Melodee’s Unofficial Biographies
These tales are a collection of biographies written by some of Melodee’s friends.
Hope you enjoy them!
For now, just call me LN.
Melodee asked me to write a short biography for her web site, and this is what I came up with. Don’t blame Melodee if it blows. I never claimed to have any skills at biographical writing. I have damned few at writing in general.
I met Melodee in 1991 at a conference held by a mutual publisher. She was about twenty then, a veritable publishing virgin. A couple of things impressed me about her right off the bat:
Her determination. She’s totally deaf, but that doesn’t slow her down in the least. She can read lips and facial expressions better than I can read words. She also takes no crap off anyone. She also has some skeletons in her closet that would weigh down any normal person with so much baggage that a 777 couldn’t get it off the tarmac. But none of that stops her from going after what she wants.
Her charm. That may not be the right word, but it’s all I’ve got. She can make anyone feel comfortable and at ease talking to her. Well, unless it’s a guy who has, shall we say, designs on her affections. Melodee is more than charming enough to make a man stutter and sputter when he tries to talk to her. And she has this way of making you feel about an inch tall when she slaps you down and then thanking her for doing it. Trust me, I know. Been there, done that.
I know I’ll catch hell for this one, but being attractive doesn’t hurt. Ever heard the song Long Cool Woman by The Hollies? If so, you’ve got it. Yeah, this is strictly a male thing to say. So sue me.
And Melodee is nothing if not flexible. She’s comfortable in anything from a $50,000 gown to Wal-Mart jeans. She can write in any genre from scientific papers to fantasy. And she makes it all come out good.
One thing she can’t do is cook. Oh, and she can’t take care of a house. I guess no one is perfect. I can’t do those things, either, and that’s why I have a wife.
There you have it. Melodee is a lot of fun and a bit of a paradox. But that makes for a good author.
Los Angeles, California
Hey! I like that! Call me SB!
Just like LN, Melodee asked me to write a little blurb about her so you might have a chance to get to know her through someone else’s eyes. While I haven’t known Melodee as long as LN has, I’ve learned a few things about her in the ten or so years we’ve been friends.
The very first thing her friends learn about Melodee is not to call her “Mel”. Really. I mean it. Her dad called her that, and I understand that her agent sometimes calls her that. I’m not sure why her agent gets by with it, but she does. Also, I gather that there is one other person who can call her “Mel” and live to tell the tale, but that’s it. Melodee hates it. Save yourself some pain and suffering and use all seven letters.
Next, you’ll learn that Melodee is a liar. She claims that she’s shy and quiet and reserved. Bullshit. I think that when she’s around strangers, she does put on a bit of a front, but we all do that in order to make a good and lasting impression. When she gets to know you, she really lets her hair down.
Finally, she’s a huge flirt. No, that’s not right. Melodee is in the top five biggest flirts I’ve ever known. She might be in the top two. She can get just about anyone’s motor running in a matter of minutes, and then shut them down about as fast. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though, because she never hurts your feelings. Somehow, and I have no clue how, she makes you feel good about going home without her.
Like LN and Melodee, I do a little writing now and then. I don’t think LN ever felt threatened in a professional way by Melodee. He never thought that Melodee might steal his readers. Me? There was a time that Melodee scared the crap out of me. Then I figured out that she doesn’t like to write the same kinds of stories that I write. Notice that I didn’t say that she can’t write them, because she can, and I think hers are better than mine. She just doesn’t like to do it. That means she leaves my readers alone.
Melodee allowed me to read the biographies about her before I wrote my own comments, and you can just call me Ed.
Unlike many of the others, I am not a writer. I’m a scientist working in the fields of theoretical physics and mathematics. I remember the day back in 1990 when I received a letter from a young woman named Melodee who wanted to ask me questions about physics. She spoke of the classical physics of Newton. She understood relativity as well as I did. She had a better grasp of quantum mechanics than most of my graduate students. But what she wanted to know about was string theory.
