The year my song was written, Kurt Cobain, Nicole Kidman, and Will Ferrell were born. Carl Sandburg, Otis Redding, and Jayne Mansfield passed away. And Gregg Allman wrote the song “Melissa.” 

It would later appear on the album Eat a Peach in 1972, after Duane’s death, as a tribute. And thirteen years before I was born. I like to think our souls high fived somewhere in the heavens. 

My mom and dad said they knew my name was my name right away. Although they considered other lesser names (for me, not in general), I am clearly a Melissa. And many times, I’m glad I wasn’t Mi’chele, as much as I love The Beatles. 

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that I was named after a song. It was a tribute to Duane, after he died in 1971 from a motorcycle accident.

Although my parents both ride, I have always been terrified of motorcycles. 

I started writing bad poetry and short stories as a kid. 

My bad stories were about my friends and our adventures with the band Hanson. Awful works of teenaged fiction. 

But is anyone surprised they were about a band?

My name also means “honeybee” and is of Greek origin. 

My heritage is Scots-Irish. I sunburn by looking out of a window. My hair isn’t red and I have blue jean eyes. 

Many people think the name of my song is “Sweet Melissa” but it isn’t. But the confusion is an interesting one, seeing as honeybees are directly responsible for sweetness. 

I’m not even sure I like honey.

I’ve had it but I don’t remember if I like it. 

I detest being called “sweet.” There are a thousand adjectives that I would prefer to be called. Kind. Generous. Intelligent (my favorite). Conscientious. Honest. 

The laundry list is long.

Maybe I’m making Duane Allman angry, and I hope not. After high giving souls snd turning me into a writer and an intense lover of song and sound, I hope he’s not mad that I don’t like the word “sweet.”

It’s infantilizhng. 

And Melissas are much more than a one syllable adjective. I definitely deserve more than the very adjective used to describe honey. 

Melissas have the power to bring a gypsy home and let wanderers love.

Gregg wrote “Melissa” and he used “sweet”, but you see, the title, the name, she wears is “Melissa.”

Beyoncé is treated like the queen bee, but we know that can’t be true. Her name isn’t Melissa.

Mine is.

And she might be older than I am but my song was written first.

I’m classic rock for a reason.

I wonder if that is why I love Cary Grant movies?

I think when I finally meet Duane, I’ll thank him for the song. As long as I can dance with Jimmy Stewart.

Not sweet.


That’s my favorite adjective. 

Melissas are not sweet. We are intricate like honeycombs. Powerful like honeybees. We can fly on the power of our dreams. And we have an allure that brings our gypsies home.



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