Kathleen Scofield considered herself lucky while growing up in a Christian family and visiting circuses and parades where the clowns were always her favorite. After the family later migrated from Hastings to Bellevue, Nebraska, Kathleen attended school and met her future husband. After marrying Rick, she eventually became a dental assistant and later a team lead while raising three wonderful children. But while attending church one day with her mother, Kathleen had no idea that, at age fifty-four, her somewhat ordinary yet blessed life was about to become extraordinarily fun.
After a fellow church-goer asked Kathleen if she had ever considered attending clown college and becoming a clown, Kathleen doesn’t remember her response, but does recall her mother’s who said, “Why would she need to be a clown? She’s been a clown her whole life and sometimes I think she’s lost her marbles!” Life in Christ Clown College was beginning in two weeks. On a wing and a prayer, Kathleen enrolled and graduated in November 2008 with only one regret. “I should have started clowning long before I did,” she states.
Students at Life in Christ Clown College, founded by a Lutheran minister and a Christian clown, attend classes taught by clown graduates. During the sixteen-week program, Kathleen not only learned how to apply makeup, create balloon animals, paint faces, and perform in hospitals, but also was encouraged to reflect on her life’s journey to find inspiration to write and present a skit for her final project. Once she graduated, Kathleen was invited to join The Life in Christ Circus. Kathleen says the best advice she received when she decided to pursue clowning was, “Never forget clowning begins with your heart. Keep your heart in everything you do, and not just when clowning.”
Today Kathleen, who is now retired from her career, is known as the very popular Loli Pop Dah Clown. She is active in three clown troupes in Omaha, Nebraska, who are called to churches, Christian retreats, senior living centers, daycares, libraries, and various benefits to share giggles, grins, and their big hearts. A typical day includes cleaning and restocking her face paint and glitter tattoo art kits as well as her balloon twisting cart, sending out emails, studying upcoming jobs and associated requests, and of course, attending events.
Preparing for an event takes around an hour now that Loli Pop has years of experience under her belt. After she applies her makeup, she inserts hair bows and earrings, adds a bow tie, suspenders, or humorous badges to her outfit, loads her pockets with fun items to pull out when needed, and dons her BIG clown shoes. Only one time did Loli Pop walk out the door without her red clown nose. Thankfully, she was able to paint her nose on that day, but now always remembers to check twice before leaving for an event.
Children sometimes ask her if she is a real clown. Her answer is always, “Yes, I am. Are you a real girl or boy?” Their indignant responses always tickle Loli Pop, “Yes, I am a real girl or boy!” (as if they are questioning themselves).
The biggest lesson she has learned from being a clown is to walk carefully in her big clown shoes after accidentally falling and injuring her shoulder. She also learned early in clowning that not everyone is a fan of clowns. Loli Pop respects and understands their fears while reminding them that the scary imposters do not have the heart of a clown.
These days, Loli Pop still considers herself blessed, just in different ways than her younger years. This year, she learned to play “Happy Birthday” on her harmonica and will be taking lessons this fall to learn how to play more songs.
Loli Pop advises anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life to get after it. “You’re never too old. Life is too short to waste, so love yourself, love what you do, and be choosy who you spend your precious time with,” she adds.
Sage advice from someone who is confidently and faithfully walking in her BIG clown shoes every day to bring joy and happiness to anyone who believes, just as Groucho Marx did that “Clowns work as well as aspirin, but twice as fast.”
To book Loli Pop for an event, visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lolipopdahclown/.
Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach based in Omaha, Nebraska, who specializes in helping her clients both locally and nationwide to move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.