Interview with Ann Moore Feb 22, 2012
Marcia: Ann, I know you have traveled the world, but where did you start out life?
Ann: I grew up on a farm in Southern Ohio near Dayton. I‘m a farm girl at heart. My parents were Dunkards (Old Order German Baptist), very similar to the Amish, only we had cars, not buggies, and electricity. My folks were “plain clothes” people – bonnets and black broad rimmed hats. The sect is very family oriented and peace loving like the Mennonites and Quakers.
Marcia: So, where’s your bonnet?
Ann: My parents were excommunicated when I was in 3rd grade for having a radio. Daddy listened to the farm reports to know when to sell the corn, etc. To this day, the radio and television are forbidden but all of my extended family are still Dunkards. They sometimes would sneak over to my folks to watch tv.
Marcia: Did you go to public school?
Ann: Yes. There were 16 students in my class and we started first grade together through our senior year. I was a bit hyper so in 3rd grade my parents gave me accordion lessons thinking that for ½ hour each day I would be calm with this big instrument on my lap. I still play the accordion. I also played the cello, flute and recorder and am now studying banjo. Music has become a life long passion.
Marcia: What about college?
Ann: I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BS in Nursing & Health. My brother was so bright that he tested out of most of his college classes and received his BA from Univ. of Chicago in one year.
Marcia: So then did you practice nursing?
Ann: I taught pediatric nursing.at Columbia Univ. in New York City, under the auspices of the Babies Hospital, for five years. During that time, I participated in two international work camps sponsored by the Quakers. The first was in Morocco, building an orphanage after the earth quake in Agadir that killed 30,000 Moroccans. The second experience was in Germany working with East German refugees. Those 2 experiences filled my core with the realization we all are the same in our hearts regardless of our cultural, religious, or political differences. We are one big human family.
Marcia: So what happened next? Where did you meet Mike?
Ann: When President Kennedy suggested the Peace Corps in 1961, I was the 33rd applicant. I so believed that when we work and play together coming from very different life experiences , it’s the greatest path to a more peaceful world. Seven of us from Babies Hospital joined a medical team of 20 going to Togo, West Africa. Mike, at the same time was going to Togo on a teaching team. We trained at Howard Univ in DC and our first day, Mike walked in playing the guitar. That did it. We were married 8 weeks later at the Ohio farm. 400 Dunkards attended the lawn wedding with the reception in our cleaned out chicken house. Mike and his Yale Whiffenpoof singing group entertained. It was a great cross cultural experience.
Marcia: So, what was your experience like in Togo?
Ann: My role was teaching nutrition and practicing pediatric nursing. During our first year, there was a coup in which the outstanding president was assassinated by a drunken soldier who became the president for life. We returned a few years ago with Rotary’s Polio Plus program and Togo is as poor as when we were there and five times as many people. Peace Corps is still there trying to make inroads in health and nutrition.
It was there that the seeds were planted that would change our lives. While in the hospital or market place we observed the well-being emotionally of African children – few anxiety problems such as thumb sucking, crying, etc. The kids are all breast fed and constantly carried by a family member on the back held by a long piece of fabric. What we were seeing was “bonding”, a word that we didn’t have in the sixties.
We returned to the US, and 6 weeks later our first daughter, Mandela, was born. I wanted to carry her close to me similar to the African mother. My mother and I fashioned a way for me to wear Mande on me as I rode my bike, shopped, worked through fussy times, etc. We had no thought of marketing it but people would stop me to inquire, “Where can I get one of those?” We received a patent and in 1970, Mike quit his job to develop the Snugli business. At that time, no one carried their babies on them – only used those plastic infant seats that conduct no human touch. We developed a cottage industry in Ohio and had 200 farm women making various aspects of the Snugli baby carrier. We believed so whole heartedly that if you satisfy the infant’s needs through love and human warmth that that will contribute to a secure and healthy loving adult.
Maria: So what are you doing these days?
Ann: In 1985, I was asked to design a portable oxygen carrier, which we did. It went into production and we called our new venture, Air Lift. We sold the Snugli business at that time. Later, we sold Air Lift to our son-in-law and daughter. We were busy for awhile building our zero-energy home here in Evergreen. Now I spend time enjoying family, music, our sunroom, gardening, and , of course, my chickens. Every summer, Mike and I travel with the Yale Alumni Choruso to perform someplace in the world. I‘m on the Evergreen Alliance for Sustainability + You (EASY) board and enjoy my time on the Univ. of Colorado Nursing School Advisory board.
Marcia: How did you get involved with Evergreen Rotary?
Ann: Mike & I were very involved in Evergreen Chorale performances at Evergreen Center Stage. He went to Rotary to ask for help with building the new lobby. Rotary gave a very generous grant and Tom Johnson soon invited him to join Rotary. After one Friday am, Mike invited me along. We find the meetings to be exciting and love the diversity of the club.
Marcia: Do you have any Words of Wisdom?
Ann: I say follow your heart, your intuition, your spirit and “feel the love”. Envision a more peaceful world!
Marcia: Describe yourself as a pair of shoes.
Ann: Oh, Marcia, I would be barefoot. I love the natural world. I’m so happy when digging in the dirt.