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Column: Send in the Clowns

There’s no gentle way to put this so I’m going to throw it right out there — I’m the freak who likes clowns. The fondness was actually generated in my childhood and then dissipated in my teenage years, as childlike things do.

It all started with this clown I received as a birthday present when I was probably 6 years old. He was kind of like a porcelain doll with is brightly featured makeup and cap created on the white ceramic and large black boots on the bottom of his white and black clown garb, that featured three giant fuzzy buttons. What I most admired about this clown, who sat in a stand on my bedroom vanity, was the gold knob on his back that played the music box tune “Send in the Clowns.”

So this started a thing, similar to when you receive one Precious Moment figurine, to where I would regularly receive clown stuff. Typically it was little glass figures or other music boxes of sorts. In the end, I had an entire corner of my room dedicated to clowns, capped off with a black and white framed Capezio clown poster I acquired when I started ballet lessons.

At some point, I packed up all the clown stuff and loaded it into a hope chest (which of course features clowns on it) that still sits in a closet at my parents’ house. My next encounter with the collection occurred several years later when my son discovered it and described it as “super creepy.” Then he told his sisters what a freak I am. Then all three of them started making fun of me.

More recently, the hoodlums decided we should make a family outing to the movie “It” because apparently, children-eating clown entertainment is right up their alley.

While my affinity for clowns has faded, I was all about this movie, not because I love scary movies, but because it had good reviews and there was a possibility the kids might be terrified. I mean, they really gave me a hard time about this childhood clown collection.

When I discovered Pennywise, or “It” as he is better known, lures children in with red balloons I decided to get some for the kids’ bedrooms before we left for the movie — you know, as a nice gesture for when we arrived home. My best friend described this as “terrifying” and my husband thought it “was a bit much, but let’s do it.”

After collecting the balloons and making special effort to tie real string instead of the curling ribbon to make them all the more authentic, I placed them with glee and we headed to the show.

There we watched our oldest and youngest kids cling together in horror for most of the film and our middle child sitting with wide eyes and her hand over her mouth for nearly the full two hours and 15 minutes. Everyone thought the movie was really entertaining and all in all, not something that would haunt our dreams.

The downside, my red balloon trick fell flat. The girls didn’t even bother to acknowledge theirs. My son just replied, “Good one, Mom” and then proceeded to obnoxiously bounce it about the house the next couple of days. On the plus side, the kids seem to have forgotten I’m the freak that likes clowns.

Contact Abigail Pelzer

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