“I’m not funny. I’m not,” Joy Rosin insists, but her eyes tell a different story. They gleam with the knowledge that she is actually a great comedian and that her teasing has hit the mark.
Joy is a twin, daughter of past Association President Ivan Rosin and born with her sister Joyce in 1960. Jim Rosin, Joy’s older brother, says that Joy was always included as an equal by her parents right from day one. “I can remember a few cases where living on the farm a few of the neighbours unintentionally would treat Joy a little bit differently and this caused some bad feelings at times. A lot of it was due to first impressions and the fact that Joy looked a bit different from her twin sister.”
When the twins were old enough to start visiting with friends, Joy’s father Ivan always made a point of ensuring Joy was included. Eventually Joy came to be treated by the neighbours as an equal. Through the years Jim started to see the world in a new perspective thanks to having Joy as his sister. His attitude toward the handicapped is that “they are no different than we are and sometimes they are better.”
Joy attended the Peace School of Hope in Grande Prairie. It was a tough decision for Joy’s father to make because it meant that Joy basically lived away from home from that time on. She would attend the school and live in the Barrydale Dorm during the week and come home for the weekends.
Jim says there is definitely is a “twin bond” between Joy and Joyce. They have been separated quite a bit for most of their lives and their relationship with each other is different from the one they share with the rest of the family.
The twins’ special connection was especially notable at a Rosin family reunion one summer. Joy had bought a new bathing suit for the occasion. She had not seen her sister before the reunion because they lived in different communities. The twins soon discovered that they had bought the identical bathing suit. Jim says this is just one example of the special bond that the twins share and that it is hard to explain or understand. “Maybe even the twins don’t understand it.”
Joy has a “sixth sense” when it comes to relationships with other people. She instantly recognizes who is receptive to her and knows when people are not comfortable with her. Has developed an ability to manipulate people, something Jim thinks developed because people sometimes find it difficult to relate to her. Jim laughs and says that even family can get caught in her “trap.” She will ask, “Please help me,” knowing full well that she is capable, all the while with that gleam in her eye.
Joy’s family was concerned with the decision for her to move out on her own. Debbie Sydorko, has worked with Joy for over fifteen years and they have always gotten along well. Debbie provides consistent home support for Joy. In Joy’s case the move to live on her own has been a good choice. She felt constrained living in a group home. Jim noticed a huge improvement in Joy personality-wise after she moved out on her own. At her surprise 40th birthday party neighbours commented to Joy’s family on her social skills and ability to connect with others.
Joy moved in with Debbie in 1988, when she was twenty four years old. Joy lived with Deanna Toutant at the 114 Ave residence before they both moved in with Debbie, even before Debbie was married and had her own children. They have developed a very close relationship over the years. “They are a part of the family,” Debbie says.
As with any family, Joy shares many “in jokes” with Debbie and even mimics her, just because it’s annoying. They banter back and forth in a comfortable way and it’s easy to tell that they are kindred spirits.
Joy’s messages are often not in what she says but in her facial expressions and body language. “Joy reminds us to slow down, don’t worry and to be happy. The disabled show us things that society can’t show us about life in general.”