Melissa Wheeler

Profile Updated: June 6, 2009
I Reside: Oakland, CA USA
My Homepage: www.nhi.edu
My Children: none
Occupation(s): teacher
Who I would like to see at the 50th Reunion:

Debbie Paddon
Lisa Johnston
Judd Williams
Freddie Ritzenberg
Lance Dublin
Monday (Jim Mundy)
Andy Pollack
Pete Scott
Cilla Scott
Bob Wheeler
Jenny Schmertz
Jody Leivick

Where I was born:

Tokyo, Japan

An Opening Statement:

I left Bethesda in the summer of 69 to pick up my younger brother, Charlie, in Maine (Outward Bound program). We were headed West to California. I was with my best friend from Hawaii (the redhead, Patty McLean) - we were headed back to Hawaii, her home state, to attend college. We had purchased a 1959 VW Bus. We took the back seats out and the guys built a bed in the back; I made curtains out of Indian bedspread material - oh so cool. I think gas was $.29 that summer.

We ended up at Judd William's dorm @ UC Berkeley and after frolicking in Northern California, Patty and I took off for school in Hawaii.

I dropped out and came back to California, (see a photo from that time in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco) eventually back to DC, then hitch-hiked all over the country & Mexico with my boyfriend TJ Yore around 1970-71, landing in Chapel Hill where he was in school. How did my parents survive?

Somewhere during that time, I connected with Lisa Johnston...although we'd never really been friends in school.

After that, I had the good fortune of living in Manhattan on my own, working at Harper & Row Publishing by day & a wild jazz club by night - it was located at the edge of Harlem, not far from my 5-story walkup on W. 89th bet CPW & Columbus (a fringy neighborhood then, but swanky now).

I don't think I slept very much during that time - but hey, I was young and didn't care - did some serious partying and serious growing up.

I moved back out to California in 1973 and have been here in the SF Bay Area ever since. I have finally - 18 years ago, found something wonderful to do with my life. After a traumatic breakup with long-time boyfriend/partner & feeling quite untethered & lost - I went back to school and became a Massage Therapist.

I've been going back to school ever since and have taught at the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville (just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, a couple of miles from Berkeley) for 17 years. (check out the website, see me under 'Instructors'. Or check out the Blog (I have some entries in Aug/Sept/Oct 08). Or to see me in action, there is a video under "Pressroom" of a TV spot I did)

It is a wonderful company and a great job - terrific, young, intelligent owners with vision. They have expanded our one campus to five and now the sixth on the horizon....and they've only owned the 30-year old school for 6 years. I am mostly out of the actual classroom now, but travel to the other campuses training teachers. It is exciting, fulfilling work.

I'm very involved in the community/industry of health and wellness and enjoy school more than I ever did in my younger years.

I am very close to a few of my 5 siblings - and I have structured a "family" of friends here in California that round out my life. After many years of being the only Wheeler Sibling that didn't own my own home - I finally managed to purchase my own tiny-but-darling condo in Oakland, 2 years ago.

High School was rather a blur or an annoying obligation to me. I do wish, as I look back, that I had been more involved. It is only because of my surrogate brother, Judd Williams, that I have attended 2 of the Whitman reunions - always having a wonderful time.

I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world, but there are still some places I would like to experience.

One of my most memorable trips was with my younger brother, Charlie. In my 50th year, we returned to Japan where we were born. I had not been there since I was 12. It was everything that I had dreamt of and more. It was one of those unforgetable "roots" trips. I've been to Europe, New Zealand (Taj Mahal concert in Aukland) and Australia - but this was the trip that really touched my soul.

With my younger sister, we kayaked around La Paz and Magdelana Bay in Mexico - remote and other-worldly. We celebrated her 50th Birthday with her husband Scott, close friends, Judd and our brother Charlie in the Napa Valley Wine country 3 years ago.

Mary (Nini) lives in Phoenix with her husband, Scott Ross and visits me often - we are as close as 2 sisters can be. She took a temporairy job in Manhattan a couple of years ago and lived in my old neighborhood - so I got to experience Manhattan several more times while she was there, this time around I was all grown up and it was terrific in a different way - and great to share it with Nini.

With my twin brother and his family, we've had some good times on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I am the only one in my family who continually goes back to Hawaii, retreats, reunions, weddings, workshops - for awhile there it was like a home away from home and I always feel connected to those islands when I visit.

Some of you knew my parents - especially Dad who was fascinated by our generation and genuinely interested in us.

He was a great listener and storyteller - he died early on of cancer - back in 1981.

