A Special Kind of Magic – Parenting in the Pandemic – Empty Nest Version

When I started writing this blog in 2012 one of my kids was in high school, and the other was in middle school. This was more or less a middle school parenting blog. Then the rest of my family crept into it. The old folks, my brothers, and even my parents. Then friends started to slip in through the cracks. No matter what parenting was always at the core of it all.

On of my kids finished up graduate school at the beginning of the pandemic. Now in the middle of the pandemic my daughter sent in her graduate school applications today. I read some of the letters of recommendation from several esteemed professors and people in her field. I was blown over.

This is the child I took to Black Veil Brides concerts. This is the girl who shocked the horrible middle school PE Bitch teacher with her stylish outfits that DID NOT break the dress code rules. This is the kid who struggled with algebra and ended up taking a series of upper division statistics and economics classes at a top university and getting almost all A’s. Yes, this is the kid who never got below a B in college. This is the kid who inspired me to write about glitter, glue slugs, and Emo music, and growing pains.

These are the kids had tough conversations with about school shootings, and death, and losing, and caring, and unconditional love, and failure, and reputation, and about being an asshole.

My daughter hasn’t been in a classroom since last March. She’ll graduate and never meet most of her upper division professors or classmates in person. She has asked for and received letters of recommendation from professors, and a boss she has never met in person. She has impressed others with her presentations and discussion points but never in person.

Both of my young adults would love to live life in person. Wouldn’t we all. Sure we go to the post office, and the grocery store, but not to schools, or museums, or coffee houses with friends. I guess we could sit outside the coffee houses, sometimes, if there is seating and not too many people are there.

My dog misses the days we’d spend outside at the local coffee house. At our usual table I’d write or read. My giant do would stretch out over the walk way and thump her tail at anyone walking by. I’d have water and treats for her. I’d pretend she was as smart and well behaved as she looks.

Now Garrett, who is 24 is living in the Hollywood Hills, housesitting until the middle of next year, working from home, and working on starting his own business with his best buddy Randy. Neither one of them has a girlfriend right now which is weird but a nice break for Randy’s mom and me. We’ve seen a lot of broken hearts with our sons. I’ve found a lot of love letters in the laundry.

Clara and her boyfriend (both 21) will be getting their own place in January. They’re both seniors in college, but will never set foot in an undergraduate classroom as students again. Their roommates are getting weird. Everyone is getting weird. They’ll save money and time. It just makes sense. Yes, if you’d told me this would be what we’re talking about today in 2012 I would have said NO WAY.

I’m serious about parenting but I’m pretty chill too. It isn’t just a Vampire thing. It is a parenting thing. Seriously, you have to be chill. You have to listen. You have to change with the times as a parent. As parents we are leading the way and we can’t do it blindly using rules from the 1970’s.

My kids are stressed. I’m chill on the outside but going nuts inside.

Clara, her boyfriend of four years, and his orange kitten all came up this week. It was a surprise. It was a 450 mile drive. They’ll go back on Thursday and return before Christmas. They just needed a quiet safe place to finish their finals and graduate school applications. Their homes didn’t provide that right now. Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been a problem but right now it is. I just want them to be able to finish school without any additional stress.

Yesterday Clara and I went out. I had on a red jacket and a red mask with a cat print on it. She wore a black sweater with a black mask with a cat print on it. That wasn’t planned. We just do that – always dressing almost the same or in the same colors. It has been going on since before middle school. It just happens. It is a special kind of mother/daughter magic.

So yes, I write about Vampires, but it is really all about my kids and everyone else I love.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. Hug your dogs and cats. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And of course, if you get a chance, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My Own Vampire (A Christmas Story for 2020)

No amount of coffee could help Austin Durant out of his funk. Everyone knew Austin as a history professor and restorer of historic buildings. Only a few knew he was also a vampire hunter. 

A visit to his Grammy usually cheered him up. Grammy always knew what to say. He fixed her a plate of Christmas cookies he’d baked the day before and drove over to her house. He told her he’d be there in the morning with muffins, but he needed his sleep.

“Sorry I’m late Grammy,” said Austin. “I got a call last night about a job. I had to take it.”

“What kind of job? Teaching? Construction? Vampire hunting?”

“Vampire hunting. I hate doing this around the holidays Grammy, but it was bad. I couldn’t say no.”

“You look like crap. What happened?”

“Since the pandemic lock-downs in February there have been a lot of similar suicides. It is always some guy who lives alone. It is always someone who is depressed and hurting.”

“Go on,” said Grammy. “Tell me about this vampire.”

 “She finds them on dating aps.”

“What’s a dating ap?”

“It is a computer program, an application where people post photos and information so they can meet.”

“For sex?”

“Sure, usually, but not always. Anyway, she goes online…”

“On her computer?”

“Yes, on her computer. She finds guys who are lonely and alone. Then she goes to their house for what the victim thinks is going to be a hot night with a hot girl. A day, or week later, the guy is found in the bathtub with his wrists slit. It is clearly a suicide due to loneliness or whatever.”

“You want a beer?”

“Sure. Sometimes she stays and has sex with them then kills them. Other times she just kills them. The worst thing is… she goes on Facebook…”

“I have a Facebook account.”

