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.