The Day the Clowns Cried

 Sparkle wrote to tell me "My mother had to be forced to tell us about it even in her 70's, and she was in her early 20's when it happened."

This appears to be the case with most of the eyewitnesses. When I asked Joey Kelly, grandson of eyewitness Emmett "Weary Willie" Kelly Sr., if he could share some special insights from his grandfather on the story. His reply was "Sorry, It was one of those things he (Emmett Sr.) blocked out and didn't like to talk about for reasons I'm sure you can appreciate."

Nevertheless, I was able to locate a few comments about that day  from Emmett Sr. as he was quoted in the book The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan and Emmett Sr.'s own words from his autobiography entitled Clown. O'Nan reaffirmed Joey's statement about his grandfather's hesitance to relive that terrible day with this quote from Emmett Sr:

Emmett “Weary Willie” Kelly, Sr."I think of it, it's like a movie running in my mind. I try to forget it. I don't like to talk much about it."

In his autobiography, Emmett Sr. said, "I felt as though I had lived a lifetime in the seven minutes of that calamity." He also called it "...the most awful seven or eight minutes in the whole history of circus business."