that gender really isn’t a criteria of who we sleep with. We still have standards. I have standards of who I will date, who I think is attractive, who I feel romantically towards, you know. But gender just isn’t a factor. It’s just, that’s my opinion, it’s just the stereotypes that all gay guys are weak and limp-wristed and speak in high voices and you know everything like that. My, one of my good friends Jed – you couldn’t even guess that boy was gay – he’s six-six, body builder, muscular, you know – you wouldn’t even know if you didn’t see him with his boyfriend – you would never guess he’s gay. You know it’s just breaking through all the stereotypes that we have to face whether you’re in a big town or a small town. Cause I’ve visited big towns before and you know, it’s just stereotypes are everywhere.
R: So what do you, who do you feel like your community is? And like what are the largest struggles facing your community? So sometimes other people are like my community isn’t like a queer community and these are the big issues in my town. And sometimes – you know -sometimes it is.
A: I think the biggest thing we face here is a lot of not only gender equality but racial equality. There’s just, it’s again it’s just the rural South, racism and sexism and bigotry and all those sorts of “isms” are well alive here. I hear it every day from people I’m just around, from family, from friends, from people in class. And it’s just, it’s just a big issue because I kinda think we’re in a, especially in small rural towns, we’re still in a little bubble, kinda like we’re stuck in the 1950s or 60s with our thinking. You know we don’t try to expand outside of that bubble. Just because I know sexism is alive and well because males that do my job at my work, they get paid twice as much as I do for half the amount of work here and I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m getting paid that is just because I’m a girl. I see racism alive and well every day here in this town even though the majority of the town is Hispanic and Black. I still see a lot of that. And I still see a lot of bigotry. Every day I hear just kids in my school, people in town just throwing around the word “gay” and “queer” and “faggot” and all that stuff and it’s just nothing, like words don’t mean anything.
R: Umm. So how do you feel about being pansexual and from a small town? How about those two parts of yourself?
A: Sometimes they…they conflict. They kinda butt heads with each other, you know, because – just because I guess my sexuality kinda bleeds into my personality. I like everything, like, I’m not a picky person—I like everything and then there’s just the other part of me that is where I grew up and how I was raised—you know, “Be ladylike, keep to yourself, don’t speak unless spoken to,” you know, “let guys open doors for you, let guys pull out your chair, let guys open your car door, always listen to your elders, respect your elders,” and stuff like that—and it’s just a conflict between me wanting to you know be more modern, be more of a modern woman, and then stick with my small town, you know the way I was raised, stick with my small town upbringing. So a lot of times they do conflict.
R: That’s interesting. Um, how do you feel like your town, your community, your school, um sort of interacts with you as a, as a queer person?
A: Well, the biggest thing I face is just when you know people find out what my sexuality is, the first question is “What is pansexual?” I get that stupid question of “Are you sexually attracted to kitchenware or something?” you know, I get that stupid question a lot, but, no it’s just people, especially at the college level—one, once you get to college, people just don’t care anymore. They don’t care, they’re just like “Oh, that’s cool” and move on to the next question, you know, move on to the next subject, but I have again, gotten a lot of hate, a lot of hate, a lot of snubbing from the religious people at my school, cause the majority of the town, I’d have to say, is Christian or Catholic, and just a lot of, again the upbringing of always just hearing “Gays are wrong, it’s wrong to be gay, they’re all going to Hell”—you know, stuff like that—so a lot of people just don’t know how to act around me. They just…they don’t know what to say, what to do, you know, just because they’re afraid that they’re gonna offend me or that I’m gonna say something back that’s going to offend them, so sometimes it is walking on eggshells when I interact with people.
R: When do you feel the most proud to be pansexual?
