Patty Barber (PB) and Ricky Boone (RB)
RB: My mom did not get enough vitamins and minerals, so my skeletal system went haywire. And so I got bones in places where I shouldn’t have bones, and then there are places that I should have bones that I don’t.
PB: How was it for you when you were a child?
RB: I grew up in a very small rural town, and people were ashamed that there next door neighbor was a disabled child. So it was very difficult. One day when I was 13, we were told there would be a new teacher where I went to school. And me and a couple of other guys were standing outside the school waiting to see what this new teacher looked like. This guy pulls up on a Harley wearing a black leather jacket. Well, I thought he was cool right then and there. He got off the motorcycle and proceeded to show us card tricks and coin tricks, and I was hooked. His name was Grove Norwood, and I owe everything to him. He became principal of the school, and he would come over the intercom almost daily: ”Ricky Boone, please report to the principal’s office.” And he would come outside of his office and the other kids thought I was always in trouble, even the secretary thought I was in trouble and he would say, ”Get in here!” And close the door, and he’d say ”Ricky let me show you this.” And he’d show me a new card trick or a coin trick. He said, ”Go find a book. Learn a new trick. When you can fool me, we’ll trade.” And I started reading every book that I could get my hands on. Well, later on, when I graduated from college, he tracked me down. And he was having a Christmas party, and he said, ”come and perform.” So I went and did their Christmas party. His mother came up to me after, and she said ”You know, the student had surpassed the master.” And that made me feel really, really good. I’ve been a professional magician now for 36 years. And people they do judge a book by its cover. People see me as someone to pity. It takes a lot to get past that initial shock. But if I can make that person laugh there butts off, then they have no time to feel sorry for me, and they forget that I’m in a chair.