Post Independent Staff
NEW CASTLE ” Lili Breyer has a little trouble driving to work some days.
With 14-inch-long shoes, who wouldn’t?
When Breyer ” aka Skippy the Clown ” isn’t playing the role of stay-at-home mom, she’s entertaining kids at birthday parties, community events and fundraisers.
“I have shoes that are 20 inches ” no, 14 inches ” long, and it’s hard to drive in them,” said Breyer, as she measured her $300 oversized red-and-white clown shoes with a ruler in her New Castle home Friday. “I used to wear size 20 hightops, so I finally ordered custom clown shoes.”
An Akron, Ohio, native, Breyer started clowning about 10 years ago. She attended classes at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with a friend whose 85-year-old aunt was a clown named Wrinkles.
“I always wanted to play in theatrical make-up, since I was a kid. I used to play in my sister’s make-up,” she said. “The first session was a make-up class, and I liked that. Then there was ballooning, which I loved.”
Breyer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources from the University of Akron, started out as a tomboy sailor clown named Skipper.
“I was a fall-down clown ” I fell down a lot. I was the brunt of the jokes, and I loved it,” she said. “Then I decided to be ruffley and prissy because I was a tomboy growing up and I got all my brother’s hand-me-downs. I went from Skipper to Skippy. You usually start out with some kind of clown and then you figure out who you really want to be.”
She met her husband, Joe, while living and working in Cincinnati and clowning at birthday parties and picnics.
“When we met, I was Skipper,” said Lili, whose engagement photo featuring her in costume and Joe in a University of Cincinnati basketball jersey hangs above their fireplace. “He supports me so well.”
Joe said he has fun with Lili’s clowning, and has always enjoyed his friends’ and family’s reaction to seeing her in character.
“There’s not many husbands who can say, ‘My wife’s a clown,’ and not get in trouble for it,” joked Joe, who met Lili at a personal growth seminar. “She has a real positive energy, and she’s fun to be around. She’s real effervescent and has that type of personality that’s real outgoing. All my family and neighbors have been excited when she’s clowning. They’re really impressed when they see her with all her make-up and in costume.”
The couple, who have a 2-year-old son named Pete, have made Lili’s clowning career part of their family life. They recently returned from “The Great Clown Adventure” convention in Las Vegas where she attended classes, and he played “Mr. Mom.”
The convention was held at no other than Circus Circus.
“It gets you energized,” said Lili, of the event that hosted about 90 clowns. “You get a lot of people willing to be silly. And when they’re behind make-up, they’re even sillier.”
Lili said what she enjoys most about clowning is getting into character ” even on bad days.
“Actually I’m pretty darn serious as a person. I think it’s the make-up and being incognito. If I’m cranky, it just takes about five minutes of putting on make-up and I’m into it,” said Lili, who often teams up with Buttons the Clown from Kidtoons out of Snowmass for local events. “If I’m not quite in the mood and I’m driving down the road, someone will wave at me and I’ll really get into character, especially the men with their hard hats and big work trucks. I’ll flirt with them and pretend I’m drag racing.”
She also likes to have fun at drive-through windows.
“I love to go to McDonald’s and say, ‘Is Ronald there? No? He stood me up again?'” she said. “Then I’ll pull up to the window and everyone will crowd around and look.”
With so many smiles to encourage and gags to pull, Lili doesn’t foresee hanging up her clown suit in this lifetime.
“I’ll be a clown forever,” she said.
A longer gas pedal just might be in order.
Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518
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After a gas line break was identified at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Mt. Sopris Drive, traffic is expected to resume at 1:30 p.m., the city said.