“Don’t give up” has been the personal life slogan for Virginia Melitz. It’s particularly appropriate during this Woman’s Suffrage Month, which commemorates women’s right to vote.
A vibrant and most interesting person, Virginia has lived in various states in the United States – Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, and of course California.
While residing in Hawaii between 1958 and ’61, she and her first husband had their second child, a baby daughter, to keep their son company. Her daughter’s birth certificate certifies that Hawaii was a territory. It had not yet become a state.
In 1961 her divorce was final and Virginia returned to the mainland with her children to settle down with her parents in Connecticut. A friend from church set up a blind date for her with Peter Melitz. He asked her to go out for drinks. Virginia was somewhat hesitant because she had just completed going through a difficult divorce. But, she said yes, nevertheless. It was a very good decision. It started her on a new, wonderful life.
Virginia will never forget that first date with Peter. He showed up dressed to a T wearing a ski sweater, grey slacks and loafers. He asked where they could go to get a drink and to go dancing. Virginia suggested a local hotel. To assure he was dressed appropriately, Peter unzipped his sweater, took a sports jacket from the back seat of the car as well as a gardenia corsage for Virginia. This was the beginning of a wonderful life together. “A marvelous man walked into my life,” Virginia says. “Not a day goes by that I haven’t thanked God for him.”
In 1962 Virginia moved to Northern California with her children and parents. Soon she found a job as Retail Credit Manager for Stacy’s Medical and Professional bookstore in San Francisco. The store specialized in publications for doctors and lawyers. One day Melvin Belli came into the store. He was well known in San Francisco because of the large legal awards he gained for clients in personal injury cases. He was known in the bookstore also because he had built up a large credit account. Virginia didn’t recognize him by name but told him he had to pay his overdue bill in cash before he could do any more business in the store. The “King of Torts” laughed and paid off his bill.
Peter and Virginia, who had kept in touch through letters over the years, were married in 1965 in Encino. He was working for IBM as a Regional Manager of Manufacturing Marketing. Besides a new husband, Virginia also acquired Peter’s four children and thereby became the mother of six. Peter was the father of two sons, 12 and 11; and two daughters, eight and three.
Once the children grew up, Virginia attended CSUN and obtained her degree in 1977 in Speech Communication. Rather than working in speech, she served as an office nurse through 1980.
After living in the valley and Westlake Village for 55 years the Melitzes moved to University Village. Virginia now serves as chair of the Safety and Security Committee and works to get residents to slow down while driving on campus and to stop at the stop signs. Her work is dedicated to the safety of all.
By Carol Keochekian