I often get letters from laypeople who are only trying to help me find what we physicists call the “Grand Unification Theory”, or GUT. The GUT is the theory that will explain the entire universe in a few elegantly simple lines of equations. We know the GUT exists, but so far we haven’t been bright enough to find it. Usually, the ideas put forth by these well-meaning laypersons are so radically wrong that they are dismissed out of hand. I often ask my students to answer the letters and politely thank the sender before throwing the letter in wastebasket.
But Melodee wasn’t offering a new, overlooked insight into the underpinnings of the universe. She was asking questions about the relationships between the three aforementioned theories and if string theory might be the thread that could tie them all together into a real GUT. And she asked the right questions. Melodee explained that she was an author of fiction, but she wanted to have the facts right.
Over the years since that first letter, Melodee and I have exchanged countless letters, e-mails, telephone discussions, and spent long hours visiting in person. In all honesty, she hasn’t offered any new insights into what we now call M-theory, but she has allowed my colleagues and I to make some dramatic advances by being a sounding board for us.
As I said, she has a knack for asking the right questions.
By trade, I’m a musician. I can write a song and have written several hundred over my time in the spotlight, but the very concept of writing a book is mind-boggling to me. I can’t even imagine writing a song that takes up 800 pages. Yet Melodee does it all the time.
My mates and I first met Melodee sometime around 1989 or so. Some people, particularly the critics, would say that our careers as musicians had already ended, but then, as now, we’re making more money than the critics are, so who cares what they say? We were told by one of the roadies that a deaf girl was in the audience and he laughingly wondered why a deaf person would come to a concert. Our PR hack decided it would be a good thing to do something special for her, so after the opening number, we brought her up on stage.
She sat there on the floor in front of me and rested her hand on the monitor speaker. The music that close to the box was loud enough that I could see her hair being blown by the force of the sound, but she couldn’t hear it at all. And yet, by feel alone she was able to sing along with us on every song in perfect time.
Ever since that night, we have called Melodee our biggest fan. She’s been to at least 70 of our concerts all over the world, and rarely misses a chance to see us.
It’s a bit ironic that our biggest fan has never heard a single note of any of our songs.
I first met Melodee when she was just 3 years old. That was way back in 1974 and I was the District Attorney for a small county in Missouri. Melodee has moved on to bigger and better things, but I’m still here. I finally retired in 2004 and I have a special sign in the small storefront office I keep now: On one side it reads “Attorney at Law” and on the other it says “Gone Fishing”.
I was called in, as the DA, to defend the county against a possible suit by Melodee’s parents. I was told that this little girl was, as the doctors put it, “profoundly deaf” and the county’s teachers claimed that she would also be “MRDD” because of that. Being just a poor country lawyer, I had to look that one up. It stands for Mentally Retarded, Developmentally Disabled.
To make a long story short, Melodee’s folks wanted the county to pay for special education for her, as opposed to sending her off to the State School more than 80 miles away, and the county school district said the kid couldn’t learn.
We met in a conference room of the County Court House, a building dating back to 1837 that still bears scars from bullets and cannons fired in the Civil War, and I found myself watching the little girl as the adults in the room decided her fate. She sat quietly on the floor with some magazines she’d pulled from an end table in the room, and slowly turned the pages. As she paged through the books, she studied each picture carefully, and I saw her lips moving. When I looked closer, I also saw her fingers moving.
Now, I may be a backwoods lawyer and I could never make it in New York or practice before the Supreme Court, but I’m not dumb. Melodee was communicating with the pictures in the magazine. The problem was that she couldn’t do it in a way that the adults could understand because she didn’t know our language. She was making up a language of her own.
I have a daughter just a little older than Melodee, and I remembered seeing her doing the same things with her picture books, talking to the people in the pictures. I may not be a teacher or a doctor, but I knew that my little Janet was neither MR nor DD.
And I didn’t think Melodee was either. She just couldn’t hear.
