When Raymond Page passed away in April of 2021 he was known as a normal guy in his community, but those around him soon came to learn he was a man of many adventures; he was also my great grandpa.
Growing up, your grandpa is the one who sits you on his lap and tells you all his crazy and adventurous life stories. Well, my great grandpa did just that. Not many people have the opportunity to say that they were an orphan, a war veteran; that they met many celebrities and even worked as a professional clown. Hearing these stories as I was growing up always amazed me. It was crazy how when life seemed to be so short, he had all of these adventures in his lifetime.
He was born in Connecticut and was a child out of wedlock; his birth mother was required to financially support him until he was allowed to enroll in school. Then the state of Connecticut made him enroll in school but once he was forced to be done at a young age, he became a ward of the state around the age of five or six and was sent to a farm to work.
At the farm, he was worked hard everyday and had to plow fields at a very young age. About the age of 18, he was allowed to enlist in the military. He was in the army for about three years from about 1951 to 1953 during the Korean war.
He was a part of the Howitzer group, meaning he was in artillery and in charge of a big cannon like gun. While he was in the military he made it to the rank of staff sergeant. Being able to hear these stories of the life he lived before me and the accomplishments he had while serving our country was an eye opener.
Besides being a combat veteran, the army also provided my great grandpa with the chance to meet Marilyn Monroe. This was the first of many celebrities he would meet in his lifetime. She had personally skipped her honeymoon just to go out and visit and entertain the troops, and by luck, my great grandpa happened to be there. That “celebrity luck” would continue.
After he left the military, he was in many other jobs such as a fire chief in the early 70’s and he even owned his own Shell gas station restaurant. He also had a job as the head bellman at the Scottsdale Conference Center in Arizona and had the opportunity to meet multiple celebrities and drive them around. Some of the few celebrities he had the chance to meet were Joe Namath, a former football quarterback and Farrah Fawcett, who is most known for her role in the 1970s TV version of “Charlie’s Angels.” He even got to meet former president Gerald Ford, who at one point took my great grandpa golfing. When I was a young girl being told the different jobs he had and all of the celebrities he met gave me hope that I could have just as amazing adventures as he had.
After he was a bellman, he eventually became a professional clown. He was taking some college classes when he saw a sign for a clown class. Of course anyone would see that and be somewhat interested in it, and so he started the classes and fell in love with it. He was a clown for many years and enjoyed it.
As a little girl my grandpa used to play pranks on me. Of course this came from his job as a clown. He would have his little toilet that he would have you open and it would spray water right into your face. I always used to laugh and fall for it over and over again.
Growing up, I would always walk into my grandparents house and there was a wall full of clown glass ornaments that he was given. He loved to make people laugh and to make people smile. Although he was never in a circus or organization as a clown, I think being able to grow up with a grandpa who was a clown brought me the most joy. It was never a dull moment and it taught me that sometimes it’s okay to be goofy and have a good old laugh with your grandpa once in a while.
This man was truly the jack of all trades and he will always be remembered for all the fun, laughable, interesting adventures he had. Like all grandparents they have stories, they may not seem important all the time, but to sit and listen to all their adventures can give us younger people the sense for adventure in the future.