Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Talkin' Tuesday - Meet Melinda from MelindaMilkshake!

1.  At 20 I left the state with a group of people I had met two weeks before.  I travelled the country selling magazine subscriptions door to door for one year.  We went all over the country living in hotel rooms and having interesting encounters with strangers.  It was a great learning experience in my life. 

2.  I come from Amish heritage.  My great grandmother was born Amish and became Mennonite when her mother died and she was sent to live with a new family.  My grandmother was raised Mennonite and left the church when she was 18.  She cut off all her hair and promptly became an airplane pilot.  She was one of the first women stunt pilots and airplane racers, she was also the first women helicopter pilot in Michigan and one of the first women to race cars.  She rocks!  She had three sons and taught them to fly at very young ages. My father had a reputation for flying upside down more than right side up and he had me steering planes and co-piloting starting at the age of 9.  They lived on a farm with a runway between the cornfields and the Cessnas stored in the barn.  Much of my family is still Mennonite and Amish, although I was raised "English". 

3.  I was a goth cheerleader, in fact I was captain of the cheerleading squad.  We did competitive cheer and I loved it! 

4.  I once travelled around the country for several months with a boyfriend living at campgrounds and out of a Bronco.  My favorite memory of that time is sitting on the beach in Bodega Bay at full tide watching the surfers swim out and picnicking on french bread and brie.   

5.  I spent one year working on an all natural animal farm.  It's a cooperative community that was started in the 70's as an experiment in behavioral psychology.  I wanted to get in touch with where my food came from and reassess if meat eating was the right thing for me.  It turns out that I'm not as squeamish as I thought!  I participated in butchering a chicken and castrating a goat and I still eat meat!  While working there I was trained in all that goes into raising and farming dairy goats.  I hadn't thought about goats at all before that experience, but I quickly fell in love with them!  I now plan to have some goats of my own one day. 

6.  I spent ten years studying art, literature, creative writing and photography.  At one time I wanted to be a writer and even spent some time writing editorials for the Kalamazoo Gazette. Eventually I decided to be an anthropologist.  I started my Etsy shop so that I could work part time while earning my degree.  Now I'm earning a degree in both psychology and anthropology and I want nothing more than to work for myself and continue to expand my business!  I can't wait to be finished with school so that I can work full time for myself!

7.  Last spring my fiance and I took a trip together to Spain and Morocco.  We spent a month away from home and he proposed to me on the balcony of the apartment we rented in Barcelona.  It was the most beautiful time!  We will be married this August 27th on Lake Michigan and I will wear a sage green dress with a skirt I designed from fabric dating to the 1800's.  

8.  I have taken two solo trips to Europe.  Once I hitchhiked to Berlin from Dresden and took a road trip to Italy from Germany.  My German friend and I neither spoke or read Italian, so driving was quite an adventure!  We saw Florence, Pisa and some amazing medieval towns in the northern mountains.  We waded in ice cold glacial lakes of green and blue and slept without a tent on top of a small mountain over looking a farm village.  We were also yelled at by police men toting machine guns and followed by groups of young men attracted by my friend's blonde hair and blue eyes.  Another time I traveled alone to France and Spain from Germany.  I spoke no French and no Spanish.  My ATM card neglected to work when I arrived and I had to travel without money seven hours away to find my American credit union on a military base in Heidelberg.  I then befriended a military man outside of the base and convinced him of the importance of me getting to the credit union.  He took me into an office where he questioned me about terrorism before escorting me to the credit union.  I was so relieved to get my money!   

9.  The first time I travelled to Germany alone I almost missed my flight due to security at the Kalamazoo airport.  After searching, questioning, and scanning my hands for explosive residue, they finally revealed that they had detected bomb residue on my backpack.  The backpack was from WWII and still had residue (I even washed it) ! After some deliberation they put a special note on my passport and sent me on my airplane.  I still have that backpack but I won't be taking it on anymore long trips!    

