John Melançon's Life

On being turned down for a job because of the community work in Georgia

spoken 2001 January 7, Sunday

never afraid to acknowledge what I don’t know
ask anyone if they know how to do something, even a six year old child
as long as what needs to be done gets done, it doesn’t have to have my fingerprints on it
leader - knowing what you do not know
running a business for the community down south
at a very young age
it didn’t seem like much at the time, but looking back on it it was pretty amazing
taking people of all different backgrounds
making it work together

four years

applied for a job afterward

Macedonia Cooperative Community's first wooden toy shipment

Macedonia Cooperative Community in Georgia

Dad on: racism; women and youth in civil rights; nonviolence and boxing

John C. Melançon

Was a member of the NAACP. Thought it was too conservative then.

In the South, most of the racist had a few blacks they new that if you included them they would say “Now wait, they are different.”

Person (minister) he worked with worked in the city slums and as he learned all of these people came from some little spot in the country he thought - we’re in the wrong place. Opened some thing with greek name.

Says it is women who did hardest work in civil rights movement.

Work: Technical writing; being a manager

Recorded 2000 January 9, from John Melançon, paraphrased:

“While I was trying to eat in New York City, some friends suggested technical writing. I don’t know if I’d’ve been able to do it. They knew I was fairly intelligent but they didn’t know of my lack of education. I didn’t spread that around; quite the opposite, I gave the impression I had been to college."

[And in a different context:]

"I’m such a good manager because I have no ego. It’s true. Anyone could give advice, and I would listen to them."

[He knew that "I have no ego" was a laugh line!]

The problem has been addressed

Here's a story Dad told a couple times that it doesn't seem I have written down.

Working at, managing, the Community Playthings workshop for the Macedonia Cooperative Community – the intentional community in Georgia, he would call it.

Dad described how they made very good quality wooden educational toys. In particular he talked about wooden stove and refrigerator type sets.

Reading to us kids

I keep being amazed by what stories I haven't recorded-- such as dad reading to all of us from, read more often if not necessarily for a total longer amount of time, than Lord of the Rings:

My Name is Aram

And often repeating, when reasonable in daily conversation, the patriarch's line:

"It is of no importance now! Haven't we all lost our homeland?!"

The Papers

Yarzheit candle still burns, 42 hours now. (And Mom had tried to light it for Opa's and couldn't get it to stay lit at all!)

It's crazy to think back to his sort of non-answer, which I thought nothing of at the time, when asked if he had that submission anywhere. Of course he didn't have it anymore. He walked out to get cigarettes and never came back.

Now I hold it, I think, and a lot more of his writing, in my hands

The Saturday Evening POST, The Curtis Publishing Co. Philadelphia 5, Pa.
For Mr. John Melancon, 37 TenBroeck Street, Albany, New York.

if every act were important enough

Also from Heidi, this is written longhand (in Dad's sometimes hard to decipher cursive) on Macedonia Cooperative Community / Clarkesville, Ga. / Makers of / Community Playthings letterhead (the intentional community where Dad helped manage the wooden toy and kitchen set shop).

I love you with / the words

Poetry by my father, sent by his first wife and daughter. Typed on paper with a Southeastern Cooperative League, Clarksville, Ga. letterhead (and footer reading Affiliated with Cooperative League of USA).

I love you with
the words, the
silence makes,
and for the dream
your searching
eyes imply.
I love you while
my unsure path
requires a deeper
knowledge
A greater love.

Pictures of John and John with Heidi

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