Story by Melody Mello –to visit her website, click here
(Photo: Melody with her dad, Melvin Mello)
Melvin Mello was my sunshine. What we had will never die. I am most proud to say that I had such a wonderful father that it was better short-lived than not at all. Mel lived to work hard and socialize. He was a doer. Since our time together was in short spurts I made sure it was quality by “squeezing out” every ounce of emotion he had. It evolved into a mutual exchange that enriched us both.
Things people may not have known about him are: he was more Liberal than he seemed, was fond of The Chinese and their cuisine, absolutely loved music, mostly Country and had a particular interest in lyrics, he sang, was an artist: his welding sculptures bore a striking resemblance to the Picasso pieces I viewed in Paris (he had no idea), he teared up whenever he worried about me and while watching Little House on the Prairie, loved nature, animals, family, and human beings with all his soul.
This man was not happy without physical labor involved in his life, which he had been intimate with growing up in the Central Valley and HMB.
Mel was born in Tracy, CA in 1930 to immigrant parents from The Azores, Portugal and Genoa, Italy. He was intensely proud of his heritage, using “the Old Country” in his references frequently. He was nicknamed, Tweetie by his brother who could not pronounce “little sweetie”. The name stuck as many people still refer to him as such.
He farmed linseed crops and dairy cattle. I was told he would fall asleep in school due to the early milking hours. He started dating my mother young, while residing in Pescadero/La Honda. He did well in Junior Rodeo so it is said. He was a horseman, a rodeo clown later in life, did not like to hunt or fish and was a horrible golfer!
A no-frills, down- to- earth; reap what you sew, eye for an eye kind of guy. He connected to his God and I saw that church was a special place for him, but he told me you don’t need to go there to be a Godly person, just be a good person. He was. He helped everyone. Even strangers. If he paid you a visit, you almost always were surprised with some lovely produce or plants.
Dad loved to tell long, detailed jokes, mostly with a racial overtone about Italians, but no one was spared. I was taught and he modeled total love and acceptance for everyone. No negative judgment at all. If anything, he admired many things about different cultures and communicated this often.
Melvin loved Half Moon Bay and would take the opportunity to tell everyone he met he was from there. He was a volunteer fireman before I was born. His profession was as an agricultural Inspector for San Mateo County. He was mayor of Half Moon Bay for several terms during the course of my life, started the Pumpkin Festival with others, a member of City Council, belonged to I.D.E.S., a President of the San Mateo County Fair Board, The Farm Day Luncheon, San Mateo County Visitor’s and Convention Bureau, and many other things I know I’m forgetting or never realized.
Vacations were not at the top of his list. He would rather stay local to work the land on his property in San Gregorio or drive one of his dune buggies.
One of his favorite stunts was to bring home a different strange vehicle every so often. Sometimes they were difficult to identify! I would be given a ride to my job at a fashion boutique as a teen in HMB by standing on a forklift he would drive at 20 MPH down Hwy 1. All the way people he knew would honk and he’d wave.
These are endearing memories I treasure. This is love. A time or two he picked me up in a semi. What a guy.
He took me to many political and social events that empowered me to come out of my shell; being the shy child I was and shaped me into the woman I am.
Mel admired many colleagues and politician friends and would describe their philosophies to me with a glow in his eyes. His eyes twinkled when he spoke of things that interested him and he’d have this big, open-mouthed grin. At other times he was in distant thought, most likely regrouping. I have his passion.
The last day with my dad was spent celebrating his life and career at his retirement dinner in Half Moon Bay. It was great. On the video we could say a few words and mine was that I hoped he’d know my future children. That did not come true, but I had a beautiful relationship with my father that I can pass on to them.
You cannot separate Melvin Mello and Half Moon Bay. The two are married.
[Melvin Mello passed away on August 29, 1991. He was 61.]
To visit Melody’s website, click here