I share this sentiment with FDR … In the movie, Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt defies the impossible by rising from his wheelchair on polio shriveled legs and holds himself up to make a point to his advisers who seem to have lost faith in the United States succeeding in winning World War II – and then there is Jocelyn.
Against all odds, Jocelyn succeeds. When she was five years old the doctors told her mom she would never ride a bicycle. She overheard the prognosis and was riding her bike within weeks of that statement. I like that. Maybe that’s why I like her.
Jocelyn Farquhar (Pronounced Far-cwar) was born in 1981, one minute after her twin sister in San Luis Obispo on California’s central coast. Who is to say why the second twin was faced with developmental difficulties? The reason is not as important as dealing with what is real. And deal with it she does. Her feisty, can-do attitude is apparent in many facets of her rich life. And she is fearless.
I witnessed her walk right up to a man at a party, who she had overheard criticizing one of her paintings which hung on the wall of the host. “Oh yeah? You think you could do better?” she asks in her pleasant voice, looking much like a teenager. Due to her developmental disability, her appearance belies her thirty-three years. She stands a few inches below five feet in height, has the clear, flawless skin of a newborn, and a constant smile on her face. The man was speechless.
When I first met Jocelyn about three years ago, I didn’t understand her uniqueness. I had attended numerous social functions where she and her mom, Diane, were also in attendance. Invariably, I would feel the energy of someone’s eyes focused on me. Each time I turned around to see Jocelyn staring at me. When she caught my eye, she would say, “You look nice.” and continue to stare. Most people would politely look away. Not Jocelyn. It took a while, but I finally got it. She wasn’t staring at me; she was staring into me. She was staring at my soul. “You look nice.” had nothing to do with my physical appearance – it had to do with how she perceived me. Nice.
She picked up a paint brush when she was three years old and was drawn to vibrant strokes of color. To this day, her art centers around strokes of bright color, mostly in the shape of primitive birds; Sometimes they play in her head. Suddenly, she will simply shout, “Geezer Bird! Bird Buds! Easter Bird!” turn to me and smile and we both get bent over amidst gales of laughter. Easter Bird, which hangs on my wall, has special meaning to me. It just rings Jocelyn in my head. When I look at it, I see us jumping up and down in a made-up dance, shouting “Easter Bird”.
Dubbed “Squibbles” by her dedicated mom early on, this became a trade name for Jocelyn’s art business. The name itself gives a hint to how silly words, phrases, and descriptions spring forward from the creative mind of this young artist. She even has nick-names for the people she meets. They just pop into her head as she absorbs the essence of the person. For instance, I’m “Bam-Bam”. At first I thought, Oh, how cute; I remind her of the ‘Pebbles’ cartoon character. But no. When I questioned her about it, she said, “It’s because you BAM! here, then BAM! there; you’re just everywhere at once bamming around, and she looked up, tilted her head and beamed at me. Gotta love it. She pegged me.
Jocelyn is not only creative in the art department – she cooks. Like her art, her salads are vibrant with color and life. The first time I had a ‘Jocelyn salad’, my mouth did the jitterbug. Everything is chopped fine, almost like a ‘chopped salad”, but not quite. The pieces are not so fine as to lose their texture and individual characteristics. She uses garlic, ginger, golden raisins, cashews, sometimes strawberries, and a host of other ingredients depending on the season. How you do anything is how you do everything is the phrase that comes to mind.
At one point in her youth, the school system decided to mainstream her. There had been difficulties due to her different way of processing information. The teachers were in a quandary, and then she took a drama class. The play was “The Miracle Worker,” the story of Helen Keller, the deaf-blind lady who broke the barriers of the stigma attached to her condition and who became one of the brightest, best educated humanitarians of the twentieth century. Jocelyn played the lead role. After the performance, it was said that she didn’t play Helen Keller, she was Helen Keller. Her talents were recognized and then pointed in a constructive direction emphasizing the arts.
In the five years Jocelyn has been living in Costa Rica, she has spent every day contributing to society as an artist, a cook, and a dancer in both Zumba and Dance-Fit, two morning classes offered at Su Espaciao in Atenas. When I attend class, if I need a little boost, I just look over to the front corner where the little ball of energy is doing her version of the steps, and I get renewed. After class, we are energized, invigorated, and ready to face the day, but not before we depart with a group hug!
You will see Jocelyn’s distinctive art on the walls of many Atenas residents, hanging for sale at La Carreta, an Atenas restaurant, and at my house on January. 25, 2015. Not only that, there is a grouping hanging on a wall in a friends’ home in Puerto Rico. Come see us and take a painting home! Today, San Juan … tomorrow, the world! Buy now before fame drives the prices up. Look for your invitation to a fabulous wine, cheese, and art show! Coming soon …
Jocelyn is living proof of – Yes! It can be done!