My grandpa, Roger Dale Niblick, was Roscoe the Clown in the style of Emmett Kelly, and had also stepped into Ronald McDonald’s clown shoes.
He and my grandma Madonna conjured up fifteen kids to fill up an old large white house on Hessen Cassel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to go to school with the Niblick kids. My momma has a clue, rumor has it that it was not just one, but at least two of the Niblick boys that she’d dated.
You’ll note that there are just three girls, and twelve strapping handsome boys—my daddy is the long haired one, cross-legged, front and center, Matthew Raymund Morris Michael Niblick.
In 1983 when my daddy died, I remember my momma “getting sad” from a song on the television. It was Judy Collins on the Muppet Show, Send in the Clowns (video below).
Until now, it had never occurred to me whether or not any of her sadness came from the fact that his daddy was a clown,… and how it must feel for a parent to lose their child. Isn’t enough that she was just 21, widowed with two children, and pregnant with her third?
Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
I had wanted to talk to my Grandpa Niblick about his time in Nicaragua. A little bit after my grandma died a few years ago he up and moved to Nicaragua.
It wasn’t entirely shocking as my Aunt Tina had been in Barbados for what seems like forever. She, known in her work as Sister La’el, tells me, “he clowned for MANY years, even while in Nicaragua. During the service years he was also in Africa and Greenland.”
I think it’s only appropriate, twenty eight years later, to play Send in the Clowns.
This time, it’s for my grandpa, who was always the only clown that mattered in my life.