Bobo the Kokomo Baseketball Clown in Crown Point Cemetery; a short story

Clown headstone of Mr. Robert L. Hurley with the epitaph, "See you down the road..." Photo by Tree Pruitt
See you down the road...
Curios are things out of the ordinary that raise our curiosity thus causing the thinker jelly to jiggle. Sometimes a curio can be placed on a shelf to admire at any time, but other curios can only be collected through photos and memories. My trek outdoors today provided one such ephemeral curio as I took my footpath to cut through Crown Point Cemetery in Kokomo, Indiana. I often pass the cemetery via automobile but, this was the first time I'd entered the site on foot. From the road most of the headstones look modern with some old sculptural gems in the mix. Even though I was aware that the site had been basically created because of the Civil War, I had no idea how many very old headstones have either been replaced or had a modern one added as a double; it doesn't look old and decrepit from the street. I don't really know why I should care about graves of the dead at all, but I do respectfully care and, it hurts to see them in decay, but this cemetery seems in very good hands!
  One particular gem of this site caught my eye today. Though it isn't a particularly old grave, nor one with the Gothic type imagery that one might expect in such places, it is one that's visually striking! I couldn't help but admire the plot of Mr. Robert L. Hurley ( Nov. 16, 1927 - Jan. 23, 2004), with the epitaph... "See you down the road...". Mr. Hurley's headstone shows an obvious performance stage curtain etched into the rich black stone. At each end of the curtain pull protrude classic metal lion heads with ring pulls in the mouth (think Jacob Marley at the door knocker) that look MUCH older than two-thousand-and-anything, but indeed this grave was placed in just 2004. The center image is certainly what provides the most information and charm about Mr. Hurley, AKA Bobo, as it is a finely etched image of a CLOWN!
 Mr.Hurley, also known as Bobo the Clown, was a professional clown who had worked with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, and in 1924 created the basketball team the Kokomo Clowns. This team played as professional athletes, though dressed anomalously in clown garb, to be revived post-War on into 1952 beating teams as renowned as the Harlem Renaissance. According to the website,, with his continued activity as manager, coach, and occasional sub, the website claims Mr. Hurley as the shortest professional basketball player ever due to his height of just  2' 6"! Though there may be some question or controversy as to just who started the Kokomo Clowns there is no doubt as to the big impact this man has made upon the history basketball, of the honorable title of clown, the history of Kokomo, and upon this curious passerby! See you down the road.

Tree Pruitt, 2019


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