Meaningful conversations from the heart of your creative spark...

Join us as we explore the thought provoking themes surrounding CreativeMornings Cleveland's monthly breakfast lecture series. Excerpts of the lecture are book ended by meaningful conversations with attendees and speakers alike.

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Preserve ft. Ann Klotz

| S:1 E:17

In this episode of Wake Up Call we explore the theme, PRESERVE. Recorded at the CreativeMornings Cleveland breakfast lecture on May 17th, 2019, David Allen Moss talks with attendees and guest speaker, Ann Klotz.

Join us for the next episode of Wake Up Call. The theme is WONDER.



- David Allen Moss

Why would we preserve something. Anything.

- Autumn Redcross

To keep it good. I immediately thought about strawberries or preserves that you eat. So we're interested in keeping things good and keeping things relevant and alive.

- David Allen Moss

There are countless things we like to preserve and we could go on and on about history and artifacts and genealogies and birth records, oral traditions, religious holidays and cultural ceremonies and so on. But my first guest Autumn mentioned strawberries right out of the gate and it's a great initial response to the question. It sounds a bit trivial compared to the lists I just rattled off. But this answer demonstrates how simple the concept is that we're exploring. Wepreserve, because we place value on something. The value can be almost anything and prescribed by almost anyone but nonetheless, value is placed and then an effort to preserve is made.

- David Allen Moss

I'm David Allen Moss thanks for joining me.

- David Allen Moss

OK, so I already see a hole in my logic. Yes there's some natural, seemingly random occurrences of preservation that happen, like fossils and so on but for the most part I think we'll set those aside for now. OK. On with it.

- Thomas Fox

Hi, I'm Thomas Fox with Creative Mornings Cleveland. We're thrilled to have EvergreenPodcasts on board is our official podcast partner. Evergreen Podcasts is committed to producing the best original content and engaging shows. Right now you're listening to Wake Up Call,recorded on location at the monthly Creative Mornings lecture series. Enjoy.

- Autumn Redcross

Autumn Redcross. So it is Native American and there is a black Cherokee group in Virginia.

- David Allen Moss

Wow.

- David Allen Moss

So they came out of Lynchburg, Virginia.

- David Allen Moss

OK.

- Autumn Redcross

I got started researching my family history because I was looking for a connection to NativeAmerican ancestry in my family, because at the time I was looking into adoption and I called an agency called Rainbow Adoption thinking that it was focused on multicultural families and adoptions of different types of people from myself. But it turned out that it was a NativeAmerican adoption agency and they told me then we only adopt to Native Americans.

- Autumn Redcross

And I said well, my name is Redcross help for anything. And they said, well, do you have a tribal number. And that just through my mind spinning like what.

- David Allen Moss

Like, there's such a thing.

- Autumn Redcross

There's such a thing. And so then I went about trying to figure out if we were indeed NativeAmerican and if this tribal number is something that I could obtain. We never did pursue anadoption, but I did follow through on that genealogy piece.

- David Allen Moss

It turns out the Native American tie comes from Autumn's husband, which makes sense since she took his last name and it was that last name that tipped her off in the first place.

- Autumn Redcross

Not only his father's father, who's name was Redcross, has this link and those are the Lynchburgones that I'm telling you about, but also his father's mother is part of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. Who knew! So it was something that...

- David Allen Moss

Oh, it shook his foundation.

- Autumn Redcross

Yeah, he didn't know anything about it. And when I was asking his father about it. He didn't really want to talk about it. He wanted to only acknowledge his African-American ancestry.That's how he knew himself. This is who he was and he didn't know anything different.

- David Allen Moss

Well, maybe there's the tie in. Do we identify with what we preserve? We worked so hard to find identity. And that is sort of the art of preserving something about ourselves and even for the next generation like -- getting it straight for your children.

- Autumn Redcross

For my kids, yeah.

- David Allen Moss

Yeah. And then you've come to find out, it's not the story you've been working so hard to preserve.

- Autumn Redcross

Right. And now he's quite interested in it. And he'll talk about it to others and he'll even claim some of that ethnicity when it comes to discussing issues. So although he did not have that experience -- a lived experience. He recognizes himself as something that has been born of this experience.

- David Allen Moss

Hearing autumn talk about her family's journey of self discovery makes me question what I Know about myself. It's tough to know who we are isn't it? Some of us have the ability to find public records that clue us in on births, marriages, and deaths in our family history. But those few names dates and places don't fill out the picture much. Some families make significant efforts to discover their genealogy and it's gotten much easier in recent years to do that, but even still, look back just a century and most of us don't have a lot of clarity about our family. And we don't seem to like that kind of ambiguity in our identity. I think we often interpret the pieces of information we do have and fill in a lot of the other gaps ourselves.

- Autumn Redcross

Yeah, that's an interesting idea because we do have the artifacts. So we do have facts to put into our story.

- David Allen Moss

Yeah.

- Autumn Redcross

But how we recreate our history...

- David Allen Moss

Yeah.

- Autumn Redcross

...is this a decision somehow.