A: Oh gosh…that’s a hard question. I guess when I help other people who are struggling with their sexuality, just because people know me as the one who you want to go to with a problem cause I’m never gonna judge you about it cause I just, I can’t judge people. I’ve done a lot of bad things, said a lot of bad things, you know, so I just I can’t judge people for what they’ve done or said or how they’re feeling or whatever, so I guess when I’m proudest is when I’m helping somebody else with their own sexuality or their own problems, you know? Just cause that gives me that sense of pride, of “I’m doing good in the world, and helping.”
R: And when are you the most proud to be, like, country, or from this part of Texas, or you know?
A: When, when I go out of state and people compliment me on my manners and you know how polite I am and how, just well-mannered I am, and they’re like, “You’re from the South, aren’t you?” and I’m like “Yes, yes I am. I’m from Texas,” and they’re like, “Ahhomph, we should of known. You’re so polite and well-mannered,” and I’m just like “Yay, my parents did something right.”
R: When are you the happiest in your life?
A: Ohh… Mmm… Again, that’s a tricky question—I’m, I’m just generally a happy person, I’m happy most of the time. But I’d have to say I’m the happiest when I’m working, cause I deliver newspapers for the local paper and one of my routes is, it’s pretty long, it takes about an hour and a half to do the route, and it’s a lot of alone time out in the middle of nowhere, out in the, out in the country part of town, out in the boondocks. And I actually get a lot of time to think, a lot of time to just think and contemplate things and listen to music, and just relax you know, and just not have to stress about anything you know, just drive and just relax. So I love my job. I also like, I’m a I’m a pretty big fan girl. I love Harry Potter, I love The Fault in Our Stars, I love Divergent—I love all those things. I have a Tumblr and a Twitter and an Instagram and I’m always on them. I’m always sharing things and talking about things and just, and just being that—it, it, that’s where about 95% of my productive goes every days. Is that stuff. (indistinguishable) You know, so, I’m pretty happy when I’m doing fan girl stuff.
R: Did you say “Fan girl?”
A: Fan girl. That’s what it’s called—being a fan girl.
R: I’ve never heard this term, so that means…
A: You’re a fan of something
R: You’re a fan—anything
A: Yeah, it can apply to anything
R: Like music, books…
A: Yeah, that’s just a general term. Yeah
R: Wow. Good to know. (laughter) So…this is maybe more of a like longer term question, but so do you think about have a f.., do you see, first of all, do you think about staying in a, in a small area in your life? And then do you ever think about having a family as a like a like having a queer family of some type in a rural town? And what do you think would be hard about that and what do you think would be good about that? Or is it something you don’t even think about?
A: No, I do think about it. I do think about having a family one day. I know that there’s the possibility that I could have a queer family, depends on who I fall in love with. And I’m not gonna be, I’m not sugarcoat it and say “Oh, it’s gonna be great, It’s gonna be awesome.” I know it’s not, especially in a small town just because, again, just because everybody’s gonna know our business, everybody’s gonna know, you know that we’re the queer family, and they’re gonna judge us for it, you know? So, yes I do think about having a family. Do I wanna necessarily stay in a small town? I might, I might, it would just depend on the circumstances. Like, I would say, like if I was dating, if I fell in love with somebody who was transgender or agendered or something like that, I might think about moving to a more open-minded area just to protect my partner and my kids if we decided to have kids, you know. Just because I know what it’s like to go through bullying, I know what it’s like to go through judging and I just, I wouldn’t want to put anybody through that. So it would just depend on the situation.
R: Umm, so, I think a big issue for people that I’ve interviewed and now for myself is like, how do you meet other queer people in rural places, right? How do you find people to date, how do you find people to hang out with? How do you find other, like friends?
R: Um, so how, what do you think about that?
A: It is hard, it is hard, again especially with the whole religious thing cause I can tell you I know that a lot more people here in town are queer than they admit to be just because of the whole religious aspect. It is tricky but I think once you put yourself out there and you’re open, friends will find you, you know. People have come up to me and you know I’ve made friendships to the fact that “Oh, you’re pansexual? Oh, well I’m bisexual” or “I’m a lesbian” or “I’m gay,” or you know “Oh you like this? Oh I like that too.” You know. It’s just, again once you, once you put yourself out there it’s a lot easier to find friends.
