One way to stay “forever young” is to help others.
A growing body of research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better physical and mental health and that volunteers even live longer.
Want more proof of the benefits of volunteering?
Meet Ray Faczan, a 67-year-old retired pharmaceutical salesman and his 66-year old wife, Linda Faczan, a retired medical secretary.
Linda and Ray serve their community in Central Pennsylvania by, well, clowning around.
I mean that literally. They are volunteer clowns. You know, facial makeup, red noses, wigs, costumes, extra-large shoes and gags galore. That kind of clown.
When they are performing as clowns, Linda and Ray actually take on the persona of their clown character. So let’s meet those characters.
Linda’s clown name is “Kor-Kee,” which is derived from her ability to make beautiful wreaths out of corks. Ray is “70 Seven” because he is 77 inches tall.
Not only does every clown have a nom de clown, but they also have a costume and a makeup style derived from the type of clown they are.
Types of Clowns
There are 3 main types of clowns: Whiteface, Auguste and Hobo.
Whiteface clowns wear full white makeup on their face with precise and delicate red and white features. (The European Whiteface clown even goes as far as painting his ears red.) A Whiteface clown usually dresses extravagantly and has a costume mostly made up of white with some color trim.
Auguste clowns wear fleshtone makeup with white around the mouth and eyes, often with a black line surrounding the white. This type of clown usually has a large ball-shaped comedy nose. August clowns have the widest range of costumes of all clowns. They often exaggerate their clothing with such things as over-sized coats, undersized hats or very short pants and colorful suspenders.
Hobo clowns are either happy hobos or sad tramps. They have a black coal or a soot-like appearance with white around the eyes and mouth. The up or down shape of their eyebrows reveals whether they are a sad tramp or a happy hobo. As you would expect, hobo and tramp clowns wear costumes that are old and worn.
Can you tell from their pictures which type of clown Kor-Kee and 70 Seven are?
The answer is at the end of the article.
How Kor-Kee And 70 Seven Got Started Clowning
Kor-Kee and 70 Seven started clowning about 6 years ago.
Having been invited for a number of years to join the local clown club, but not having the time to accept, 70 Seven finally gave in and went to the club’s clown school.
Do You Know What Coulrophobia Is?
It is fear of clowns. Characteristic symptoms are such things as breathlessness and heart palpatations. Treatment normally involves progressive desensitization, starting with things like looking at photos of clowns and working up to being in their presence.
He is a fun and funny guy naturally and thought it would be great to have another way to make people laugh.
And, because they do virtually everything together, Kor-Kee joined him.
After they were trained, Kor-Kee and 70 Seven became active in the Classic Clown Club which has 25 or 30 members ranging in age from 30-something to the mid-80s. That’s right, mid-80s. Do you need any more proof that clowning and volunteer work keep you young and active?
The local clown club is affiliated with a larger international organization called Clowns of America International.
The local chapters – called “alleys” – have regular meetings, plan appearances – which they call “gigs” – and have workshops. Members can also attend conventions and alleys can compete for national awards.
What Is It Like To Be A Volunteer Clown
Kor-Kee, 70 Seven and their cohorts entertain at festivals, banquets, business picnics, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, school carnivals and community gatherings of all types.
At their gigs, Kor-Kee likes to face paint while 70 Seven makes balloons and performs magic tricks. They both do” walk arounds” where they stroll through the crowd entertaining, largely with sight gags. Sometimes, they present scripted clown skits.
When I asked Kor-Kee and 70 Seven what is the best thing about clowning, they had the same answer. It’s the satisfaction of bringing a smile to someone or raising a person’s spirits, especially at nursing homes and in hospitals. That satisfied feeling makes all the effort worthwhile and keeps this couple clowning.
Actually, when they visit hospitals, 70 Seven and Kor-Kee wear different costumes. Instead of their usual clown garb, they wear lab coats and carry stethoscopes. Even their names are different. At the hospital, Kor-Kee’s name tag says “Dr. Lauren Gitis” and 70 Seven’s reads “Dr. Gerri Attrix.”
There is a knack to visiting patients in hospitals. There are protocols that must be observed. Not even clowns can barge into a patient’s room without knocking and requesting permission to enter. And the clowns have to know about hospital procedures, too. For example, if a patient’s chart shows they are “NPO,” the clowns have to know that means “nothing by mouth” so that, if the patient asks for a glass of water, the clown will not unknowingly give it to them.
When visiting hospitals, Drs. Lauren Gitis and Gerri Attrix take fish stickers which they attach to a patient’s IV bag while announcing, “There, now you’ve got an aquarium.”
When not performing, these clowns are constantly working to improve their character, their costume and their craft. They continually develop new costumes, discover new props, learn new tricks and create new gags they can use to entertain.
Kor-Kee And 70 Seven Are Christian Clowns
The red dot that Kor-Kee and 70 Seven wear on their clown faces identify them as Christian clowns. They think of their clown service as their ministry in life. All of their gigs are family oriented but they are only religious if the group they are entertaining requests a religious message or theme.
Oh, what type of clowns are Kor-Kee and 70 Seven? If you guessed Auguste clowns, you are right.