My mother died only 6 years ago, she was in good health up until that time and really enjoyed her long life, traveling, volunteering and visiting her children and grand-children. She and I grew out of our differences and she became a close friend (but always Mom!!) - I guess I'll never really get over missing her.

Both of my brothers are in the DC area, but my sisters and I scattered all over the U.S.

Marital Status:

not married

My Email address:

twinmel@comcast.net

University/Degree:

never finished

Professional Achievement(s):

Massage Therapy Foundation - Education Committee (research and education)
Advisory Board - Books of Discovery (anatomy texts)
Business Owner - Private Massage Therapy practice (18 years)

My Biggest Disappointment(s):

none
okay, I sometimes wish that I had a college degree and the full college experience

Three words to describe myself in 1969?

detached

A Walt Whitman Story:

My family moved from Hawaii to Bethesda at the beginning of junior year. That was a very difficult transition for me. I had a "secret life" with my older sister's forbidden friends in Hawaii and never really connected to high school at all, my thoughts and my spirit were elsewhere.

We (my brothers and I) met Judd Williams right away and he became like a 3rd brother to me - he practically lived at our house.

Pals Freddie Ritzenberg, Lance Dublin and a handful of others ended up on the West Coast and we see each other at least once a year at one of Judd's many parties.

The 2 guys and I were at Judd's wedding out in California 20 years ago (my mother flew out for that one - what fun!) and I just saw them all at Judd's 58th birthday party Jan 17th. Lance encouraged me to check out the website and told me how great it was!

I'll post some photos of us (the 3 guys and me)

Freddie and Lance say we're all getting into a van and driving to the reunion, recreating our cross-country trips in the 60s - I say "NOT".

My Favorite Teacher(s):

Mr. Abell

What was my BEST moment at Whitman:

after graduation

What was my WORST moment at Whitman:

starting school and knowing no one - missing my life on the beach in Hawaii (and the loves I left behind)
awkward moments in the cafeteria

Family members who attended Whitman:

Robert Wheeler (twin brother) aka Bob or Prunes
Charlie Wheeler
Mary (Nini) Wheeler (married name is Ross -liviing in Phoenix)

My Interests:

hiking
continuing education
Human Anatomy
dining/food/cooking
Massage Therapy
yoga
great wine
spending time outdoors

My Weakness:

over scheduling myself and Spam Musubi (Hawaiian Style)

My Favorite Music:

James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Mark Cohen, Paul Simon,Nina Simone, Mark Knopfler - Sailing to Philadelphia w/JT;Jesse Winchester; Tim Hardin

My Favorite Food:

fresh

My Favorite Sports Teams:

not a sports fan

My Health:

Excellent (with required 58 year old aches and pains)

My Biggest Loser Numbers:

what does that mean?

My Giving:

Little Brothers - delivering food and visiting seniors/disabled during the holidays

My Bucket List:

trip to Alaska - the only State I have not visited
Another trip to Japan, in the Fall

How do I relax?

Hike, nap, meditate, write letters (yes, I have pen pals & we communicate via snail mail), movies, plays, reading, hanging out with friends. Stay at home and puttering around, listening to Pandora.com

What is your Biggest turn-on?

Great Food; connection with friends

What is your Biggest turn-off?

Fast Food

I was a Hippie:

Yes

Melissa's Latest Interactions

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Melissa Wheeler has a birthday today.
Feb
16
Feb 16, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Melissa Wheeler has a birthday today.
Feb 16, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Melissa Wheeler has a birthday today.
Feb 16, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Melissa Wheeler has a birthday today.
Feb 16, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Melissa Wheeler has a birthday today.
Feb 16, 2015 at 4:33 AM
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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Melissa, twin brother Bob Wheeler, and Jody L., with friends at Stinson Beach, CA. 1971??
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Lance Dublin and Melissa Wheeler. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA. Early 1980's.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Wheelers' front yard (first day of school?)- neighbor Cathy Park, Bob Wheeler, Judd Williams, Charlie Wheeler.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Cilla Scott, Melissa (with hat), Debbie Paddon, Bob "Prunes" Wheeler, Pete Scott.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Melissa - 6600 Millwood Road - Parents' front yard. 1970's.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Freddie, Judd, and Melissa. Vineyard picnic. 2000's.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Melissa - Visiting home. 1979.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Nini (Mary, Melissa's younger sister, class of 1973) and Melissa. San Francisco, 1980.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Early reunion at Golden Gate Park.
Front Row: Lisa J, Melissa, Monday.
Back Row: Scott Jones, Judd, Bob, Patti (from Hawaii), Freddie R.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Melissa - hippy girl outside of Chapel Hill. 1971?