R: Oh. Um, so do you know of other queer people who, like, I suppose more about, sort of like queer history in your area? Do you do you know of like older people who lived here who um, were queer? Do you know of like any, any historical local history of queer people?
A: No, not, not locally. I do know of just the average people that live around town who are gay and stuff like that, um, but again they get a lot of talking behind their backs, es-especially the women of getting called you know “old maids,” you know, “old dykes” and stuff like that. But for the most part I can’t, really can’t think of anybody who’s local, who’s big, who was who’s queer. I can’t…
R: Doesn’t even have to be big, but do you know like, you know of like local people who are queer who are older than you who have lived here before you…
A: Yeah, yeah, I know several. Yeah.
R: Do you feel pressure to move to a city?
A: No, no I feel, I feel pretty comfortable here. I am, you know, I just go about my day-to-day activities, and it’s just a pretty boring, average life. I mean, I wake up, I go to class, I go get my papers, I go to work, I go back to my dorm, I do homework, play around on the computer, go to sleep, wake up, do it all over again. You know, that’s, that’s just a typical day for me. So I don’t, I don’t feel pressured to move to a big city. Maybe would I like to move to a big city just for more to do just cause I’m that kinda person? You know, maybe, but we do have Midland and Odessa, couple, ‘bout half an hour away and then an hour away. And they have, they’re, they’re a big city I guess you could technically say. They have stuff to do, so I I can always do that but no, I don’t I don’t feel pressured.
R: Do you do you feel like do you know like queer people who live in big, big cities? Or do you feel like you connect to sort of the like mainstream sort of queer culture that maybe you see on the TV that’s in bigger cities? Or do you feel like it’s hard to relate because it’s really different in rural places?
A: I think, I think it is hard to relate with people who, with queer people who live in bigger cities just because again it’s just a lot more open. There are just so many people there that most people don’t care what you do—they just, they don’t, they see you for 2 seconds and then you’re gone, you know. Here, here it is a lot different just because everybody’s scrutinizing everything you do, every move you make, every word you say, everything you do. So it is a lot harder, but then on the other hand, I mean, I do identify with a lot of the stuff that, I think we just all deal with the hate, the bullying, you know the just the just the condemnation of just of our people just for being who they are, you know? Just the, just the general hate, we deal with that, everybody, all of us deal with that, but for the most part it, it is difficult to relate. Like Tyler Oakley. Tyler Oakley is one of my big heroes. He’s amazing, he’s funny, he’s charming, you know and he is all this stuff, and he’s just so open and honest with everything you know that he is, and you know, I I kinda aspire to be like him you know just to be open and honest about my life. But he lives in L.A. you know and it’s just so much easier to do that here—do that there. Here, I have to think before I speak, I have to think before I say anything, I have to think before I do anything you know. It just, it’s so hard kind of to be who I am op—really openly without the fear of being judged.
R: So you just talked about one, but do you have more, other heroes, people you just (indistinguishable) aspire to be?
A: Yeah, George Takei, he is one of my big heroes. Jane Lynch. I love her, she is so funny and she’s just so amazing. Troye Sivan. He is, he’s from Australia. He’s so, he’s so adorable, he is just so cute and he’s a great singer. Umm… who else? Umm, who else? Let me think. Umm…there’s probably a lot more I could think of but I, I just I can’t think of right now off the top of my head. I love Michael Knote—he runs the “Have a Gay Day” page. For what he’s doing for the page and what he’s doing for the community I think is really big, getting it out there in the open, and it’s uh, you know mainstream media. He’s, he’s a big inspiration for me. Um, and then I just know of a lot of inspiration for just everyday people that I know that are queer, you know that just you know live their life and do what they wanna do and don’t make any apologies for it.
