Originally from New Jersey, Melissa Grisi was living in San Francisco and working at Ameoba Records when she got into listening to alt-country.
She and her boyfriend - now husband, Ben - were digging the music and history of Gram Parsons. So, before moving back to the east coast in 2002, the pair decided to make a pilgrimage to Joshua Tree - to visit where Gram had partied with the Rolling Stones and would ultimately die, at the Joshua Tree Inn.
In this episode, Melissa describes what the area was like in 2002 - an undiscovered, gritty haven with an eclectic mix of artists, criminals, Marines and desert folk.
There was a fifteen year journey between Melissa's first trip to this desert in 2002 and making it home in 2015. During that time, there were numerous trips back, including their honeymoon in Wonder Valley. Purchases at the Sky Valley Swap Meet ended up in their Rhode Island backyard, creating their own desert oasis on the east coast and tiring their friends with their constant talk of Joshua Tree.
The idea of moving to the desert became a reality on one of those trips when Melissa found a classified ad for a social worker at the local hospital. Melissa eventually landed a therapist job aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine Air Ground Combat Center and she and Ben bought a home in Twentynine Palms over the internet, which Ben has renovated to make their desert home, including a pottery studio for Melissa.
Coming from a family who values being of service, Melissa just opened her own therapy practice in 29 Palms, Blue Sky Therapy, offering private therapy appointments, trauma informed yoga as well as training and consultation.
Check out Melissa's pottery on Instagram:
Melissa's work is also available at Soul Connection in Joshua Tree.