Clementine the Clown makes her professional debut at a local community fair this upcoming Saturday. She’s been a long time evolving. As a kid, I remember being a clown for a younger sibling’s birthday party. As a young twenty-something, I was a clown for a church event. I think I’ve always wanted to have a comic alter ego to let me express the silly side that perhaps hides a bit in day-to-day life. That, and that opportunity to help someone find their smile? Amazing. There’s so much muck in the world… any chance I get to spread a bit of positive-ness is my own little jab at sin and evil.
At one point, I quit software development and strongly considered being a children’s clown as my living. Reality struck quickly: I had left software because it was consuming all of my time, including time I’d rather have been spending with my hubby (we had no kids at the time). Children’s clowning would likely consume the weekends and evenings.. the very hours my hubby would be off of work. I’ve since realized that school and library gigs might have been a way to make a path, but that’s come with further exploration into the clowning world.
About a year ago, I was at a Christian retreat with a group of total strangers, and confessed a dream I had to build a clown troupe as a ministry offering of our church. Focus a group of folks on bringing joy and laughter into the world and go to places that need more joy and laughter: hospitals, nursing homes, church preschools, church itself, just about everywhere! My retreat partners encouraged me, and I sought out a local clown alley as soon as I made it home. That alley has helped connect me with a local clowning community and given me chances to perform in parades and other events, as well as learn at a regional clowning convention.
So Saturday, Clementine with her shoes of number 9, well below my actual shoe size as a person, much less a clown… well, she’ll be engaging the kids in our community at the local fair. A bit of tomfoolery and a bit of balloon twisting for the day. I’ve set up a Facebook page to highlight her shenanigans, as well as her own email address. We’ll see if Clementine can flap her wings / clown shoes a bit and fly. With a bit of luck and a whole lot of practice and determination, Clementine might get to come out and play more often.
I can now say, I was a member of the Ms. America parade. I’m not a pageant kind of gal myself, so it wasn’t exactly on the bucket list. BUT, now my husband can say he’s married to someone who was in the Ms. America parade. Score! (For the record, I’m the blue-haired clown in the back row… )
Had a great time high-fiving kids and adults along the parade route…. two miles of Atlantic City boardwalk, lined with folks on both sides. We saw young and old, all interested in interacting with clowns and having their days brightened. Even in my newbie clown state, I got to help brighten a few folks’ days. Expect the wig to change by the next pic, as well as the makeup – learning with each new event how to get better at clowning… Uh, and learning to take environmental conditions into consideration – the wind along the boardwalk made wigs, clown noses, and clown props much more of a ‘will they stay on’ kind of affair…
The past two weekends, I’ve had opportunities to go out into the community as my alter-ego, Clementine. Clementine is a blue-haired (for now, anyway) Auguste clown who’s been enjoying spending her time at summer festivals and parades with her pet skunk, Blossom.
Dundalk Heritage Fair – July 4th, 2016
Clementine was asked a question by a ten-year old(ish) boy along the parade this morning: why does she put on her clown makeup? The answer is: with a bit of work (the makeup and costume stuff) and a good bit of energy, Clementine can be a grower of smiles and happiness. The number of kids (and adults!) who wanted to fist bump, snap pics, high-five, pet Blossom, and just generally enjoy interacting was huge! Clementine got to interact with little kids, big kids, parents of kids, and even had her picture snapped with a senior citizen or two who was enjoying the parade from a wheelchair. Blossom was already wearing beads to deck herself out for the 4th of July parade, and got a new necklace from a little girl along the parade route who was making bead necklaces and thought Blossom needed one more.
My ultimate goal is to get some experience under my belt and see about sharing this opportunity with folks in my church. Our clown alley has members from my age and younger, to retired folks. We have folks who have physical limitations, and some who will never be able to live on their own due to mental handicaps, but who delight in ‘bumping a nose’ and sharing a smile in the community. Each clown has their own set of gifts to share, which seems to me to be a perfect example of what we aspire to in Christian ministry. “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” [1 Corinthians 12: 18-20]