I stopped the discussions and asked the Aaron’s lawyer if the county could have a few minutes to talk privately, and he agreed. After Melodee and her folks had left the room, I told the school officials and the county supervisor that we needed to do what the Aaron’s asked us to do. There was a lot of carrying on about costs and such, but the bottom line was that we would lose in court.
Besides, I couldn’t defend the county against a suit and still keep my self-respect.
It ended up that the state kicked in 90% of the cost and by age 9, Melodee was in all regular classes except for one class a day on sign language and other stuff for a deaf kid. Don’t ask me what all of that was. I’m just a simple country lawyer.
Melodee and I had a few more contacts later on that were of a much sadder nature, but she’s still that same little girl making up things as she goes along.
I met Melodee when we were both attending classes at Southeast Missouri University in Cape Girardeau Missouri. We were both sophomores and I was majoring in biology to prepare for either medical school or veterinary school. I hadn’t made up my mind yet. Melodee was, as far as I could tell, majoring in either parties or guys.
She rarely went to classes and never seemed to actually study. We shared a room for a year, and I can only recall her actually reading a textbook in more than a casual manner one time. Usually she would take ten minutes to skim the material and then head out on the town.
And her class schedule was wild, too. She often just signed up for classes she thought might be interesting, not the ones that would apply to a degree of any kind.
Melodee did spend a lot of time in the Student Union Hall and in the cafeteria. Unlike most of us who went there to study, she went to flirt. She had this habit of reading Penthouse and Hustler magazines while there, and that would always get at least a dozen guys to come by and ask her about what she was reading. More than once have I seen Melodee respond by reading a few passages from the Penthouse Forum out loud to the guys.
No matter how much I talked to her about being a little more delicate and ladylike, it did no good. It wasn’t any better when the dean and chancellor talked to her. Melodee had her own way of doing things, and that was that.
At the end of our junior year, Melodee took a year off. She worked at a fast food joint waiting tables, no small trick for a deaf person, and did well at it. The restaurant was near the campus and a lot of people she knew came in nearly every day. I won’t say that this time off let Melodee discover herself, though. I think she already knew who and what she was, probably a lot sooner and better than I did. The time did let her decide to go back to school and get her degree in liberal arts.
After that, she started writing full time using a couple of men’s names and sold a ton of stories and books in science fiction and fantasy. In between, she took more classes and wrangled all of her disjointed credits into several more degrees, mostly in science.
Melodee and I keep in touch mostly by email these days, though she always drops by to see me when she’s in Florida where I work as a vet at a number of animal parks and attractions. I use my degree almost every day, but I don’t think that Melodee has used any of hers.
Unless she decides to make someone call her “Doctor” because she can.
I can remember a time when I would have never spoke to Melodee let alone do her a favor like writing about how I know her. Back in those early days, I didn’t like Melodee too much. Let me tell you why.
I was 33 when I met Melodee and she was almost 24. I met her at my father’s 67th birthday party, and she was my Dad’s date. My youngest sister was 26 at the time. I’m sure you see the problem here. Our mother had died about 5 years before that, and my sisters and I thought Melodee was after Dad’s money, what little he had. My sisters called her a gold-digger. I just called her a whore.
Put yourself in our position. Here comes this very pretty young girl dressed to the nines in an evening gown slinking into the party on an old man’s arm. Wouldn’t you think the same thing? I think we were very reasonable in our assumptions. When I found out Melodee is deaf, I thought that we had a disabled girl who was using her looks and sex to make a living. It all seemed reasonable. Our opinion, that is, not the fact that Dad was dating a bimbo.
At the party, Melodee was polite and refined, and she hung on Dad’s arm like a leech. She was attentive to him and while cordial to other men there who had a lot more money than my father, she ignored the other men regardless of their age and apparent financial status.
A few days after the party and after more than a few discussions between us, my sisters and me went to see Dad about his choice in women. He listened patiently while we spelled out our concerns and opinions. He didn’t argue or try to stop us. He just listened until we were done. He then told us 2 things. First, he said that his personal life was absolutely none of our business and to keep our noses out of it. Second, he said that he and Melodee cared about each other. He then tossed us all out of his office.
