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Ma Mei-ling


Summer 1972

I actually met Mei-ling Ma in my summer organic chemistry class.  She was in the lab, and we met in the hallway; she stopped and looked at me.  She smiled at me and said something like “Hi, how are you?”  I smiled back and that was all.  At that time I remember she was a Chinese girl of about my age or a little older, about five foot three, with long, straight black hair.  She was wearing jeans and a tight black top.  She had a wide belt with a big buckle that had a figure on it.  She was very well proportioned, with a narrow waist and full chest, and I liked her face a lot.  Her face looked kind of long and flat but it was beautiful.

I didn’t meet her again until the first meeting of the winter term advanced biochemistry class–cellular metabolism.  After the first class, she came up to me and we started talking.  We were together for the next four months, until I became angry at her over some slight.

The next time I saw her was in Los Angeles, in 1980, in February or March.  She called me on the phone after sending me a letter; I didn’t get the letter until after she had talked to me.   She said that she found my name in the LA region alumni book and wanted to look me up and see how I was doing.   She said she was married and had two children.  Her husband was a neurosurgeon who worked for Kaiser and she worked for Kaiser also.  I went up to her house and had dinner with her and met her husband and children.  They were beautiful people, and we really enjoyed that dinner together.

That was the last I saw of her.

Recently, my father sent me a pile of letters from his files that he wanted to pass on to me.  Mei ling’s name was mentioned in one of my letters: “1972 April 1.  Mei-ling is in Jamaica…”  That sparked my memory, and I looked for her on the Internet but didn’t find her.  There is a Mei-ling Schwartz who works for Kaiser as head of  a department there.  I sent her an email at the work address they gave but didn’t hear back.  It might or might not be her anyway.

That jog of memory lead to me thinking about writing a story about her or about the circumstances; that’s where “bicycle” came from.

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