Beyond Gab

Posted by Gabrielle Melchionda on

They thought they were getting burritos. 

Christmas growing up was always jam-packed with family, food, and friends.  We often traveled to visit our relatives in California, and usually that meant flying from Massachusetts to San Francisco on Christmas Day. For the cheap flights, of course.  That was back in the day when airlines tried to entertain passengers and I was always happy to play whatever game was happening. I remember one year, when I was about twelve, the flight attendants handed out cocktail napkins and challenged us with writing down the names of all of Santa’s reindeers and hitting the “call” button. Being a lyric-nerd from an early age, I rattled off the Rudolph song as I scribbled furiously and hit that button lickety split. When the TWA agent came barreling down the aisle with a big grin on her face, and a bottle of champagne in her hand, she was not exactly pleased to see me. (My mom gladly stepped in and accepted it.) 

My senior year in college, we flew out as usual but this time things were different. I had started making and selling Lip Lube around my college town and to health food stores Throughout New England. My entire family was excited about my adventure, and I wanted to do something fun and different for the group. T-shirts seemed like a good way to include everyone in the fun---so I had dozens printed and wrapped each one in tissue paper, closed with a small sticker.  I placed each one on the Christmas dinner plates when the table was set, before everyone arrived.  One by one, people walked by and asked about the curious wraps. 

“Are we having burritos?” 

“What’s with the sandwiches?” 

My aunt Barbara and I made sure everyone waited until all were sitting at the table, and we directed them to simultaneously unwrapped their bundle. They unrolled the cotton surprises and soon the room was filled laughter, size-swapping and a collective energy of joy and excitement about my new little venture.   
This picture captures a moment in time, of course. Many of those in the shot are no longer with us, for various reasons—some sad, some not.  What I always keep close to my heart is the feeling of love and support I got, Mad Gab’s got, that day and through many days, months and years, to this day.  

It is a luxury to be able to have a small business. There is not a day that goes by that I lose sight of this.  It is also a ton of work and requires endless amounts of support.  I have been blessed to have a family that has stood behind me, propped me up many, many times over the years, and a community of friends and colleagues who have made countless contributions to this crazy ride.  

A village is definitely critical to raising babies and growing businesses. I’m so thankful to have my village for the past thirty years…and counting! 

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  • Great story!! Can’t wait to read more from you. There’s nothing you can’t do. Much love ❤️ Danielle

    Danielle Rae on

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