Saturday, January 9, 2010
Just Clowning Around
I'm not aware of many families who have a clown dangling from a branch in their family tree. Lucy Goosey (pictured to the right) is my aunt. She was born in Toronto, Ontario as the youngest of four children, and the only girl. Twelve years separated her from her oldest brother.
By all accounts, clowning and playing tricks were something that her brothers were also good at. A favourite trick was for two brothers to tie up and hide the third brother in a closet in their home to see how long it would take their mother to find the missing child. Lucy, as the youngest, chose not to pursue the physical comedy that her brothers so clearly excelled at but rather opted to express herself musically - with the bagpipes. There was a natural attraction to the odd looking instrument as Lucy's family was very Scottish. Lucy was in her element spending many happy days marching and blowing, marching and blowing. So good were these times, and so infectious the fun that as soon as I was able to walk, I spent many hours marching and blowing behind her in the backyard of my family home.
As Lucy grew and matured, she addressed her more spiritual inclinations through a most obvious means - she married a United Church minister. At his side, she moved all around Ontario, Canada, assisting him in his pastoral care responsibilities. At the same time, welcoming into the world three children who she knew would also put smiles on people's faces. She developed new skills, my favourite being her gift of producing wonderful baked goods. Small towns like Dover Centre, Freelton, Smith Falls, and St. George all received the benefit of her time with them.
But Lucy fully blossomed in Brantford, Ontario - also the one-time home of Alexander Graham Bell and hockey star, Wayne Gretzky. There, Lucy found her true calling as a therapy clown. There is still much to learn in the field of gelotology and the positive effects of laughter but it is clear that Lucy's presence in local hospitals and nursing homes produced constant smiles and reduced stress and anxiety. Magically, Lucy's presence seemed to make pain begin to disappear. So profound has her presence been in these places that Lucy has been honoured and feted for her contributions.
By day, in a society in which not everyone understands, Lucy uses the name Carol Royle (nee Hadden) but all who know her recognize the beating solid gold heart of Lucy Goosey.