R: Yeah. Um. So, we talked about this a little when I wasn’t recording. But what are you in college for and what are you plans and what do you think you’d like your life to be like
A: I’m in college studying education. I’m pretty sure I wanna do either high school or college history. Um, and I, I don’t know. I’ve I have a couple different ideas about where I might wanna move to, might wanna live. Hope to one day teach at a university and the family’s just an iffy thing. It’s just, I’m not, I’m not a good relationship person. I’ve just kind of found that out. I’m just, I’m not very good with relationships, but you know one day maybe. Maybe have a family, stuff like that. But yeah, I just I’m hoping maybe one day to maybe move down to the coast, maybe move to the coast of Florida, some place like that you know stay in South, cause I like the South, but just in general you know. Just right now my big goals are getting my, getting my degree and finding a place you know to teach maybe.
R: Is there something you’d want to say to other rural or small town queer folks?
A: That they’re definitely not alone, that again, a lot of more, a lot of people are queer that don’t admit to it. There’s a lot more of us out there than you might realize and then especially to the teenagers—14, 15, something like that— it does get better. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché, but it does get better especially once you get to college cause just again people – just, just don’t care. It’s not, it’s not anything like high school—people don’t care if you’re black or white or Hispanic, if you’re gay or straight or whatever. They’re just like, “Oh, that’s cool. Next subject we talk about.” It does get a lot better, it gets a lot easier, you know? And that if you feel like you have to put a label on your sexuality—don’t. Don’t feel like you have to put a label on it. Just say hey, just say to yourself, “Hey, you know, this is what I feel. I mostly like girls, but hey maybe sometimes I like boys too.” That’s fine too. You don’t have to put a label on it. You know, I think that’s just the big thing that a lot of people don’t get. You don’t have to label everything about yourself. You don’t. You don’t have to label your sexuality. You don’t have to label your personality. You don’t have to label your likes and your dislikes. You can just be yourself and those things are just a part of you.
R: So, what, what are, what do you think would make it easier for rural and small town queer people, and maybe specifically, for like rural and small town queer youth? Ya know? What are some things that would’ve helped make, make your experience easier in smaller towns? Or that still would help now.
A: Yeah, I think definitely we need more GSAs, a lot of them are gay-straight alliances, just so that kids can have a thing that they can go to, especially kids like me who are more outsiders, more of the you know loner kids. Have place that they can go to once or twice a week, you know and a meeting you know, meet other kids and hang out and do stuff in a place where they know they’re not gonna be judged. You know I think that would help a ton if schools where more open-minded to having them. I also think a lot of things that would be a little more helpful is, I don’t have anything against parents raising their kids in a certain religion, but I just think that a little more religious tolerance would be better. Just like, yes this family is Christian but if you want to explore different religions like Hinduism or Wiccan or Judaism or anything like that, you go ahead you know. I think that would help a lot. I think that would be great for a lot of kids to realize that they don’t have to stick with the religion they grew up with, that they can expand their ideology. And another thing is just for schools to also just become more of a safe haven cause they can, they can say what they want but schools right now are really tough to deal with, especially for the queer kids, just because, again they hear every day the words thrown around like they that don’t mean anything—faggot, queer, sissy, wimp, pussy, whatever—you know, and it just, it really hurts. It really, really hurts those kids and the other kids don’t realize what they’re doing. So if schools would get on more bullying, I also think that would, that would be a big help, especially to queer youth.
R: Um, so those are all my questions but I always like to ask people what I should’ve asked you, like, what, what are questions that you would want to ask other queer, or rural people or, you know, is there anything you wanna talk about that I didn’t ask you about?