10.  I have been hostess to The Black Lips, King Khan, The Fatals and Jay Reatard.  (These are musicians).  I wasn't going to include this tidbit, but a Black Lips song came on the radio just as I thought of the memory!  Synchronicity.  The Black Lips, King Khan and I played dress up and had a photo shoot.  I love playing dress up!  The guys wore my black tutus, 1970's nightgowns and sparkly eyeshadow which I applied to their lids.  Entirely too much fun for one evening.  However, I don't recommend lending out your favorite black tutu and bottle of fake blood to fledgling rock stars, they'll surely forget you. ; )  If you're reading this post the black tutu via Priority Mail asap!

*******Last week's false fact about Stephanie from LaCocoRouge was this one: #5When I lived in Australia our school had a program called Extreme Adventures!  We traveled to Antarctica for a week to study penguins.  My favourite penguin was Louie because he liked to play fetch and a loose version of soccer which was really passing the ball back and forth.


  1. Ummm. WOW!!! You come from a lineage of amazing women. I adore the guts you've got Melinda. Fierce, independent, and ridiculously sweet! How fun to know you in this way! Thank you for sharing!

  2. What an awesome photo and exciting things you have done! I am so totally boring compared to you guys. Mine will have to be 9 facts I've made up and one truth! Ha, ha

  3. I REALLY want #3 to be true but I'm going to pick it as the false factoid!

    Fascinating stories - I'm so happy to know you better :)

  4. Woohoo! I was right on Stephanie's false fact!

    Okay, Melinda, you're being tricky. I know you were a cheerleader, but were you captain of the squad? If so, then you have put a lot of detail into your false fact! I'm going to say #1 is not true. Living out of hotel rooms while selling magazine subscriptions sounds pricey to me. Maybe living out of the back of a van while selling burritos at Phish shows (or whatever the goth equivalent of that might be ;-P)

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  6. ha ha ha! I am tricky! I'll give you guys a freebie... I really was captain of the cheerleading squad ! I'm going to post my "goth" cheerleading picture to prove it. ; )
    And just to clear it up... the goth thing was a brief fashion statement in high school. The picture above is from Halloween last year when I dressed as a sugar skull, it's not my everyday makeup... although that would be something.

  7. what? wait! i want to change my answer!! ;)

  8. What an amazing free-spirit you are Melinda, don't ever lose that quality!! I'm not even going to attempt a guess, I get them all wrong!

  9. You can change your answer! I think I did that when I guessed for you... and my first answer was actually right. Funny!

  10. Wow Melinda, amazing life and stories!! It's so fun to read about your experiences and to get to know you!! I have no idea which is the false fact.

  11. Wow, Melinda, you have an awesome life! I was going to guess and say #3 after reading this the first time, but now I see that I was wrong! I'm switching to #1.

  12. Melinda,
    No idea but I think #1 is not true. I love #3. I spent a weekend with a furniture maker who lives near an Amish community. He told me many interesting and funny English/Amish stories. His stories revolved around a family, Peter and his son, RePete.

    You have an interesting family and life!


  13. Jeeze oohhhh, this is a HARD one! I'm stumped, one adventure after another, you need to write a book! I wouldn't be able to come up with 3 fun facts about my life, these blow me away! The closest I've ever come to an airplane is when they fly extra low along the beach,lol I'm not even going to attempt a guess here my friend :)

  14. I can't believe I haven't seen this till now Melinda! I've been away from the computer for so long now. Just got back from an all natural farm where I was milking goats and taking care of 50+ animals. It's a lot of work, but they are the sweetest, smartest creatures ever!

    Ma'an, that's crazy about the WWII backpack (if in fact it isss true;)

    You've had quite an adventurous life, and I'll bet it gets even better :D

    I'm gonna take 2 shots in the dark here and guess that it's either the backpack fact, or the bit about the goth cheerleading. Something seems fishy about that one ;)

    OH! You're wedding sounds AMAZING!!! I can't wait to see pictures :D

  15. Oh, so maaaybe I should have read the other comments first! So, I see the cheerleading fact is true!

    And, that photo is from LAST year? You seriously look like your 9 years old! Can I please get a sip from that fountain of youth you've discovered? ;)

  16. WOW, where have I been? Clearly in another world as I didn't get to see this until now. I never in a million years would have guessed this, since so many are unbeliveable to me. What a fascinating life you've led Melinda!

  17. Wow! Melinda, I was fascinated reading through this list, and just saw the follow-up post that even your false fact is mostly true. I'm amazed!