- David Allen Moss

Yeah.

- David Allen Moss

What do you think about the theme preserve? I mean, you're you're in it every day. Talk a little bit about what you do and what you think about the importance of that word -- preserve.

- Angie Lowrie

It is what we do and Western Reserve Historical Society has been doing it since 1867. So, over150 years...

- David Allen Moss

That's amazing.

- Angie Lowrie

...we have been preserving Cleveland.

- David Allen Moss

Yeah.

- Angie Lowrie

So, we have preservation through stories, oral histories.

- David Allen Moss

Right.

- Angie Lowrie

We have living history here every day with people that come in and explore and then share their stories. We have a lot of artifacts. Millions of artifacts, photos, diaries. We started first as a library and then we started collecting things and started displaying those things in about 1940 ina museum. And we've been here in university circles since 1940.

- David Allen Moss

This is Angie Lowrie. She's the director of the Cleveland History Center, where she presides over one of those places that we can go to and see the artifacts of our history. This place is just packed full of items that show us our journey, both as a city and on a larger human scale. After we got our hello's out of the way, I started thinking more about what Autumn and I had just discussed. I Wanted to know what Angie thought about interpreting history and maybe presenting history a particular way especially within the context of an organization that's in the business of preservation. I also asked her if preserving history can sometimes stand in the way of progress.You know, I was wondering about those statements we sometimes hear like -- "well, this is the way we've always done it."

- Angie Lowrie

We learn from the past and we preserve the past so we don't repeat it. So, history can be ugly and one of the things at the Cleveland history center we tell all stories. Not all the stories are pretty. Not all of the things that happened in Cleveland are great, but if we don't keep those stories preserved then how are we going to save ourselves in the future generations from repeating those stories. Stories...The river is burning.

- David Allen Moss

Right.

- Angie Lowrie

You can explore that here today and every day at the Cleveland History Center. We talk about what what progress led to the pollution of the river and why it burned. And then you can look at how the Stokes administration took an active role in cleaning up the river. And then of course today and this year especially, 50 years later, we're celebrating where we've come. So, I think one of the important things that we do is we share those stories, share that history, and open the door the conversation. Chief Wahoo. Our job is to continue to share the stories of how people relate to Chief Wahoo. As a logo for the Cleveland Indians, as a landmark. It was at Municipal Stadium. We have the sign here and it can be very offensive. And also others who are fans and see it as a logo for the Cleveland Indians, they are very passionate about it. So, that is another thing that we're preserving. Something can stand in the way of progress and making sure that all people are treated well and how race and those kind of logos is an ongoing conversation. But I Think that we have that here to open the door for that conversation and actually in the interpretation next to that object we encourage people to have the conversation online and share, how do you see Chief Wahoo and keep the conversation going. So, we can hold onto things, but we can also continue to keep talking about it and progress isn't always fast it isn't always easy and sometimes holding on to that can slow down, but I don't think it ever stops.

- David Allen Moss

I love Angie's perspective here. It's preservation that is active. Artifacts not only for history's sake, but artifacts so that we can learn and grow. We have a long way to go on our collective journey and it's good to be prodded along.

- David Allen Moss

You're listening to Wake Up Call. We'll be right back.

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- David Allen Moss

Welcome back. You're listening to Wake Up Call. I'm David Allen Moss and our theme this episode is, preserve.

- David Allen Moss

Do you feel like your music pursuits tie in with today's theme.

- Gretchen Pleuss

I do, yeah, actually. I feel like music kind of in and of itself is a way to preserve the present moment. And it's also a way to preserve the past. And it's also, it can be informative for the future. So all of that kind of goes together, but I think music in and of itself is a way of preservation. You know, everybody writes different music but it's all coming from this sort of like collective human experience...you know.

- David Allen Moss

This is Gretchen Pleuss. She's a musician that played at the event for us and she was good enough to sit down and give us some insight on her songwriting philosophy. Capturing the human experience in a lyric and song takes a lot of choices. Any kind of creating does, right? So,I asked Gretchen about some of the choices she makes when she's working on a piece of music.What is it she's trying to capture? What is she trying to preserve?

- Gretchen Pleuss

I want to see connection preserved. Like, empathy, connection, actual intimate...you know,closeness. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the rat race that we forget. And art and music remind us of those things. So, that's what I try to preserve by being somewhat vulnerable in my songs.

- David Allen Moss

Let's face it. Vulnerability encourages connection. How do you preserve something that's inside of people? ...between people?

- Gretchen Pleuss

But that's the thing about like coming to like meet ups like this and going to live shows and art galleries things like that where you can actually get that connection that we do naturally, like,we're starting to sort of move away from sometimes because we get so busy or we're overworked. We have enough entertainment at home. But then we forget about the importance of that really like one on one connection.

- David Allen Moss

That one on one connection is important. Gretchen places a lot of value on it. And I think we all need to do the same. I have millions of songs at my fingertips all the time, but hearing a song live and experiencing that moment with others is meaningful.

