There’s something about St. Louis that attracts Melissas. I don’t recall any Melissas growing up in God’s Country. I never met any in Columbia during my college years and I never encountered any during my year in Springfield.
But I moved here and there are Melissas everywhere. There were three at my old job, two at my current one. I have to say, I have been impressed by the Melissas I have met. Some were conservative, some were liberal, some were shy, some were outgoing, some were serious, some were jokesters. All were nice. None were mean.
Which brings us to my latest Melissa, this one from the Weber clan. Melissa W. joined the staff a few weeks before I did, but she seemed like a pro to me. She certainly knew what she was doing moreso that I did.
Mel had a cynical streak to her that drew us together. We didn’t always agree with things going on around us but we usually agreed with each other.
People who study such things will tell you turnover rates are high for people who work with the developmentally disabled. It’s a high-stress job. Living with people with developmental disabilities is also high stress, but what can you do?
As a result, turnover is high. But then, turnover was high at the Journal. In fact, I’m pretty sure staff changed at the newspaper at a more frequent basis. Make of that what you will.
Oh, people always had excuses for leaving: got a better job; got a better-paying job; went back to school to get a better-paying job; had a baby and didn’t come back from maternity leave.
Melissa joined the Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps. I didn’t even know that was an option anymore. I figured the Peace Corps was done away with during the Reagan administration.
Apparently it’s an arduous process getting accepted into the Peace Corps. It took quite a while. I’ll never forget the day Mel got the word she had been accepted. It was lunchtime when the call came. The call was followed by an ear-splitting scream and Melissa jumping up and down and running through the building.
Melissa really likes the Peace Corps.
She’s on her way to Costa Rica today. On her last day at work I gave her four bags of Tootsie Rolls (I figure they’ll be hard to come by there) and we agreed to get together before she left the country. We didn’t. Life.
Many times the people you befriend at work disappear once they leave work. At least that’s been my experience. Mel will be gone at least 2 years and I can’t imagine her spending any free time back home (if she gets any) looking up this old co-worker. Odds are low that I’ll be visiting Costa Rica.
¡Buena suerte, Melissa! Take good care of that copy of “Sandman.”