The Story of Jean Shelby

I’m not going to lie, it feels odd to have a pen name that’s different than my own. It’s not the catchiest name out there. It’s not clever, and it doesn’t feel strong on the tongue. What it does have, for me, is a sentiment that is irreplaceable.

I might have already posted why I chose this name as my alias, but since everyone whom I tell the story to breaks out in goosebumps, I think it’s worthy of an encore.

I knew I wanted the name Jean in my pen name. I was open to the idea of this being either a first or last name. My grandma’s name was Pop Pop to my sister, cousins, and I, but known by others as Jean. My mom, mother-in-law, one of my daughters, and myself all share this as our middle name. It holds significance and was the starting point on this name quest.

One night I was brainstorming names with my family, coming up with all kinds of “Jean” combinations. My mom sent me a text at that very moment. “Look what I just found!” she said. She had been cleaning out a drawer and found a small watch that belonged to my grandma Yes, this was a watch from my grandma, Jean. “It hasn’t worked for years,” my mom said. “LOOK at what time it is frozen on!”

Now, weird when it comes to numbers. Seeing repeating numbers such as 1111, 2222, or 1234, and so on, really speaks to me. The number I see most often though, as in several times a day, is my birthday: July 12, or 712. This, to me, speaks volumes and either calms me when I’m having a bad day or is a sign that I’m on the right path.

My mom sent me a picture of the watch, and sure enough, the time was frozen at 7:12. This, of course, was the biggest sign I’ve ever received. I knew instantly that I not only should use my grandma’s name, but I had her blessing. Thank you, Pop Pop!

While I have yet to be able to say this name without also spilling the truth about my real name, I know it is playing a part in my tale that has just begun.

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