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posted: 10/23/2017 11:51 AM

Scary clowns not everyone's idea of fun

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  • Jack Kramer of Lily Lake said he's taking a break as Polyester the clown, in part, because the perception of some is that clowns are scary.

    Jack Kramer of Lily Lake said he's taking a break as Polyester the clown, in part, because the perception of some is that clowns are scary.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Abby's Breakfast and Lunch Restaurant in St. Charles has closed, owner Rob Mondi said.

      Abby's Breakfast and Lunch Restaurant in St. Charles has closed, owner Rob Mondi said.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Jack Kramer of Lily Lake has to grimace this time of year because it invariably means that a general Halloween theme of "scary clowns" will garner attention.

This would certainly be the case with a 2017 version of Pennywise, the killer clown, terrorizing kids in the new "It" movie.

Three years ago, the Daily Herald did an article on Kramer, a retiree who had transformed himself into Polyester the clown to entertain kids and the elderly and appear at community festivals.

He's stepped back from the clowning business these days, in part, he says, because of the perception clowns are somehow supposed to scare you.

"Each year, the run-up to Halloween assails us with even more images of scary clowns," Kramer said. "That's so unfortunate, because I know from personal experience that scaring people is the furthest thing from what real clowns intend."

Kramer said his training to become a clown showed him that "real clowns tend to be the warmest and most amiable people you'd ever want to meet."

While he understands some people are simply afraid of clowns, he wants everyone to know that "laughter is the clown's gift to the public and, in turn, their laughter is the gift they return to us."

He fondly recalls the reward the experience gave him.

"Last year at a family event in a nursing home, there was a young girl who kept following me around asking that I do the same gags over and over," Kramer said.

"I loved that she apparently adored what I was doing, but the best part was when her mother confided to me that up until that day she had always been afraid of clowns.

"You can bet I was walking on air."

No more Abby's?: Fans of Abby's Breakfast and Lunch in downtown St. Charles were quick to send me notes and pose questions on Facebook last weekend when it appeared the restaurant was shut down.

It didn't make sense to me, having seen owner Rob Mondi catering a recent event and having a nice chat with him about how well things were going at the restaurant.

He confirmed that some health issues are making it impossible for him to keep at it at this time.

You'd have to think the site and its menu would be attractive to another suitor, and many are hoping this will somehow be the case. Plus, any businessman would want to benefit in some way for the past several years of work and expansion of the restaurant.

Here's to hoping things work out well personally for Mondi and that the site is somehow able to continue serving area residents.

Years of fashion: When you hear that more than 300 people -- and I'm guessing mostly women -- are expected to attend the ninth annual Batavia Woman's Club Fashion Show Nov. 4 at the Q Center in St. Charles, you know this organization is putting on a great show.

Plus, the club has some experience in this field. This fashion show has its roots in similar shows as far back as 1936. You have to remember the club recently celebrated its 125th anniversary with a get-together at the Batavia Public Library.

The fashion show was called "The Style Show" back in those days, but by any name the club has shown an ability to attract plenty of attention for this event.

Today is the last day to purchase a ticket for the show at $55, which is available at bataviawomansclub.org. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 4.

The show raises more than $10,000 each year for worthy organizations. Past recipients include Elderday Center, CHIP IN-Batavia, Valley Sheltered Workshop, CASA Kane County and Mutual Ground Inc.

On a personal note, my wife is one of the models, showing off a wedding dress from Crystal Bride and garments from Flair on 3rd boutique in Geneva.

Pets in costumes: Some cringe at the notion, but it sure seems we mostly enjoy putting costumes on our pets for any number of occasions.

Halloween, of course, is the prime time for putting something crazy on our dogs.

So, it is the reason the Geneva Park District hosts a free "Howl O' Ween" Dog Parade at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Peck Farm Park on Kaneville Road. Sponsors are Anderson Animal Shelter and DePaw University.

Of course, no parade of this sort goes without prizes for the most creative, funniest and scariest costumes.

Lineup for the parade is at 1:15 p.m. in front of the Butterfly House.

Ghost Hike mishap: This time of year almost always reminds of me of the great Fabyan Forest Preserve Ghost Hikes that the county and park districts worked on together for years. They were well organized and fun for all ages.

Here's what I remember about it the most: At the time, probably in the mid 1980s, the newsroom I was working in was converting from typewriters to the first computers to input stories and produce newspaper columns to paste into place on pages to ship to the printer.

The server of this new computer suddenly had a horrific bug, making just small parts of stories, or even just a few words, suddenly appear in other stories. Even with the best proofreading efforts, a few words in the wrong place eventually made it into print.

The worst? An obituary providing details about the deceased suddenly proclaimed the person's burial would take place "at the annual Ghost Hike in Fabyan Forest Preserve." And then it went on with the rest of the obit without a hitch.

That's either a cruel computer server, or one with a sense of humor.

Luckily, the family had a great sense of humor about it after we fumbled and stumbled all over ourselves in trying to explain what happened.

That, in itself, was pretty tough in the early days of learning the hard way that computers have minds of their own. So, no, we didn't learn much from HAL in "2001 a Space Odyssey."

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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