- Ann Klotz

So, I was thinking the other day...this play, that I just did with our little girls...the second grade offered inspiration from the future to the little girls of 1919 who were working for the vote. Andone of the girls said the most dangerous words in our society are, "we've always done it that way," by Grace Hopper, computer scientist. And she said, "I don't quite understand this." And Isaid, "that's 'cause," ...I thought to myself, "That's 'cause you're seven," but for me, at 58, I think,wow, we have to be really careful that we don't default to, "We've always done it this way." We use that as code for, "and nor do we want to examine the practice or possibly change it or adaptit." You know, the only person who likes change is that wet baby, I think. And so, how do I, as the leader of a school, say, "OK," what is still serving us? You know what's not serving us?What's not serving us, is teachers standing at the front of the classroom delivering lectures with kids as passive recipients of knowledge. We know that for kids to really learn they have to be engaged. They have to be questioning. They have to be part of the learning. In some ways, myjob is to be curating the way we're delivering an education.

- David Allen Moss

Wow, that's a great way to look at it.

- Ann Klotz

And to be selective about, what are we doing when and how. And one thing I've learned in my15 years is to give us a longer runway on some of the things that might be evolving practices,because we don't get there all at once and people need process.

- David Allen Moss

Ann Klotz is the headmistress of Laurel School. She's an academic and an administrator.Learning, improving, and moving forward, is her every day. I love that she's returning to the idea that we need to be examining how we live -- all the time. We don't just keep doing things because "that's how we do it," but, we learn from the past. And we build on it.

- Ann Klotz

Think about cars or fashion or books -- that there are still elements we recognize from, you know, I don't know, Gutenberg, in a book today. It's differently delivered, but I think about that with cars or with clothes. Form follows function and then we reinvented again and we think we're so fancy that we've reinvented it.

- David Allen Moss

During Ann's talk at Creative Mornings, she spoke so eloquently and deliberately about the process of examining and curating education techniques, but then claim to be a bit of a hoarder at home -- which I'm sure she overstates, but I asked her about it anyway. Why do you find it difficult to decide what to preserve of your own things?

- Ann Klotz

You know and I actually think about this a lot. I lived in a family where that idea of passing things down was somehow elevated beyond or above -- "throw it out." So, I love that I have my grandmother's china. Now really, I don't give a whole lot of dinner parties for 18, but it feels, Ithink, with Marie Kondo says, "does it give you joy?" I think, Yes, it does give me joy.

- David Allen Moss

Even if it's sitting in a cabinet, I see it and I know it's there. So, it's obviously something as we get older that we're gonna have to grapple with and grapple with, with our kids. And I feel a lot of pressure, you know, to get rid of stuff. And then I think, but I love having books. I love having my books around me or my handkerchiefs that belonged to my mom or my grandmother. Those Things make me happy.

- David Allen Moss

Listen, she definitely overstated her hoarding tendencies. This is about things that bring joy --things that hold meaning. It's the human connection that Gretchen talked about.

- Ann Klotz

They hold our memories. I'm wearing my grandmother's cousin's earrings that she gave me when she died. She was a formidable academic. She was a scholar. And when I put them on I feel equal to anything, because I am carrying her with me.

- David Allen Moss

So, I have a plant that was from my grandfather's funeral in the early 80s. And I took that plant to college and I remember how that plant grew from the ceiling to the ground...in sort, of the filtered light of this huge catalpa tree. You know, the ones with the beans that hang down. So,here was this just flourishing plant. And I actually ran over it at one point in the backyard when Iwas moving from one house to the other I think I moved eleven times in thirteen years -- back in the 90s. So this plant is still in my house...so fast forward to 2019 -- and I just repotted some clippings that were growing in a jar of water, for probably three years -- into soil. And you know,it's not about the plant. It's about the connection to the memory of a great person. A green thumb,a World War One war hero, who would tell me stories of putting doors over the trenches so that he could have tea with his fellow soldiers, amid the battle. And somebody who taught me so much about being close to the land -- and being kind to others and always having a sense of humor. That's what that one -- plant...and keeping that plant, you know, on the planet, preserves for me. And I think the theme today, for everyone out there, is a real precious, moment to stop and reflect at all the things that you preserve, whether they're material objects or just memories -- that connect you to something greater.

- David Allen Moss

We've hit on this theme preserve from so many different angles. And our placement of meaning to things is the thread that pulls all of our conversation together. I want to thank our guests today, Autumn Redcross, Angie Lowrie, Gretchen Pleuss, and our featured guest Ann Klotz. I'mDavid Allen Moss and I hope you join us next episode. The theme is -- Wonder. Wake Up Call isa production of Evergreen Podcasts, a proud member of the Front Porch Media Network. Specialthanks to Executive Producers, Joan Andrews and Michael DeAloia. Producer and AudioDirector, Dave Douglas. Account Manager, Connor Standish. Thanks to Toubab Krewe for the use of their song Rooster -- available on iTunes. And if you would please like and review this program, it really helps. Learn more about this and other podcasts from Evergreen at EvergreenPodcasts .com.

- David Allen Moss

Wake Up Call. Ideas that crow.



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