Life attributed to the Melvilles | AspenTimes.com

Life attributed to the Melvilles

Dear Editor:In this year of the celebration of the jubilee wedding anniversary of Ralph and Marian Melville, I want to publicly thank them for my life. I owe them my life, and that’s a huge debt of gratitude.In my early twenties in 1961, I was aimlessly wandering my way around the world. I stopped in New York and worked a few weeks at the United Nations, and then decided I would like to ski bum for the remainder of that winter before continuing on my way to New Zealand. I sent out 60 letters to three different ski resorts, and in reply got a single affirmative reply. It turned out that one affirmative reply was all I needed to put my life on a wonderful track.”Come out at the end of January,” the Melvilles wrote. “You can share a room with our little girl, Julie, and our baby, Frank.”So I stashed my two steamer trunks in the hold of a Greyhound bus and traveled the three days overland to Aspen, a place hardly anyone had heard of then. Even though I arrived in the middle of ski season, I thought it a dusty little Midwestern town with nothing much going on. There was only one paved road at the time – the highway – and driving on the bus down Main Street, I wasn’t impressed. My reaction could also have had something to do with the fatigue of three days’ travel on a bus. But I quickly loved the mountains and the skiing, I immediately loved my hosts, the Melvilles, and I soon fell in love with Aspen, the place.Ralph and Marian and the two children became my family, and who could want a better family. They gave me my work – some very small jobs, as I remember, and in return I got room and board and $100 a week with which to ski. I thought that was a fortune – and it was in those days. The Melvilles became my mentors, laughing with me when I was happy, comforting me when I was sad. I brought all my friends to meet them, and the man I later married.My plan had been to continue on to New Zealand at the end of the winter, and from there travel to Lebanon, but who can leave Aspen at the end of winter without first experiencing summer? And, as they say, many of us came for the winter and stayed because of the wonderful summers.Aspen quickly became my home and I have lived here the better part of my life, with a marriage and the raising of two wonderful children.I love my life here – and I owe it all to the Melvilles. Thank you, thank you, Marian and Ralph, and thank you to the Mountain Chalet, the friendliest place to stay in town.Catherine GarlandAspen