An interesting tidbit is making the rounds online today about a house for sale in Brantford, Ontario. It’s a small and undistinguished brick bungalow -- except for the fact that it is filled with over 1500 clown statues, paintings, and photos, according to WCTI12 News. The elderly couple selling the house says that they began collecting clown memorabilia as a way to modify the man’s drinking habits. Whenever he wanted a bottle a beer he would buy a clown knick-knack instead. That guy sure had a powerful thirst. And a tough wife.
If you’re thinking of moving to Canada -- and who isn’t these days? -- you might want to take a quick gander at the place on Vimeo. By the way, all the clown bric-a-brac will be boxed and stored in the crawl space underneath the home when the current owners move out. They’re not taking it with them, but leaving it for the new owners to think about whenever they hear a crazed chuckle in the middle of the night.
The story is gaining traction on the internet, threatening to go viral, so I’m beginning to ponder clown decor -- specifically, how do clowns decorate their own homes?
When I resided on the Ringling ‘Iron Lung’ train car my dinky roomette, while cherished for the crucial privacy it provided, was hardly big enough to swing a cat in. And cat-swinging was all the rage back then. So there was little scope for decorating. I recall taping up some postcards, such as a photo of a jackalope from Arizona, and a studio still of Laurel & Hardy riding a tandem bicycle. But other than that I was content to simply watch the scenery through my roomette window. I was lucky; my double-paned window was still crystal clear. Many of the other clowns had windows where moisture had gotten between the panes of glass and fogged the whole thing up until you couldn’t see squat out of them. Granted, when the train was parked at a railyard my picture window decor was usually a pile of creosote railroad ties and rusting storage tanks -- but when the train was on the move I enjoyed a stimulating panorama of the American countryside. Everything from rolling fields of wheat to raw mountain gorges to placid riverbanks. And hundreds of small towns, when the train slowed down so much that I could read individual store signs on Main Street while crowds gathered on the asphalt pavement to gawk at our passing. I listened to the train gong’s strident call, reminding me of the church bells in Minneapolis that used to wake me up on Sunday mornings as a child.
The first real apartment I had of my own was in Williston, North Dakota, when I was on hiatus from the circus and working as a radio news director. At the time I was all mixed up about girls -- or rather, mixed up WITH girls -- trying to figure out which ones to date and then marry, and which ones to date and just have a fun time with. So I didn’t bother decorating my basement apartment with anything -- let alone circus stuff. The only thing I put up was a free calendar from Main Street Drug, showing a different prairie flower for each month.
When I married Amy we bought our first home within a year, up in Bottineau, North Dakota. From the get go Amy wanted nothing but religious and family photos and decorations. Since I had my library of circus books, I didn’t contest her resolve. Marriage is all about picking your fights. Over the years a visitor would never know I had had anything to do with the circus by the decor of our homes.
At this point let me say that I’ve been in the homes of some of my old circus pals, and they have uniformly brightened up their abodes with tastefully appointed circus-themed items that gave color and zest to their surroundings. And for the most part they managed to do it on a very slim budget -- getting most of their clown decorations at flea markets or from a cheap bid on eBay. It made me wonder just what I could do if I had my own place.
Well, now I do have my very own apartment at the PHCA Valley Villas. And I’ve made an attempt to bring in a clown motif. But alas, I have the taste of an Ostrogoth. It’s all just a jumble of cheap and chipped gew gaws that my kids will undoubtedly throw away as soon as I’m pushing up daisies. And I keep adding more items, now that I’m comfortable using Amazon.com. My latest acquisition is a Bozo 3-D Bop Bag. As soon as I can blow it up I’m putting it in the bathroom, right next to the guest towels. I have also been looking at some porcelain Lladro clown figurines -- but since they cost in the neighborhood of 500 bucks a piece I think I’ll wait until I win the Lotto before sprucing up the joint with ‘em.