Tuesday, July 27, 2010
While working at North American Rockwell, I was an active member of the National Management Association. We had more than 500 members in our Club. When I became Vice-President, under my umbrella were the responsibilities of Public Relations and Community Activities. Included in those were the Reading Rehabilitation Program at Alvis House, being the publisher of the Club newsletter, "Pass The Word", and the Rockwell Clown Unit.
The Rockwell Clown Unit served the Columbus community for more than twenty-five years. In July, 1961, Ed Ryan donned clown makeup to entertain the children at the North American Management Club picnic. This act was the impetus for starting an amateur Clown Unit to entertain children who needed help, sympathy and cheering-up. The ages and sizes of the children did not matter; the Clown Unit would entertain infants as well as retirees. In December, 1962, an Administrator from Children's Hospital asked the Clown Unit to consider making monthly visits to the hospital. After that, the Clown Unit never missed a single month. Members of the Clown Unit came from many different backgrounds, but their common trait was that they were volunteers who had the ability to share fun and happiness with others.
I became "Klutzy The Clown" which was apt for me, because I am naturally KLUTZY and I learned many valuable things such as how to fall without hurting oneself and that clowning is healthful because it lowers blood pressure. My costume is pink and purple and my makeup is pink with purple freckles.
One day, after a performance, I was very tired and I decided just to drive home while in costume. I stopped to get a Coke at a gas station and I heard a voice ring out, "Look, Mommy, a clown!" It didn't matter how tired I was, I immediately was on stage AGAIN, because clowns take an oath that if they are in costume, they must keep the persona.
After the shutdown of North American Rockwell in 1988, the Clown Unit wanted to stay intact and sought a new sponsor. After Rockwell, I worked in Springfield and could no longer participate in "clowning around" with the Unit although I have donned the outfit a few times since for special occasions.