Tuesday, March 22, 2016


In Saturday's BLOG, I wrote about confronting one's fears.  During the same conversation I mentioned that I'd been surprised by the number of people I know personally who are afraid of--or dislike--CLOWNS!

My friend's acquaintance said, "That's because they are child molesters." Although I was stunned and shocked at such an ignorant stereotype, I shrieked, "I AM A CLOWN!" Then the woman actually said to me, "I wouldn't allow you around my grandkids."  (Trust me, she said this with NO hint of humor.)

I was seething with rage at such a comment and I responded, "What would make YOU think I would want to be around YOUR grandchildren?"

I am STILL disturbed that someone would THINK-- and say-- something that despicable!  How DARE she suggest that I am a child molester simply because I have been a clown!   I know that there is little hope of changing people and their ignorance.  Victor Hugo wrote:  "There is no worse sight than ignorance in action."

I guess Emmet Kelly can turn over in his grave!

While working at North American Rockwell, I was an active member of the National Management Association.  Our Club had more than 500 members. 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 thirty 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 joined the Clown Unit and became "Klutzy The Clown" which was an apt name for my clown persona as I am naturally KLUTZY and I learned many valuable things such as how to fall without injuring oneself and the health benefits of clowning (such as lowering blood pressure).  My costume is pink and purple and my makeup features pink shades 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 intact.

After the shutdown of North American Rockwell in 1988, the Clown Unit wanted to remain intact and sought a new sponsor.  After leaving Rockwell, I worked in Springfield and could no longer participate regularly in "clowning around" with the Unit, but I have donned my outfit for special occasions and reunions.

Now, tell me, does KLUTZY remind YOU of a "child molester"?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG! It's hard to comprehend such narrow-minded ignorance! ML