Papa Profile: David Moreland

June 19, 2010

How many kids do you have, and what are their ages?

Two — Olivia is 11 and Geneva is 7.

To whom are you married?

I’m married to THE Mama Goose, Kelly Moreland.

Tell us the story of the beginning of Mama Goose, from your point of view.

Kelly and I were living in Burbank, California. Olivia was 3 and Geneva was on the way and Kelly was already a really devoted resale shopper.  There was a resale shop that we would walk by in Burbank, and Kelly was very intrigued by it.  She kept saying that someday she wanted to open a shop like that, but in her own way.

We moved to Ithaca in 2002, shortly after Geneva was born.  Neither Kelly nor I are L.A. people, and we didn’t want to raise girls there, with the car culture and materialism.  Plus, Kelly’s family is 3 hours south of here, and my family is 3 hours west, so Ithaca is both a wonderful city and beautifully located for us.

We arrived at the beginning of a very cold, snowy winter (one of the coldest and snowiest in the 7 years we’ve been here.)  Kelly was going stir-crazy watching after kids, and got it in her head that she wanted to open the store she’d always talked about.  Olivia was attending preschool at Corner of the Sky, and it was there that Kelly met another mom, Michelle Stuhr, who had been thinking the exact same thing and had started doing it on a small scale.   They started meeting and talking and decided they’d do it together.

Little Goose opened in December 2003, just a year after our move from California, on a true shoestring budget, about $3000 each from both parties.  It was a big hit from the day it opened.  After about a year, when Michelle’s circumstances changed, Kelly bought her out and soldiered forth as the sole owner of Mama Goose.

How involved were you with the Little Goose?  With the opening of the Big Goose?

I’m always kind of the lackey — I painted the big Seneca Street sign, which is now in our barn, put up the racks on which the clothes were hung.  It seemed like every area of the wall was a different construction, so that took forever.  I did stuff like that …put up some shelves and then got called in sometimes thereafter when other things needed hanging.

Soon into the Little Goose, Kelly and Michelle realized that they were going to outgrow that space, and started looking around for other places.  This looking stage took a long time, and in the beginning, they were looking for another quaint space, like a house, and I was pushing for a more traditional, open retail space.   We looked at many, many spaces, sometimes seriously, until finally we found the Bishop’s building.  I accompanied Kelly in looking at all the buildings, serving as the paperwork and finance guy, so Kelly could focus on the nuts and bolts of running the store.

How are things working out between you and Mimi?

Mimi and I are doing well … I put on the same kind of hat for Mimi that I did for the Gooses, but in a much simpler, quicker affair.  It’s been much more hands on than the Big Goose renovation, because we wanted to do it less expensively, so I was rolling up my sleeves a lot more, doing the painting and putting together shelves.   Part of the effort to open early and effort to do things quickly has led to more responsibility for me, and there’s still a lot to be done.

So, you’re, like, a celebrity … you’ve been on the television and in the moving pictures and whatnot. Tell us about that.

I always enjoyed getting up in front of people – I did drama in high school, plays in college, and for 11 years worked as a repertory actor with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania, where I acted, directed, wrote, designed, did a little bit of everything.  That’s where I  met Kelly, having already decided that I was going to move out to L.A., and she came with me.  We married out there, and lived there were six years and, in pretty short order, I became a blue collar character actor.  Everyone gets typed in L.A., and I was typed as an abrasive authority figure — high school principal, assistant district attorney, college professor … sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic, but always abrasive.

Could you please emphatically explain just how much you are NOT a professional clown?

I’ve never understood how anyone, especially anyone who has actually seen my show, can think I’m a clown.  I think of clowns with painted faces, red noses, and clown costumes, and I have none of those things.  I am a magician.

Like lots of little boys, I liked magic as a kid, then gave it up.  When I got the job at the theatre company in Pennsylvania, the first year I was cast in the children’s production of King Arthur and the Nights of the Roundtable, and they needed someone to play Merlin.  When no one raised their hand to say they had experience with magic,  I admitted that I goofed around with it as a kid, and they said, “OK, you’re it.”  My friend, who was a mime, told me that there was lots of work for magicians, and that if I came up with a show, he could refer people to me, since he got calls for magicians all the time.  My magic show debuted in 1987, and I’ve been doing it as a sideline project ever since.  I was doing birthday party magic as a sideline the whole time we were in L.A. – about 15 parties a month — and now that we’re in upstate New York,  I mostly do educational magic shows in schools and libraries.  I’m just about to kick off my summer tour, which is fairly light this year — 35 shows this summer compared to the 60 or so I’ve done in the past, leaving me plenty of time for long weekends of work for Mimi.

What’s been the most pleasant surprise about being a dad? The least pleasant surprise?

I think the most pleasant surprise is how greedy are my girls are to hear stories about when I was a boy, and sometimes to hear them over and over again, and then sometimes to have me tell them to my friends – that there’s a family lore that they really treasure.  I didn’t see that coming.

One of the saddest things for me is how they outgrow things and don’t go back.  Geneva, when she was first able to speak, called Olivia “Ya-ya,” and Olivia stayed “Ya-Ya” for some time until one Christmas Break when Geneva heard all of the cousins call her sister Olivia, and then she gave it up. I had really hoped that “Ya-ya” would be there to stay.

How do you feel about being a dad of daughters?

I was very relieved to have daughters, because I’m not a sports, guys-guy, and having been not a guys-guy in elementary school, I know how difficult it is to not be very good at football, or baseball, or basketball, so I felt very relieved and happy to be able to have girls.

How do you celebrate Father’s Day?

It’s always the NY Times in bed and coffee brought to me, and then we typically eat out.  This year, weather permitting, I’m going to read the Times, get out of bed, get on my bike, and bike to Aurora. Kelly and the girls are going to meet me at the Aurora Inn where we’re going to have the lovely Sunday brunch there, and then I’ll put the bike on the back of the car and we’ll drive home.

Any advice for dads-to-be out there? Or for magicians-to-be? Or, really, for anyone else?

For future magicians, I’d say to get experience as an actor first. One of the famous magicians, Robert Houdin, I believe, said that a magician is just an actor playing the role of a magician.  Where most magicians fall down is not in their technical skills, but in their limitations as an actor.

As for parents-to-be, aside from doing all of your shopping at Mama Goose, and this isn’t giant, uber advice or anything, but it works — get yourselves a copy of the soundtrack to The Music Man.  Lullabies don’t soothe babies.  You want a baby to stop crying — you put on 76 Trombones and bounce that baby around the room.

For more about David the Magician, visit his website to view video clips and learn about his summer tour.  For more about David the Papa Goose, stop by Mimi’s Attic or Mama Goose … he’ll be the one doing something extremely important in the background while the rest of us flit around and forget to say thank you.

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3 Responses to “Papa Profile: David Moreland”

  1. asiajane Says:

    David, were you actually in Donnie Darko? Because that is one of my favorite movies ever!!


  2. Hi, Asia. Yes, David played the principal in Donnie Darko. I can’t believe that’s one of your favorite movies! It was a little … dark. 🙂

  3. Val Says:

    What a great interview… and great advice! My father-in-law has been pushing The Music Man ever since we had our girls (can you believe that I’d never seen or listened to it before meeting him?). He’ll be happy to know there is such sound advice coming out of The Goose!


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