John Melançon's Life

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Good advice

I don't remember if Dad initiated the outing, or if he came along, but one of the shows he went to with the family was a trio doing Allen Sherman songs.

(Dad I think was less likely to go to plays and shows, though one thing he made a point to do was take all of us sons at various times to both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Pops.)

The group did amazing work with a piano where Allen Sherman had a small orchestra backing him up.

Half a brain

Usual assessment of my, others', and occasionally his own capabilities:

If you had half a brain, you'd be dangerous.

Obituary as published in MetroWest Daily News: John C. Melancon

NATICK - John C. Melancon, 78, of Natick, died Tuesday, May 29, 2007, at MetroWest Medical Center, Leonard Morse campus.

An orphan, Mr. Melancon made his own living, starting from a young age in New Orleans. He never went to school, let alone graduated from high school or college. A lifelong student of life by reading and direct experience, his intelligence and depth and breadth of historical knowledge surpassed that of any university education.

Remembrances

Dad was a great bartender and manager, and proud of it, from bartending in the Boston area or San Francisco to managing the intentional community's wooden toy and educational play equipment factory or the Weston Golf Club.

He was always sought after by women, and proud of that too, and the fact that he was largely educated by intelligent women.

The greatest family memories are mostly all camping. We did camping trips across the whole country. Nearby, he loved Bear Town State Forest.

Mom on camping in Arkansas

Mom tells of her and Dad going to a camping ground in Arkansas:

In Arkansas
Campground with 200 campsites, all of them empty

monster camper drove through the entire campground, parked opposite our site

cat that nearly strangled itself, on a leash, jumped out of

Seattle, Washington in late 1960s

First time I was in Seattle, late 60s

after the world's fair

Pacific Power, the electric company there
hired one of the top chefs in I think France
he went up
and said all the stoves had to be taken out
they were electric
and put in gas stoves

Seattle was humming back then
incredibly different city
involved with activists, social worker types

begging to help the poor, those in prison

they had a small group they had access to, all there was
lumber, Boeing

all had access, easy access
and lesser outfits too

Addiction

You don't want to waste the money on a pack of cigarettes. Believe me, I've been there.

And if you say there are s[mokers who can quit whenever, they're lying]

There are people who smoke one or two cigarettes a day their whole lives, but they never become addicts.

In the hospital Dad said he had never been interested in cigarettes. He was in a hospital waiting room, maybe for the first time, in his 20s or late teens, and cigarettes were handed out.

That's when he became addicted.

Earliest memory

My earliest memory is of something terrible coming

that the world was going to be worse and worse... that everyone would die

1928 – 2007

John C. Melançon, born circa 1928, lived a full life – of work, of solidarity, of travel, of love, of learning, but his death May 29 came too soon. He leaves his former wife Evelyn; three sons, Jakob Alfred, Benjamin Maurice, and Daniel Eugene; Daniel's wife Eva Marie, and two grandchildren by Eva and Daniel, Cassidy James and Xavier Elijah.

An orphan, John made his own living starting from a young age in New Orleans. He never went to school, let alone graduated high school or college. A lifelong student of life by reading and direct experience, his intelligence and depth and breadth of historical knowledge far surpassed that from any university education.

Before his marriage, John traveled and worked in other parts of the world, including Latin America, England, Europe, and Israel. With his wife and sons he traveled and camped through 47 of our 50 states.

He helped support his family as assistant manager of the Weston Golf Club, as owner of J&F Variety in downtown Natick, delivering pizza at Pizza Plus, and working receiving at Sears. Seriously physically compromised by emphysema in his last years, he kept a sharp eye on politics, and world affairs, and the Boston Celtics and Red Sox.

He considered the most meaningful part of his life, prior to his family, the time he spent in an intentional community in Georgia that supported the Southern civil rights movement as well as directly working with, and providing work for, the local poor white community.

A radical his entire life, he never accepted the inequality, racism, or unfairness of society, and never quite lost his belief in our ability to change the world.

Sometimes hidden, he had a deep and abiding love of humanity.

James of the New Testament as radical

the laborer with a too-low wage is being robbed by his employer
(paraphrased)
- James, according to Dad

Josephus mentions John the Baptist prominently, and Jesus and James were all followers
in all of Paul's, Augustine's, Luther's writings there is nothing about the poor.

Luther wanted James' stuff thrown out
(The John /book/ is not John the Baptist-- who was not a deciphel, they were followers of his)

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