I am a writer and an editor who grew up in the South, the daughter of a jazz musician and a freedom rider. My full name is Celestine Sibley Fleming for my grandmother, journalist and author Celestine Sibley.
My grandmother allowed this naming to take place on the condition that I was never called “Celestine” because my grandmother never got over the fact that she was named for a boat. When my great-grandmother was a teenager, she and a girlfriend saw a boat called the “Celestine” and each made a girlhood pact to name their first-born Celestine. They both did, only the girlfriend’s first born was a boy. My grandmother grew up to become Southern icon. The friend’s son grew up to have his name legally changed.
Not only did I inherit her name, handwriting, and rusty pencil cup, I inherited my grandmother’s love of nature and her ability to make tight deadlines under most conditions.