“Melanie! Breakfast is ready. Better hurry or you’ll be late for school!” Evelyn Coe yelled up to her daughter from the bottom of the stairs.
“Frank, I don’t know what’s gotten into Melanie lately” Evelyn complained to her husband. “I can’t keep up with her mood swings.”
“Remember when she was dating that loser Jeffrey and we insisted she end the relationship?” Frank asked. “I wonder where he is and what he’s up to. You don’t think she’s still seeing him, do you?”
“Last I heard he was selling used cars. Melanie said something about him working at that lot on Matthew Street near the Cavern Club, I think. I hope she didn’t go behind our backs and continue seeing him. She wouldn’t do that to us, Frank, would she?”
“Stubborn girl!” bellowed Frank. “Don’t forget how she fought us about going to public school with the ‘cool kids’ instead of attending Rigby Academy! She has never wanted for a single thing her entire life. She takes everything for granted. She’ll be going to college in a couple of months. Hopefully she’ll get her head on straight.”
“You’re right, Frank” Evelyn agreed. “But now she’s talking about taking a break before college to ‘find herself’. I can easily find her; she’s upstairs sleeping!”
Evelyn marched to the stairs and called out: “Melanie! You better be down here in two minutes or I’m coming up!”
“There’s no way in hell Melanie is taking time off to go gallivanting around God knows where!” Frank threatened. “Tonight we’re going to have a serious conversation. She’s had a very privileged life and if she thinks she’s going to take advantage of our generosity, she better think again!”
“I’m going upstairs and dragging her out of bed.” Evelyn thumped up the stairs to Melanie’s room but moments later came running into the kitchen clutching her handkerchief, tears in her eyes.
“Frank! Melanie wasn’t in her room. I found this letter. She’s gone! Our baby’s gone!” Evelyn wailed.
“What do you mean ‘gone’? Let me see that” and Frank snatched the piece of paper from Evelyn’s hands. He read out loud:
“Mother and Father.
I’ve run away with Jeffrey. I want my freedom.
I’ve lived under your thumbs long enough and
for the first time in my life I’m doing what makes me happy,
not what you want me to do.
Please don’t come after me or try to find me.
Running out of the house, Frank yelled for Evelyn to call the police. When he returned he breathlessly informed his wife that Melanie’s car was gone.
The police arrived soon after; Detective McKenzie asked the usual questions: Did the Coes think Melanie was forced to write the note? Did she leave against her will? Were any of her things missing?
Tearfully Evelyn answered the detective’s questions. “Her suitcase and some of her clothes are gone. She wasn’t forced to leave. She left us for Jeffrey. She did this to hurt us!”
“I’m sorry, folks, but unfortunately we have to wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report. My hands are tied” Detective McKenzie replied sympathetically.
“God knows where they are by now!” Frank exclaimed.
“I can’t believe she would leave us!” Evelyn lamented. “She has everything here; a nice home, lots of clothes and her own car. Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? How could she do this to me?”
“We never thought for ourselves. We worked hard all our lives to get by. What did we do that was wrong?” Frank cried in desperation and frustration.
Hundreds of miles away Melanie and Jeffrey were speeding down the highway heading for a new life.
“Any regrets leaving home like that?” Jeffrey asked.
“None!” Melanie replied without hesitation. “I’m finally having fun and that’s the one thing money can’t buy!”
She snuggled close to him and they sped away without looking back.
NAR © 2023
AUTHOR’S NOTE: In 1966 Paul McCartney read a newspaper story in the Daily Mirror about a girl named Melanie Coe which inspired him to write the song “She’s Leaving Home”. Although most of the content in the song was embellished, McCartney said that a great deal of the story about Coe, who was 17-years-old at the time, was accurate. She left with her boyfriend in the afternoon while her parents were at work. In my story, the names of Melanie’s parents, Frank and Evelyn Coe, as well as her boyfriend Jeffrey, are fictitious. Coe was found ten days later having previously mentioned where her boyfriend worked; she was pregnant and her mother took her for an abortion. An update on Coe appeared in The Guardian in December 2008 and she was interviewed about the song on the BBC program The One Show on November 24, 2010. In May 2017 Rolling Stone magazine carried an interview with Coe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.