Joybubbles is the legal name of a 56-year-old Minneapolis man who has been blind since birth. He said his upbringing was marred by abuse he suffered in a home for blind children. The name came to him at a time when he was trying to reinvent his childhood.More.
"We were on a retreat at Carleton College, a spiritual retreat, and it went around the room, what name would you like to use for the week?'' he recalled. "Suddenly it got around to me and I said, 'Joybubbles.' It was like a breath. You just felt the rightness of it. … I guess because it conjures up in my mind joyful feelings.''
In 1991, he legally became Joybubbles. He is a telephone addict and ministers to his many telephonic friends via long-distance. Joybubbles, to him, describes the happy vibes he tries to send — little packets of joy.
He has a shaved head, an impish smile and a quick wit. In the 1960s, he achieved cult fame under his original name of Josef Engressia Jr. by being able to whistle long-distance tones and make free calls.
He has a manner that could be described as, well, joyful.
When he lived in Utah, and his first name was listed as "none'' in some official records, foreign-sounding telephone solicitors would call and ask for "No-nay,'' which was their pronunciation of "none.''
Joybubbles, Bear, Frog. The Pioneer Press looks into one-named Minnesotans, apparently a trend ever so slightly on the rise:
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