Friday, January 30, 2009

The Greatest Show

Hi Everyone. Looking at the comments from yesterday's post, it appears that maybe I haven't discussed the circus before. This surprises me. Anyway, figured I'd do a circus post today to explain point #3 on yesterday's post.

My dad was the P.E. and Health teacher at my elementary school. The school was affiliated with the local university, so he was both faculty at the college, and an elementary school teacher. One of the unique things about the college was that it had a circus. One of the only two universities with a college circus (I think). So my dad decided that he would start a circus at the elementary school as well. 

I think this highlights the difference between me and my dad. I come up with things like "wouldn't it be great if we changed the way that bananas are sold?" and then I do nothing. My dad does things like starting circuses. 

So from 2nd grade - 8th grade, I was in the circus.  The circus traveled to nursing homes, and the mall, and halftime of basketball games to perform. So being in a circus leads to an interesting childhood. Having a dad that started the circus and loves going to other circuses really opens your eyes. 

My mom likes traveling to big cities. My dad doesn't. So my mom learned that she could convince my dad to drive her to the big city if there was a circus in town. So most of our vacations were scheduled around the circus.  We've seen a Russian circus, other kids circuses, a few Asian circuses, Cirque (more times than I can count), we've been to juggling conventions, we've been to the Ringling Brothers museum. The list goes on and on. I think there was actually a 'soul circus' at one point, but I can't back that up. We would also do street performing during family vacations. Mostly juggling outside with a hat on the ground for donations. 

Oh, and then there are the clowns. My dad was the director, ringmaster guy of the kids circus for 20 years. It went from 60 kids to over 200 per year. To show their appreciation, the parents of the kids in the circus would always buy my dad clown figurines. So my house always had an obscene number of clowns. And keep in mind that about 50% of clowns are sort of creepy looking. My mom was not a big fan of the clowns. Or the G.D. Clowns, as she liked to call them. 

My dad wasn't just a circus founder/director guy. He found a little-known loophole in the college circus, that allowed faculty members to perform in the circus. So well into his 50s, my dad performed in the college circus. I'm pretty sure there were about 100 college undergrads and one AARP member.

I could go on and on about my circus life, but I've gotta get going. Kate's flying into town today, and I've gotta get to the airport. Oh, and my parents are watching a movie about tight wire walking tonight. I can't make this stuff up. 


Tina said...

I want to say something, but honestly, I got nothin'. I am speechless and that NEVER happens. Take that as you will.

Phobialist said...


...from the Greek word Kolobathristes, meaning one who goes on stilts (the Greeks didn't have a word for clown) and phobos meaning fear. Fear of clowns. It's estimated that one person in seven has some degree of 'clown phobia'. Think of adult in ill-fitted clothing, overly made up with a strange wig. The permanent smile or frown painted on leaves one unable to read emotion on the clown's face and the slapstick hitting in clown acts doesn't fit the smile. Go figure!

MaryBe said...

"My mom likes traveling to big cities. My dad doesn't. So my mom learned that she could convince my dad to drive her to the big city if there was a circus in town."
This line made me laugh out loud! And I agree on the clown figurines - they are creepy. When the Boardwalk was still open in Vegas, I always made us cross to the other side of the street. Although that had something to do with the creepy mannequins on the ferris wheel too.
When I was growing up, I vowed that my children would have a much better childhood than I had (And they did). Your parents have set the bar pretty high. You lived every kid's fantasy - to run away and join the circus and you didn't even have to do the running away part!

Al Iverson said...

Tell me more about your alternative banana distribution proposal.

Nate said...

Al - Please refer to the editor's tangent in this post for full details:

Amanda said...

I hate clowns. So so very much. Unless it's actor Wil Wheaton's sweater.

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