Rutherford B. Hayes was the original hipster, teens and politics, and a cautionary Vampire tale

2016 has been, to say the least, an eye opening, and educational year for the young people in my life. Both of the kids (young adults) have been volunteering for various campaigns. We even went to a Bernie Sanders rally because I wanted them and their friends to experience some history.

I’m proud of all the young people I know who are getting involved with their communities, and in causes they believe in. They are taking control of their futures NOW rather than waiting until they feel like there is nothing they can do. My kids and their friends are seriously thinking about what the future holds for them, be it a future of fifty years, or two hundred and fifty.

In October of 1876 I turned seventeen, the same age my daughter is now. And why yes, there was an election that year as well.

Rutherford B. Hayes was running against Samuel J. Tilden. I’ll give you a paragraph from Wikipedia:

In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes’s election and Hayes ended all U.S. military involvement in Southern politics.

People tended to like his wife Lucy. Here they are on their wedding day. Hayes was pretty handsome in the 1850’s and quite the catch.

Rutheford and Lucy on their wedding day. It is true that brides did not always wear white (so get over it)

Rutheford and his lovely wife Lucy on their wedding day. It is true that brides did not always wear white (so get over it)

Later Hayes became a hipster and started a trend that would inspire young men in now, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, and San Francisco Bay Area.

Hipster Hayes in the 1860's

Hipster Hayes in the 1860’s

I kind of miss the long frock coats on men. Unless one was exceptionally short the coats looked good. Hayes continued that look in his presidency.

The Official President Hayes

The Official President Hayes

Unfortunately things never change when it comes to bigotry and ignorance. There is always at least one group that politicians and their minions want us to fear.

800px-the_only_one_barred_out_cph-3b48680

Like my own child said, “There always multiple targeted groups.” I thought by the time I was 156 (almost 157) that it wouldn’t be an issue anymore. And THAT my friends is why Vampires don’t come out in the open and let everyone know that we really exist. It would be a blood bath – no pun intended.

Despite that I see hope in our young people. I see more hope in them than in any group I’ve ever witnessed.

And if the election isn’t already scary enough, Halloween is almost here. I don’t know what is is with cold weather and politics that bring out the weirdness in people.

In 1876 my brothers, friends, and I were almost adults, or young adults. We were also pretty clueless when it came to a lot of things. I guess most young people are clueless, but looking back we did a lot of things I would NEVER want my children to do. We saw a lot of things I’d never want my kids to see. I don’t care if they’re Vampires, they don’t need to get into the kind of trouble we got into.

I hate to say this, but we used to do things that would get them killed now days.

On October 16, 1876 my brother Val (aged 18), my friend Isabella (age 16) and I (almost 17) decided to go out on a night stroll and find some fresh blood. It wasn’t unusual but this night we decided to go to the home of an up and coming young man with political aspirations. His name was John.

John, age twenty-eight, having become quite successful and wealthy, lived in a large elegant home with his wife Louisa. John and Louisa had been a good match, but theirs was a marriage that made more business sense than romantic sense. She was what we’d call a social climber. She was also mean-spirited, spiteful and kind of a bully, but she loved her place by John’s side. John considered her a good partner but the lack of love in the relationship and lack of kindness on Louisa’s part wore on his soul. Alright I’ll say it. She was a bitch. This fact kept young Vampires out of their house more than anything else.

At the time we went to “visit” John, while his wife was visiting her brother in Benicia (60 miles away.)

It was easy to get into John’s house. The servants had gone home for the evening. Louisia’s personal staff was given a holiday while she was gone. So John would be alone.

But he wasn’t alone. As we quietly entered his bedroom, as quiet as only Vampires can be, we noticed that he wasn’t alone. Beside him in the bed was a singularly beautiful young woman, wearing nothing but a diamond bracelet around her left wrist. I recognized her. Her name was  Maria. She was a local actress with the voice of an angel, but a reputation of a sad.

As Val put his hand over John’s eyes to keep him asleep, Isabella approached Maria.

“Look at her perfect neck,” said Isabella bending over the sleeping beauty.

I went around to take a closer look. “Don’t bite her. The woman is dead.”

Isabella smiled a HUGE smile. “We can turn her then. We need to make her into a Vampire. I’ve never done it before.”

I pulled Isabella away. “No. She is already cold,” I said.

“Her soul is already gone Isabella. If we do anything with her now we will create a monster,” said Val.

Isabella put out her lip in a big pout. I was so done with her. I turned to the nightstand next to the bed and found a crystal goblet and a note.

Please forgive me John. I can no longer live with the guilt and shame of our passion. I love you forever. Maria.

Poison. She’d poisoned herself and then slept beside her lover.

“I smell death, but it is not Maria,” said Val. We followed the scent down to the large formal dining room. Hanging by the neck from the large chandelier was Louisa. Her suitcase was by the door, her coat on the floor, and her hat was on the table.

On the table was another note, scratched in the wood.

Burn in Hell John along with your whore.

We left John to wake to this horror alone. Needless to say this ended any chances of a political career for him.

A few weeks later Isabella was able to turn someone into a Vampire. This was at a high cost because she also lost her own life over it.

Val and I went on to have more misadventures, but eventually became responsible adults. I’m glad we had the wherewithal to leave Maria alone in death. We never told our parents or anyone else about what we saw that night. Sure we kept going out and finding blood (because we’re Vampires) but we used more caution after that night.

So as I think back at all of the stupid things we did when we were young, I know that my experiences have made me a better parent. How? I learned from my mistakes. I tried to always teach my kids that there are consequences to their actions – consequences that will live long into the future is the actions are seriously wrong or foolish.

John also made foolish choices in who he married and who he kept in his bed. Follow your heart, but not if it leads you into the fire.

Right now I feel like the consequences of my children’s current actions will be a better world for all of us. They can make a difference. They are getting involved. They are thinking of the world outside of their own schools or friend groups. They are looking at the big picture. They are forming their own futures.

And as for John… he moved to New York City and married the daughter of a millionaire, and named his first daughter Maria. His wife never knew his past except that he was a widower from a respectable family.

I still have a photo of Maria that I took out of John’s coat pocket that night. She looks on with bright eyes, and hopes of love, and the folly of youth.

Have a good week everyone. Happy almost Halloween. And remember to listen to your kids. Encourage them to get involved. Let them know that they are loved (even if you don’t agree with their politics.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

4 thoughts on “Rutherford B. Hayes was the original hipster, teens and politics, and a cautionary Vampire tale

  1. “Val put his hand over John’s eyes to keep him asleep.” That’s an impressive trick — never heard of that one before. It’s sad about Maria and Louisa; I’ve endured a tragic ‘Louisa’ story in my past as well.

  2. On that note, I think I finally came up with a worthy “Ask a Vampire Thursday” question for you.

    As a woman from the mid 1800s, you can completely understand the historic male violation of Bodily Integrity, but as a Vampire who occasionally feeds upon human beings in complete secrecy to protect yourself from destruction, how do you reconcile that violation? Do you feel justified merely for being what you are — that, perhaps, some even deserve it — or do you harbor guilt that in some ways you are no better than those who take choice away from others (aka “You’ll get over it; it’s not like it killed you.”) I have my own opinions on this, but it seems relevant in our current political climate to ask for yours.

Comments are closed.