y Bixyl Shuftan
In August 2014, Wesley Regenbogen interviewed Hope Dreamscape (hope4ever43), one of two co-owners of a club that had recently held a cancer fundraiser
. A few months later, he did a followup
, of her owning a horse ranch. We last heard from her as Hope Driftwood teaching the reporter who interviewed her how to ride a horse
Recently, the Newser was contacted by her once more, asking for a followup on what's been happening to her. The most obvious change was she had started anew with a new account: MelainaGodness
, known as Melly Callidora. She requested to do her part of the interview in voice as typing a lot had gotten uncomfortable: her physical health had taken a turn for the worse in the past few years. At 51 years old, she had carpal tunnel, two herniated disks, metal screws in her neck that made it hard to turn her head, migraines, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and worst of all: Cancer. She explained it was uterine/cervical cancer, occurring where the two body parts meet, and also had lymphoma. She described herself as being in constant pain, and needed a cane to get around, or a wheelchair if it was for a long distance.
In Second Life, things were better. She had met up with a Benji Darkfury, and eventually the two were married inworld. Sadly, Benji would fall ill and pass away. Melly told me she had been building lighthouses wherever she lived in the virtual world since, so his spirit could "find his way home." She talked more about him, saying they met up in real life, him being from Connecticut and "I'm from New York." She told me one of his real-life family had gone inworld, and together they were able to help him have virtually what he couldn't in reality. "I took it very hard when he died," she told me, "I stopped playing Second Life for a time." It took her some time to return, but eventually she did. She had been transferred ownership of Benji's avatar.
"I have a forever son." Melly told me, "People say he's my favorite, but I have a lot of children." One, Oakan Callidora Corvinus (oakan.corvinus) or "Oakie" went to see her in real life, "It was the best experience I ever had." She also mentioned having an SL daughter, "I have a twin brother ... I have an older brother, Ren. But Niyethan is the twin. ... I have another brother, Joey." She also mentioned, "I have a real-life friend, Paul, who plays Second Life." She would later say he lived about 45 minutes away. I have a lot of brother's and sisters.
Melly called herself the leading lady of a Bloodlines clan, Clan Darkness Family , "I am the Matriarch, the Queen of the clan." Oakan was the head of it. She described her family's land as having a number of animals, notably horses. She showed me the castle, where family dinners were held sometimes. She showed me Darkfurry Hall, where there was a plaque in honor of Benji, "Benji is honored in every way we can." She would show me her manor. When not held at the castle, dinners were held here every Saturday night, either inside in the dining room or outside in the patio area.
She would show me the Callidora Ranch, where she raised horses. These were Amaretto horses, the oldest brand of breedable horses in Second Life. She would breed them, and sell some of the colts to raise some money, "just had two born." She would put those to be sold in a barrel, then taken to her daughter-in-law's store. She also raised something called Chimeras, and breedable cats known as Kitticats. She would also show me a group of breedable fairies. Melly would show me the family logo, an image of a vampire woman smelling (or perhaps about to taste) a rose.
She told me her real life had become a struggle, but her SL family had made all the difference. She had created the Callidora family in 2016, and she talked about how "amazing" it was that her inworld family has "been there for me." Due to her worsening health, she had to give up her real-life job of 20 years, being a teacher of handicaped students. Her inworld family provided plenty of support, "I don't like to have them take care of me. ... I had to learn to step aside and let Oakie take over." She stated she had a lot of SL children, "but I don't put up with drama."
Of her health, doctors were finding themselves with less and less options for what could be done long-term, "There is nothing more they can do for me." She had been told she has about a year left, maybe a little more, "Some days I don't get out of bed," saying there were times she was just in too much pain, "But I always try to do Saturday, and holidays." Her eyesight has become not that good. She had used to DJ in the past, but had to give it up. With her carpal tunnel getting worse, it was just becoming too difficult. She also told me she was starting to have memory troubles, in part due to her medications, and had to rely on her Alexa at times to remember things. She takes a total of 21 pills a day, plus uses an inhaler.
Despite the short time the doctors gave her, she wasn't truly going by what they were saying. All things considered, she felt, "I've been doing pretty good. ... If it's my time to go, it's my time to go." She mentioned she had a high white-cell blood count for years. She would go on to say her father had been a Vietnam veteran, who during his tour was exposed to Agent Orange, both by inhaling it and cutting his hands on barbed wire covered by it. She felt she was likely exposed to it was well through him, affecting her period and affecting her chances of having kids. She had been married three times in real life. She had one other family member who was having health problems, a niece who came down with polio, and stated she was just now was showing signs of cerebral palsy. Of her immediate family, a sister and four brothers, one of her brothers has passed on.
She once again described her SL family as being very supportive, more than her real-life one. She described a moment at one of her real-life brothers being surprised at how much medication she had to take, "Who does this?"
Melly had a Flickr account, and I asked about it. She told me most of the pictures had been taken by Joey (Chronisz). While there where other photographers in the family, she tries to promote Joey as much as she can.
Near the end of the interview, Paul would appear, in a furry anthro fox avatar. We chatted for a while. At one point, he amusingly spoke of Melly, "She used to have an infatuation with black olives." "Shut up Paul!" she responded, then chuckled.
Above everything else, despite her real-life difficulties, Melly was grateful for the support her SL family had given her, and was allowing her to live a life with happy moments, "I live my live and enjoy it the best I can."
Addition: Melly would later tell me I missed one detail, "My alt Riley Darkfury is Benji's wife."