Melisa, AKA Mama Missy, burst into our lives like a rainbow out of the clouds on a storm-filled afternoon. Her vivacious energy was like a magnet. I think that I can safely say that Penny, Sheila, and I would not be the same without her.
After my parents moved me into my U-Hall freshman dorm room, with a tearful goodbye (my mom’s tears; not mine), I was free! No parents until Fall Break! Brilliant. So, of course, I had to call home everyday just to say “Hi.”
Every morning, it was the same routine. Wake up, call mom, live college life, sleep. Every morning, mom would ask, “So, did you get drunk last night?” Every morning (for the first few days, at least, I would say, “Nope. Not yet, mom.” Of course, that was before I was reacquainted with Penny.
After our decision to be drinking buddies, I took it upon myself to bring my old pal from high school (the sophomore) into the mix. I had met him and his cute roommate (who ended up becoming one of my very best friends, Mark) for lunch earlier in the week, and I knew that they could get us the “hook up” with the Bradley party scene.
So I instant messaged Joe, and asked what he was up to that evening. It was a Friday, after all, and the weekend had just begun. He invited Penny and I over (Penny would eventually become the secret crush of a bazillion of our friends without ever having a clue that they loved her) for an evening of drinking on Geisert 8. Yes. Geisert 8. That’s where I somehow became cool. Mark and Joe had a mini-fridge full of (OK, they had a six-pack of) Mike’s Hard Lemonade to share. After one drink Penny and I were giggly and smiley.
Just as we were running out of drink options, a quick knock-turned-open-door welcomed a loud and sassy blond with a sparkly shirt, a huge cup of something, and an even bigger back pack.
“Hello boys!” she cried in an adorably central Illinois “southern” accent. She zoned in on Penny and I and introduced herself. I’m Melisa, but everyone here calls me Missy. Who are you, ladies?”
Joe interjected and introduced us, “This is my friend Chrissy from high school and her friend Penny. They’re freshman.”
“Oh my God! How cute!” From anyone else, this might have seemed patronizing, but from Missy, it seemed genuine. I’m not sure what went through her brain but she took us on as a project. We would later find out that we were her second project of that first week of school. “What are you girls drinking?”
We giggled and spoke in unison, “Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”
“But it’s almost gone!” Penny confided in her.
“Oh goodness, don’t worry about that.” Missy whipped her backpack around propped it on the desk. She pulled out 2 strange bottles in addition to a bottle of Aristocrat vodka and a bottle of Diet 7Up. She explained the unknown bottles first, “This is Boone’s Farm. It’s fucking awesome. Here. Try it.” She popped open the first bottle,Fuzzy Naveland passed it to Penny then me.
“Damn! That’s delicious!” I told her.
“I know, right?!” Missy opened the other bottle, Strawberry Hill, which was equally as delicious. “Enjoy, ladies.” Missy sat down with us and started chatting, telling us her college life story, and asking for ours (well, about the first week anyways).
By the end of the night, Missy was showing us how to properly mix a cocktail by using your hands to twist the cup back and forth, just right. We had learned about Boone’s Farm, the oh-so-important bar bag, and why we should drink Diet 7Up with our vodka instead of regular 7Up (We don’t want the freshman 15 to become the freshman 45). Penny and I, giggly as we were, decided that Missy would be forever known as Mama Missy. We also thought that Joe needed a title since he was the one who brought us all together. Papa Joey, it was.
And so our little family was created.
Misty water-colored memories… Of the way we were…