Claire Edwards has adapted her one-woman stage act of The Knife
Thrower’s Assistant into a printed version.
Those who remember her as “Corabeth Godsey” on The Waltons
or as “Bootsie” on The Torkelsons, will hear her voice coming
off of these pages.
memoir is presented as opening a series of boxes marked with lot numbers,
and each holding a collection of items from a special moment in Edwards’
life or that of a relative. What
becomes clear in the opening is that Ronnie Claire Edwards comes from a
family of eccentrics who are as endearing as they are unique.
City native Edwards learned acting by being thrown in the river, so to
speak. At age 15, she
replaced a knife thrower’s assistant who had developed nervous habits.
She learned early to possess nerves of steel in front of an
age 17, Edwards was performing with an actors group in a mining camp. They put on twelve shows a week for tourists.
Edwards explored the saloon and shared the tales of the earlier
becomes extremely clear is that Ronnie Claire Edwards comes from a family
that seeks adventure. There
were stories of people who were looked on as freaks, but had heartbreaking
stories with happy endings, such as the orphan train girl who had been
burned and was adopted by the Edwards.
Homer was not one to collect dust. He
rode with Pancho Villa, owned a flea circus, and managed a performing
father, an attorney, was a special man.
He would post bail for a drunken man in the tank or a cockfighter.
He disapproved of their actions, but understood they were troubled
uses letters from her father throughout the book, which display his
sense of humor and heart.
As fun as this book is to read, I know to hear an audio version or to see the one-woman show would be a special treat. Let’s hope that Ronnie Claire Edwards will take her life story on the road again.
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