It started out in High School (summer between 9th and 10th grade) when I was a Counselor-in-training at the Camp Fire Girls camp. We had to change our names to a “Camp Name”, so the Bluebirds (2nd graders) could spend the week trying to figure out what our real names were. I was reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach at the time and really connected to the Fletcher character. So that became my camp name for the summer.
At about that same time, I was thinking about career paths and college and of course “Art” was a front runner. There was a jewelry designer and painter that lived near my Grandmother down on the Rogue River in the scenic waterway portion….in the middle of the Siskiyou National Forest named June Parks. June took me aside one day when I was down visiting Grandma and explained that there was still sexism in the Art field. Men still got paid more for their work than women. Her advice was to pick an androgynous name that no one would immediately know my gender, thereby getting a jump on the gender-bias aspect of art.
Funny enough, I had a camp name that I’d just used the entire summer before. I could use that. So, I spent my Junior and Senior years at school signing everything with “Fletcher”. While other girls might be practicing signing their names as though they were married to their latest crush, I was signing mine like I was Monet. 🙂
I signed all my fashion illustrations with, ”Fletcher” through college. I bought a car and put it on my personalized plate. And then when I decided to start my business, well…..that’ how it happened.
I haven’t read Jonathan since Junior High and I’m a little worried if I did, would I still relate. Might lose my path in life or have some bad existential experience about living a lie for most my life. 😀
So now ya know.