Dairy farmer goes for laughs as `Charlie Chuckles'


January 18, 2001|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I STOPPED BY Mel's Barbershop in Uniontown a couple of weeks ago. It's a great place to learn about some of the interesting folks who live in our area and some of the interesting things going on.

Sure enough, I learned about a man named Charles M. Shriver Jr.

Shriver, a small-dairy farmer between New Windsor and Westminster, is also a clown whose professional name is Charlie Chuckles.

His interest in clowning dates to 1975, when Shriver first donned a polka-dot suit and face paint and participated in a parade in New Windsor. He won a $5 prize for his get-up.

"That started me off," Shriver said with a laugh. "I thought, `Hey, I could do more parades,' and I wanted to make people laugh. Later, I added magic tricks."

For a long time, he participated in the parade that launches the annual New Windsor Fire and Hose Company No. 1 carnival.

"I was transformed from Charles Shriver to Charlie Chuckles," Shriver said. "We had to hurry and get the cows milked by 7 p.m. in order to make the parade. It was tough."

Shriver joined Clowns of America, a professional association, and attended its annual convention in Baltimore. It was at these conventions he met other clowns and learned new tricks.

Shriver was often asked to perform at heritage days events in Taneytown, New Windsor and Union Bridge. But his personal highlight occurred in 1989 when he performed in the Kelly Miller Circus that was in the area. He had never performed in a circus, only local events.

For Shriver, the appeal of clowning has been making people laugh, especially children.

"They would walk along with me at the fairs if I was in my clown suit," Shriver said, "which is something they wouldn't do if I wasn't."

Shriver also drives the horse-drawn carriages for the biennial Uniontown Candlelight House Tour.

"It's really a 1904 model of a horse-drawn station wagon," Shriver said of the carriage that is pulled by his prized Belgian and Percheron horses. "You can put four people in the back."

Shriver said the wagon belonged to his grandfather George Shriver, who used it to transport family and friends from the Sudbrook Park station of the Western Maryland Railway to his home on Old Court Road in Pikesville.

Shriver wasn't always a Carroll County resident. Born in 1930, he grew up in a 23-room mansion in Pikesville that was owned by his grandfather, who worked for Charles Mayer, president of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. His father, Charles Mayer Shriver, was named after the B&O executive.

But Shriver said he decided he wanted to farm and bought his dairy farm in 1958.

"It went up for sale on a Tuesday and I bought it on Thursday," Shriver recalled.

Shriver and his wife, Ruth, own and run the farm.

Youths help the needy

Members of a New Windsor Middle School youth leadership group helped collect more than 2,000 nonperishable items for Carroll County Food Sunday last week.

The weeklong event ended with a dance for pupils who paid admission with nonperishable food items, said Rita Holland, the teacher adviser for the group, SHOUT/SASS. That's an acronym for Students Helping Others Understand Themselves and Students Against Starting Smoking.

Holland said the group sponsors fund-raisers and community outreach projects throughout the year.

She said Sarah Thompson, a family and consumer science teacher, and pupils involved in SHOUT/SASS organized and coordinated the food drive.

"They wanted to wait until after the holidays so that the students would understand that the community has needs all year," Holland said.

Four homerooms took top place for collecting the most goods. First place went to Kelly Davey's eighth-grade class; Rita Medvetz's sixth-grade class took second place; third place went to Carroll Seiler's eighth-grade class; and fourth place went to Becky Tregoning's seventh-grade class.

Members of SHOUT/SASS who worked on the project were: eighth-graders Laura Pearcy, Elaine Mills and Seth Hawkins; seventh-graders Christina McNemar and Abbi Hoff; and sixth-graders Julie Scarpati and Heather Uhland.

Train display open Sunday

The Western Maryland Railway Historical Society Inc.'s model train display will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at its museum in Union Bridge.

This will be the last Sunday to see the display in Union Bridge. It will be on display at a railroad show the next weekend at the state fairgrounds in Timonium.

The display depicts stops along the Western Maryland Railway route, including Cumberland and Sudbrook Park in Pikesville.

Information: 410-775-0150.

Basket raffle

The Republican Women's Club of Taneytown is holding a basket raffle with a drawing each day of April except Sundays, according to Melody Smith, who is helping to coordinate the event.

Winners will be contacted by phone and baskets may be picked up between April 16 and May 3 at Heltebridle & Associates Inc., 441 E. Baltimore St. in Taneytown. Tickets are $5.

Information: Fairy Flickinger, 410-756-2245.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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