The birth of Weebles the Clown began with an inability to juggle.
A co-worker at Lincoln Medical Center gave Mollie Taylor her first set of juggling balls. She quickly learned she lacked standard hand-eye coordination.
â€œThis is the one thing I ran across in my life that I didnâ€™t think I could do,â€ she said.
A mere 11-and-a-half months later, Taylor had juggling down pat. The next logical step? Clowning.
Taylor had spent 20 years of her life teaching dance to children in Lincolnton. After going back to school to earn a degree in psychology, she worked for 16 years in education at Lincoln Medical Center.
With retirement came a chance to dedicate herself to clowning.
Now Taylor not only knows how to juggle â€“ she can facepaint, make balloon animals and entertain children of all ages.
She has more clown clothes in her closet than civilian ones and never visits children without her blue wig and grease-painted face, which she claims could withstand a natural disaster.
â€œMy makeup would be the only thing that would be right there in place,â€ she said.
As Weebles the Clown, Taylor entertains at childrenâ€™s birthdays and events. As founder of the Caring Clown Program at LMC, she visits the hospital weekly.
Seeing the bow-tied clown lifts many spirits â€“ young and old alike.
â€œIt is so hard not to smile when you see a clown rounding a corner,â€ she said.
Taylor has been visiting the hospital as Weebles since 2003. Cheering up children is the most rewarding part of her job.
â€œI love talking to kids because theyâ€™re just so genuinely funny and interesting,â€ Taylor said.
Being a clown has connected Taylor back to her roots â€“ being creative and working with children.
Surprisingly, the energetic woman wasnâ€™t always the center of attention. Instead, it took her many years and a tough divorce to help her develop confidence.
â€œWhen I got it, I felt I could do anything,â€ she said.
That included being silly and putting on a funny outfit.
â€œNot just anyone can be clown. People are so self conscious,â€ she said. â€œTheyâ€™re so worried about what other people are going to think.â€
Luckily, Taylor doesnâ€™t have that problem. In fact, if sheâ€™s been out at an event as Weebles, she has no problem doing errands afterwards â€“ wearing her grease paint, bow tie and all.
The looks she gets are priceless.
â€œA lot of my life experiences gave me courage to put on a wig,â€ she said. â€œWhen I learned to laugh at myself, I knew I could get others to laugh.â€
Contact Weebles the clown by calling (704) 735-7503.
by Sarah Grano