“Sorry, I got held up at Union Cemetery. I’m working there now, too,” Mary says as she greets me with an ear-to-ear smile. “They just had to show me the archival room, and I accepted. There’s a book there from 1806!”
And with this latest endeavor, Mary can support every milestone in a person’s life.
Since 2010, she’s helped plan and hold showers for new parents and beautiful brides at her store Moxie’s Gifts, Candy, and Party Room.
I must also mention she’s the President of the Clintonville Historical Society.
In other words, Mary can help you create memories for all your major life events. She makes it personal and seamless to you. The goal is to have a day filled with joy and surrounded by loved ones.
And if she lived forever, she would continue to tell your story – who you were, what you did, why you were special. We’re shaping history in each moment we exist. Mary tells the stories of those who lived.
She creates, celebrates, immortalizes.
Asking about her own history, she surprises me by saying she started in accounting. “I wanted to study history or social sciences but was ‘encouraged’ to study something more practical.” Over the next twenty-some years, she rose through the corporate ranks doing accounts payable, tax accounting, retiring as a CFO, then working as a strategic office manager. Finally, she decided, “You know, I still want to have a retail store.” With her husband and son inspiring and influencing, she opened Moxie’s.
In preparation to meet with Mary, I looked through Moxie’s Facebook page. Enamored with the creativity, I make a point to ask her where she draws her inspiration. “I like to ask the host to tell me about the guest of honor. I’ll sketch as I listen. We’ll refine and revise until we get to this ‘that feels great’ moment. Our customer service is what differentiates Moxie’s – we want you to have it how you want it. And with flexible options and at a reasonable price.”
Connecting Moxie’s with Mary’s passion for celebrating the past, rows of penny candy jars hold pastime favorites such as Bit-O-Honey, SkyBar, and Charleston Chews. These originally came out in the 1920’s and 30’s, which still isn’t as old as one of her favorite historical figures of Clintonville. After giving it some thought, “there are so many” she landed on Gottlieb Schreyer.
“I find people who were pioneers in their time to be enchanting.” Holding several patents, Gottlieb was an inventor of heating systems in the mid to late 1800’s, for whom Schreyer Road is named. “They had to make everything then.”
Reflecting on pioneers, she adds, “These people put their entire life on a covered wagon and crossed the Alleghany. Part of me wants to ask them, ‘What were you thinking?!'” She laughs. Courageous souls, certainly.
I ask her if it’s possible to pick her favorite historical building. “That’s easy. My favorite is the Clinton Theater, but it was torn down in 2010.”
I think, in so many walks from my rental on Como in 2006 to North Broadway, it makes me wish I had known more about the historical building, to appreciate the life it had.
We talk more about buildings in Clintonville. I comment on how I love old architecture and, with bias, modern buildings just don’t have the same charm. She points out that there’s a lot of mid-century modern in Clintonville and how much she appreciates seeing how style changes over time. “And if there isn’t one I like right away, I remind myself that it could just be an idea before its time – like Frank Lloyd Wright’s creations.” She commends the Columbus Landmarks Foundation as they’ve “done a fantastic job connecting architecture and having an appreciation for all styles.”
This leads me to ask how, under her guidance, the Clintonville Historical Society has evolved over time. “We’ve really shifted our mindset from being a resource where people come to us with questions to an organization focused on outreach. We go out and find the people who want to learn and celebrate our history.” This includes a pop-up museum that showcases their archive items. Members are there to answer questions and share their knowledge. They’ve held workshops on such topics like “How to Research the History of your Home.” Mary’s even narrated trolley tours during the community’s Holidayville.
While she’s passionate about history, she isn’t resistant to change. “I just believe we should give something back anytime we take.” She points to an old Indian Mound that existed just south of Cooke Road that was leveled in the 1950’s. The new Sunwall-Moonwall mural at the railroad underpass on Cooke Road is a way to “remember our past.” Initiated and created by Danielle Poling, the mural honors the American Indians who lived on this land before us.
I notice as we talk, she often refers to timelines. “At Moxie’s, for example, we think in terms of these shorter timelines. Days, months, years. Studying history reveals the longer, visionary timelines that shape our experiences in ways we often don’t realize.” She points to OSU’s campus. “Those buildings, the landscape, the walkways all create an experience for you today. That carefully crafted moment was, in part, designed by people a century ago.”
All this makes me wonder how the history books will reflect on Columbus in one hundred years from now. Favorably, I hope. I am optimistic, especially with people like Mary among us.
I ask Mary who she thinks makes Columbus great, she points to:
Ed Lentz, Columbus Landmarks Foundation
In short, “Ed is a miracle. A historical legend.”
Melanie Guzzo, Virtue Salon
“She’s a dynamic personality with a clear vision. She has a pioneer mindset – combining two seemingly separate passions and creating a business that is a complete representation of herself. There should be more of that in the world.”
Thanks, Mary, for making Columbus great!