The fact that he was absolutely right that it was none of our business meant nothing to us. Looking back, I guess that’s typical for adult kids.
In my infinite wisdom, I decided to go talk to Melodee, so I got her number from my Dad’s secretary and called her. If you’ve never used one of the phones for deaf people, it takes practice, but we finally managed to get the message across and I headed off to the address Melodee gave me.
Melodee told me she was a writer and worked at home, and her apartment was in a nice part of town and a good building. When she answered the door, I saw that the apartment was nice and I wondered how much my Dad was paying for it all. I decided to just confront her, and I told Melodee that she needed to leave my Dad alone and stop taking his money. She smiled at me, and then walked to a big filing cabinet in the corner. She pulled out some folders and put them on the coffee table. They were contracts and statements from her publishers. To make a long story short, she was making more money than Dad was. She could have been supporting him!
She then told me that she cared about my father and invited me to leave before she called the cops.
Over the next 2 years, Melodee and Dad were together all of the time. They never moved in together or got married, but I know they slept together. My sisters and I never really accepted Melodee as Dad’s lover, but we saw that he was happy with her.
One day in June, Dad called my sisters and I to his office. Melodee was there, too, and they held hands over the corner of the desk. Dad told us that he had lung cancer and that it had spread to his liver and brain. The doctors were giving him less than 3 months to live. He had the papers all drawn up and signed his business and property over to my sisters and me. Melodee got nothing. They also told us that Melodee was going to stay at the house with him and that he wanted to die at home.
Dad died in the middle of August, and along with my sisters and I, Melodee was at his side.
I know now that Dad and Melodee were in love, though I can never recall either of them ever using the word “love”. I also know that Melodee made Dad’s last years, weeks, and days happy.
I don’t hate Melodee now. I don’t think I ever really did.
It’s really just the opposite now. I love her for all she did for my Dad.
St. Louis, MO
My name is Maria and I’m Melodee’s housekeeper and cook. I guess I do a lot more than that around the place, but that’s my title.
I’ve worked for Melodee for just over 15 years now, and we’ve been through a lot together. It’s been a lot of fun, but there have been a few tears shed, too.
I remember when I first met Melodee. My husband of over 30 years had died about a year before I saw an ad in the local paper for a housekeeper and cook. I was bored and needed to get out, and the money would be good, too, so I called the 800-number and talked to a nice lady who wasn’t Melodee. The woman told me that she was Ms. Aaron’s (her words, not mine) business manager and she was doing some screening before the actual interview with Ms. Aaron. I wondered what I was getting myself into, but the telephone conversation went well and we set a date and time for me to meet Ms. Aaron.
I drove a little way up into the mountains and came to the address I was given. I was already nervous and the big gate with a man in a little shack didn’t help much. He asked my name, checked a list, and then asked for some ID. Once he was happy with everything, the guard told me to follow the road up to the house and not to go anyplace else. I did as he said since he had a gun on his hip.
Another man met me at the house and opened the car door for me. He escorted me inside and took me to a nice living room. He offered me something to drink and told me that Ms. Aaron (again, his words) would be with me in a few minutes. I didn’t see a gun on him, but I decided to do as he said, too.
I sat there sipping my iced tea and I looked around. The only rooms I’d seen were the entryway and the living room, and both were pretty big. The rooms weren’t dirty, but they were a bit cluttered. The rug could have used a good vacuuming and maybe a shampoo, but things weren’t too bad. The biggest thing that caught my eye were several empty glasses and a few used paper plates on end and coffee tables.
Before I could explore more, in came who I assumed to be Ms. Aaron.
She was striking, tall, slender, blond, and very pretty. I guessed her to be in her middle twenties someplace. And she moved like a bird with quick, jerky movements. She seemed to see me on the couch for the first time and smiled as she walked towards me. She extended her hand and said, “You must be Maria. I’m Melodee and I’m deaf. I can read your lips, but try to speak slowly and clearly for me, okay?”
