Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Click here for her website:

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133,  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

ClownyI’m guessing that most people have experienced a devastating incident or many during the difficult time of growing up.  Dragging childhood pain through the decades shapes our adulthood. The memory of one in my life remains fresh and clear sixty-two years later.

I was about fourteen, shy, scrawny, and very concerned about what others thought of me. Girls were just starting to wear lipstick, and I coveted jumping into the adult world with such a daring step.

At that time, there was a company called Ponds which featured as its main product a cold cream, the equivalent of today’s facial moisturizer; the company is still in business. Ponds was testing a possible expansion into the makeup field, and was giving out free samples of lipstick in tiny tubes. My mother acquired a few, and gave me one to inaugurate my foray into being a real woman.

I practiced applying my Ponds lipstick sampler until I got it just right. D-Day arrived for my first appearance at school as the new and sophisticated me.  I’ve never forgotten that day so many decades ago because of one word.

I walked into my first period class which was girls’ gym. The locker room was filled with my female classmates changing into their gym clothes. They all turned as I entered.  One girl (I still remember her name) took a look at my bright, red lips contrasted with my remaining washed out complexion, and pronounced, “You look like a clown. We should call you Clowny.” Everyone laughed and immediately took up the chant: “Clowny, Clowny, Clowny.”

My goal in life was to not call attention to myself, but I had managed to achieve the polar opposite only because I wanted to act grown-up like the rest of the girls. I was humiliated! Trying not to cry in front of my harassers, I ran to the bathroom, grabbed some toilet paper, and wiped off that stupid Ponds lipstick, not to be attempted again for at least two years.

That didn’t stop the fun the others were having. Clowny remarks followed me for the next few weeks not only in the gym, but in other classes I shared with some of them.

Memories such as these mold our grown-up selves. Some use such experiences to become compassionate adults, remembering the cruel rites of passage they encountered themselves.  Others do the opposite by seeking victims to extract the revenge they were unable to mete out to their original tormentors. If your aim is to assuage your pain, choose the compassionate path as it will yield you a much higher return.


Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo on Visual hunt


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizen

6 responses to “Clowny

  1. so sorry, dear. was thinking just the other day about how with all the current discussion about school bullying, there’s also a lot of bullying that goes on within families…

  2. Roger Trammell

    Middle and high school suck! They’re environments where the less insecure take advantage of the more insecure. It’s all part of puberty and the teens. Some of the scars left are deeper than the others. Trying for acceptance is a no-win situation.

  3. patricia Spiegel

    I love it–as usual. You bring your stories to life. You can see them in your head as you read–the sign of a remarkable writer! I hope these blogs become a book.

    • Thank you so much, Tricia, for your lovely comment. Yes, I’ve got a book half finished composed of my public talk in part one, and my five years of blog posts in part two.

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