When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s there was no place in my family’s household that was more forbidden than my father’s dresser.  I remember the dresser quite well.  In fact, as I write this, my muscles are aching from moving that dresser this very day as my parents made the big move to their new post-post-retirement home.  But, that is another story.

As a kid, dad’s dresser loomed large.  It was much taller than my mother’s dresser, which was just as big, but more wide than tall.  Anyway, I was an adventurous kid (read: snooper) and I made my way to the top of dad’s dresser a few times.  I was always fascinated by what I found there: collar stays, cufflinks, watches, knives, etc.  But mostly I was intrigued by a glass jar with a clown’s head for a lid.  The jar was clear and most often contained loose change.


I am not going to say I ever opened said jar, just that I remember it always being there standing sentry over my parents’ bedroom.  By the way, if you want a kid to stay away from something, don’t put a clown head on top of it and don’t fill it with money.

A couple of weekends ago, while on one of a dozen or so recent trips to the old homestead to help the folks downsize for their move, my mother was doling out her most precious family heirlooms from the china cabinet.  There wasn’t anything there that I wanted, the things were nice and some extremely valuable, but they did not hold the sentimental value I desired.

My mother asked me of all the things in the house, what did I want to keep.  I said I wanted the clown head jar from dad’s dresser.

“The Bosco clown?”  My mother said.

“I guess.”  I replied.

“You mean the clown bank we used to steal candy money from?” My sister asked. 

“What clown?”  Dad asked.  Um, another long story.

I led dad up the stairs to his room to the dresser.  “That clown,” I pointed.

“Oh that, sure, you can have it.”

I was ready for of fight.  How could he let something so meaningful go so easily?  The dresser was making the move to their new one-floor living unit, didn’t he want the clown too?

But I just said thank you and packed it lovingly for the ride to my own home.

Now my mission was to explore this mysterious clown, now known as the “Bosco” clown.  All I knew of Bosco was from the Seinfeld episode where “Bosco” was George’s ATM pin code.  From that episode I guessed Bosco was a regional chocolate syrup for mixing into milk.

Well, thanks to the internet, I was able to find the jar – they are all over the place.  Apparently, back in the 1950’s Bosco sold their chocolate syrup in these glass jars with a plastic clown’s head meant to be a bank when empty.  You can find these on various sites for sale, they seem to run anywhere from $5 – $10, more if the label is intact, which I guess is rare.  But the one I have is worth a whole lot more to me.

The clown that invited me to do things I knew I shouldn’t all those years ago now sits on my own dresser, ready to temp a whole new generation.