I could only barely understand her speech. I can’t place it exactly, but Melodee spoke with a nasal quality, like she had a bad cold, and some words weren’t pronounced the ways I’d heard them before. But I managed to puzzle out the meaning. I stood and shook her hand and said hello.
We chatted for more than an hour, and I took an immediate liking to Melodee. As we talked, I found that she wasn’t hard to understand at all, but I had to really listen. I guess that’s something we should all do, but we take it for granted. I guess Melodee liked me, too, because she offered to take me on a tour of the house. And that’s where things got bad.
All I’m going to talk about here is her bedroom. There were dirty clothes all over and the dirty clothes often had clean clothes on top or under them. Dirty dishes were everywhere. A blouse she pulled from the closet looked it had never seen an iron, and the bed was a wreck. I don’t know if the carpet had ever been vacuumed.
The rest of the big house was actually a little better, but not much. That was another thing: Melodee lived there alone. The house had, at that time, 16 rooms and as far as I could tell, she used only 2 of them: the bedroom and her office. The other rooms were, I think, cleaner only because she never went in them.
The only exception was the kitchen. Whoever designed the kitchen knew what they were doing, and it was a cook’s dream. Perfectly laid out, all nice appliances, lots of counter space, amazing cabinets, and the place was cleaner than an operating room.
I guess surprise showed on my face because Melodee laughed and said, “I can’t cook. This is the first time I’ve been in here in more than a year.” It turned out that the guards kept the kitchen clean because they did their lunches in there. Melodee has a little refrigerator in her office where she keeps a few things to drink and sent the guards out for food.
Melodee shrugged. “I’m not the least bit domestic. I never learned to do all the stuff that needs doing around a house, so I need someone to take care of those things for me.” She smiled. “Think you’d like to be that someone?”
I didn’t even hesitate before saying yes.
Like I said, Melodee and me have been through a lot together. I’ve seen her flying high and crashing hard. I was lucky enough to see her find the man of her dreams and fall in love. I was at her wedding. I sat at the table when she signed the adoption papers for her daughters. I was there when her son was born. I was there when she almost died.
And I’ll be here until we don’t need each other anymore.
I guess we’ll both be dead by then.
After reading all of the biographies here I’m reminded of a theme similar to something out of Frank Herbert’s Dune. “I was a friend of Jamis. Jamis taught me…” Like every contributor here, I know Mel, (yeah, I said Mel. I’m not her Dad, nor am I her agent. I’m that elusive “other person” Steve referred to). Unlike every contributor here I’ve never actually met her in person.
That’s really unusual given the fact that we attended Southeast Missouri State at the same time. One would think that a guy would notice a striking blond reading from a Penthouse magazine in the student union. It wasn’t that big of a university and I was there for 5 years. I know for a fact I ate often at the same restaurant that she worked at. Sadly I didn’t ‘meet’ Mel until I found her profile on MySpace back in ’06 and I thought ‘she went to SEMO and seems like a neat person I would like to know more about’ and get to know her I did.
Mel was a friend to me when I was in a dark and distant place, like the beacon from a lighthouse pointing out where the shoreline is. Depending on how you look at it, she’s either responsible for almost getting me killed or saving my life. One of her messages literally made the difference in timing, whereby had it gone a few minutes the other way I would have been on the receiving end of an Iraqi rocket which ended two other people quite gruesomely. Thankfully Mel taught me that 2+2 can equal 5 given exceptionally large values of 2 and because of that I was once able to return the favor in a way.
In keeping with the theme I noted earlier, Mel’s taught me quite a few other things along the course of our friendship:
(1) In all things be happy, the worst is already over and the best is yet to come.
(2) There’s more to life that what we can perceive with our senses.
(3) Don’t judge a book by its cover, those people are airbrushed to look better anyway.
Mel is truly unique, fearless, loving, and focused. A lot of that comes through in her stories and her personality.
Oh and don’t call her Mel, she really hates that!
Wherever the Air Force says is home