A: Mmm, I guess dating? Dating. Dating is really hard. Cause I mean, in, for traditional dating, I mean you go to a movie or you go out to dinner or you know you go do this or that but in a lot of small towns, a lot of small places, you can’t do that, especially if it’s with someone of the same gender because, again whether people wanna admit it or not, people will stare, they will make comments and you just feel really uncomfortable doing that. So dating, dating is a huge challenge for me just because I…I want to go on dates but I don’t know if I’m gonna be judged, if I’m gonna be talked about, if my date’s gonna feel uncomfortable with that, it’s just a really big thing, you know? It’s why I’m kind of wary of dating anybody, you know, it’s hard. It a really hard issue, you know?
R: Yeah, yeah.
A: Cause I just, I don’t know what’s gonna happen on a date. I don’t
R: Mmhmm. Right, it can’t just be like “well let’s go do something nice together.” There’s a whole unknown…
A: Yeah…it’s the whole unknown factor. And just I guess again the pansexual stereotypes I just think, we need, I need, there needs to be from just the community as a whole a little more visibility on not just lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, more on the, I guess more on the more unknowns, the pansexual, agendered, stuff like that, a lit bit more visibility just so more people know what it is and you can be more sensitive to it, you know, especially since I am pansexual I have dated people who are transgendered and agendered and a lot of people don’t think nowadays to think to ask what pronouns people prefer to be called or you know what they’re comfortable being called, you know? I think a lot more visibility needs to be given to that. And another thing that needs to be given more visibility too is just, again, stereotyping. Is big stereotyping. Because again, I hear it all day every day, just stereotypes about lesbian, gays, bisexual, transgenders, everybody—they just have stereotypes put in on them. And just you don’t know if you’re hurting when you’re saying those stereotypes. You don’t know who you’re hurting. You could be hurting your own sister or your own brother or your own aunt or somebody you really care about by saying that. So I just think people need to be a little more aware of what they’re saying and what they’re doing.
R: I thought it was interesting we were just talking about the spring, the history of the spring and the town and that’d be interesting stuff to include if you wanna…
A: Yeah. Big Spring was founded back in I think the early 1800s when people were coming through to the West. There’s a spring north here of town, it’s actually a pretty big lake reservoir thing, but the Comanches and the Apaches when they were traveling would stop here, feed their, to water their animals, and everything like that, and then the settlers came through, they set up a town here. And its, we’re growing by leaps and bounds right now because of the oil field. There’s oil field everywhere. There – in the past couple of years, trailer parks and housing and everything has popped up. Schools are booming. They can’t get teachers in fast enough. They can’t expand fast enough. Rent is through the roof. Prices are through the roof for everything. We’re, we’re a pretty booming little town right now. But what, but what a lot of the more older people are afraid of right now is what’s gonna happen to the town once the oil boom goes? What’s gonna happen to us? Cause we’re in a, once the oil boom goes the oil field workers and their families leave, we’re gonna be left with all this stuff, all these places to live, all these extra restaurants, and businesses and shops like that are gonna be empty and were not gonna have anything to do with them you know? So we’re, we’re kinda at a crossroads right now. Cause I mean on one hand you need to expand to, to fit what we, what we have right now, but on the other have we gotta think about the future, and think about what ok what happens, what happens when the oil is gone? When the oil dries up what’re we gonna do with all this stuff? That’s the big issue we’re facing right now.
R: Cool. Well those are all my questions unless there’s anything you wanna add or anything else you wanna talk about. That’s all I have.
R: Alright, well thank you so much. How did you find out about the project?
A: Umm, I saw it on Facebook.
R: Cool, just like forwarded from someone that you knew? Posted somewhere?
R: So interesting to me, you know cause people get in touch from, and I’m like “how..?” I guess Facebook just, things go…
A: Yeah…Facebook just goes.
R: Well thank you for getting in touch and it was great meeting you, and let’s go take some pictures if you don’t mind.
Interviewed at a cafe in Big Spring, TX on June 23, 2014.
Transcription by our wonderful volunteers: Jess Epsten and Heidi Marsh!