Part Time Marketing – Part Time Hobby…

November 12th, 2014

I want to let all of my friends & family know that I will be devoting some of my time to resuming my hobby, clowning… 

Re-Pete_of_St-Pete

I am a self taught clown…  For nine years I devoted most of my holidays to entering all of the holiday parades in my county…  I developed two clown characters for this purpose & more…  I had a fun bike that was a scaled down replica of an 1888 Columbia Boneshaker…  I was living alone at the time & decided that while the bike wasn’t built for speed or distance, it would be perfect for the parades…  Since I needed a venue in order to enter the parades, Divine Inspiration led me to become a clown…  Since I could see no point in decorating a Christmas tree for my apartment since I was seldom home, I decided instead to invest around $75 in red, green & gold tinsel garland to decorate my bike…  I wove it through my spokes & around the frame…  I added pinwheels & an oogah horn…  All of Pinellas County would be able to see my Christmas decorations instead… 

My first Character is Clearwater Crackers & the bike became my Cherry Bomb…  My second Character was developed for The Awesome Greater St. Petersburg Second Time Arounders Marching Band which consists of people ranging in age from 18 to 85 who at one time or another have played in a high school marching band…  Since John Phillips Sousa has always been one of my favorite composers this venue was perfect for me…  Because I would have to be part of a group entered in the parade on the day of the parade I approached the band director in full costume complete with a sign on my bike with my new name on it…  I told him, “I’ve always loved your band, however I have never been in a band, but specially for you I have developed a new clown character…  I am now Re-Pete of St. Pete, my bike has become the Re-Cycle so that makes me a re-cycled clown for The Second Time Arounders…  I want to be your mascot…”  He replied, “Get to the back of the band…”  Little did he know but that was exactly where I wanted to be…  I would do my little circles with my bike, bouncing up & down to the beat of the music & wishing everyone a “Very Merry Christmas” as loud as I could yell over the music of the band…

I so improved my character & it’s personality through trial & error, to the point that I actually won “Best Clown Entry” in one of the largest parades in the county…  A very dear clown friend of mine told me that many of the clown groups were upset because I had won it as a solo entry…  Fact was, I didn’t even know that I had won…  I hadn’t stayed for the judging…  The City Manager called me the next week to let me know that I had won…  I guess the enthusiasm of “Re-Pete” was what really won…

I expanded my venue for St. Patrick’s Day…  O’Keefe’s has the largest beer tent in the county for the love of the Irish…  For that weekend I dressed in green & became “Garlic O’Hara”… I had a ball painting faces for the kids & having my picture taken with my Polaroid camera…  

I gave up clowning after I got married because I decided that spending the holidays with my husband was now more important to me…  I never regretted that decision…  We were married in 2003…  On November 18, 2010 he succumbed to stage four melanoma which they discovered while they were performing a triple by-pass…  That became a very painful year for both of us…  His pain was extremely physical while mine was extremely emotional…  I went through a period of depression, but I realized what was happening & my faith pulled me through…  I am finally on the other side & ready to face challenges once again…  I will be 75 in December…  In one of his books Dr. Robert Schuller wrote about this woman’s epitaph that was written on her gravestone, “She died climbing”…  I would like that to be mine also…

The death of Robin Williams was a wake up call for me…  The way I was headed is not who I am…  Divine Guidance stepped into my life once again…  I watched the movie “Patch Adams” many years ago, not realizing that he was a very real person…  I was so taken by that movie that when I saw it again after Robin Williams died that I watched it over again…  It will always be one of my favorite stories…  Well, I wrote Patch Adams a letter telling him what a tremendous inspiration he was to me after seeing Robin Williams playing his role that I decided to take up clowning once again…  He wrote me back, sending me a copy of his first book which I had just finished reading…  He included a beautiful inscription in the front of the book which he ended with this quote, “Stay Goofey”…  Little does he know that I have no problem with that…  I want to visit his 300 acre health community next year in Hillsboro, West Virginia…  He appropriately named it, “Gesundheit”, which in German means “Good Health”…  How fitting is that for a doctor such as he, who specializes in treating people, not diseases…  I have another motive for wanting to visit his site, but that’s another story for another time… 

My own personal physician has become one of my best friends after I saw the way that he treated my husband while he was dying…  He’s a D.O., & he’s the best doctor that I’ve ever had in my life…  I gave him my copy of the book Patch Adams, M.D. that I had read, told him of my experience & how it came about…  I also told him of my plans to resume my clowning & of the trip I would like to make in the next year…  He told me that if circumstances permitted that he would like his wife & himself to join me in my journey…  That will only increase my anticipation of this adventure… 

I am so looking forward to meeting this man Patch someday…  He is truly a very gifted & talented person…  He is without a doubt the most interesting person, he has more vision & enthusiasm that I’ve ever encountered in another person… 

Well, that’s all that I have for today, however I will keep you posted of my progress… 

With warm regards ’til next time,

Linda Michel White