“Right, she goes on their page pretending to be the guy right before she killed him and talks about being depressed and lonely. She talks about not wanting to spend Christmas alone. She pretends to be the guy she just killed. Then she fills up a cooler with his blood, puts him in the tub, and turns on the water so whoever finds him assumes all of his blood went down the drain.”

“She sounds like a creeper to me. Did you kill her?”

“Yeah, I did. I got in contact with her. I asked if she wanted to hook up and had her meet me in that house over on 37thI’m doing the restoration on.”

“What did she look like?”

“Gorgeous. She had on a tight red dress and a Santa hat no less. But there was no life in her eyes, and her skin had that sort of chalky dry look a lot of them get if they haven’t fed for a while. I told her I wasn’t looking for anything except sex. She was fine with it. I took her to a bedroom and killed her, for a second time.”

“How?”

“I held her down and cut out her heart. She didn’t have much blood in her so, you know, there wasn’t much of a mess.”

“So why are you looking like you lost your puppy? It isn’t like she had a soul.”

“I checked in her purse. Her name was Sandy. She was born in 1960. I looked her up. She disappeared in 1981. It was always assumed she was murdered considering the amount of blood found in her bedroom. December 13, 1981, she lost her life, and her soul. The thing I killed wasn’t her, but it carried around her wallet for thirty years.”

“I hope you hid the body.”

“She kind of dried up and looked like she’d been dead for, well, thirty years. I took her to a field and called the police with a burner phone. Forensics will show she has been dead since the day she vanished.”

“Her family will be sad, but relieved. Believe me, I’ve been through this more times than I want to think about.”

“Grammy, I don’t know why this one hit me so hard. It wasn’t like she was the kind of vampire we don’t kill.”

“Speak for yourself young man.”

“Ones with a soul. They’re not all ghouls without substance.”

“So they tell you.”

“So you’ve told me.”

“I’m not dissing on your cold blooded friends. I’ve got vampires of my own. I bet you didn’t know that. That’s right, you just think I’m a crusty old lone vampire hunter. Let me tell you a story. Bring me another beer too. Did I ever tell you how I met your Grandpa Joe?” 

“No, you did not.”

“Well, I’ll tell you now. It was December 23, almost Christmas Eve. I was driving down the road and almost hit a young woman walking along the edge. Holy crap balls, she was wearing a torn party dress with her coat over her shoulder, and tears in her eyes. She said her boyfriend had dumped her on the side of the road when she broke up with him. So I took her home. No big deal. 

The next night I was sitting in a bar. It was 1950 but it wasn’t all June Cleaver and all of that bull shit. Some of us had lives. I was twenty one and a free American so I thought I could do whatever I wanted to do. I was also one bad ass vampire hunter by then. God damn I could pick them out no matter how hard they tried to hide from me. There I was sitting at the bar chatting up a couple of nice young fellows, not really looking for trouble. You know Austin, even then I was hunting more than my share of vampires. Sometimes a girl just needs a night off. You know, cute blue collar guys. When this man comes in an sits next to me. I can feel the cold and believe me it wasn’t from the open door. 

Damn, if he wasn’t the best looking thing I’ve ever seen outside of a movie theater. He looks at me with big brown eyes, then those eyes start to turn dark. If I hadn’t been in a public place I would have either run or jumped his bones then killed him.”

“Granny!”

“Oh, come on Austin. I was young once. Don’t think you’re the only one who has rolled in the hay with vampires. Stop interrupting me. So, I asked him what he wants. His eyes turn a hazel green and I almost swoon, but then get my wits because that is what vampires do. They seduce like nothing else. Damn. I resist. He smiles. Then he thanks me for giving his daughter a ride home the night before. His daughter. Before then I didn’t even know vampires have children. 

Then he says, I know you’re alone this Christmas. You want people to think you’re tough. You’re a vampire hunter so your blood should be as cold as mine, figuratively speaking. You’re alone. Your man dumped you for a woman you considered a whore. Your family is all gone. You’re too proud to reach out to any of your fair weather drinking buddies.

Before I could tell him he didn’t know what he was talking about, even though everything he said was the truth, he handed me a card.

Thomas Kent
Poet

And there was an address. It was the same beautiful home I’d dropped his daughter off at the night before.

Come over later tonight, he said. 

What do you mean by Poet? I asked. I wasn’t nice about it either. Who the hell puts Poet on their business card?

He leaned in close to my ear and said, it means exactly that.

I nearly froze to the bone, but damn it he was attractive in a way I couldn’t explain. I was drawn to him, not in a romantic way, but in a warm way, like going to a Christmas party with Champagne and really good chocolates, and you’re wearing the perfect dress, and it looks damn good on you. I’d already killed nearly three dozen of the blood sucking ghouls in my short life, but this was different.

You’re different Thomas Kent, I said to him.

He smiled without a hint of fang. I have a soul, he said. In fact, I have two souls.

Austin squinted at his Grammy. “You didn’t know there were different kinds of vampires?”

“Not back then. Like that girl you saw last night. She was nothing but a shell. But Thomas Kent never lost his soul, but holy bat shit the man was still a vampire. I’d never encountered one of them before. By them I mean his kind.”

“Did you go to his house?”

“Of course I did. If you get an invitation from a vampire it isn’t always the best idea to turn it down. I would have killed them all if they’d shown any aggressions. Don’t look surprised grandson, I was the best there was back in the day.”

“I know you were Grammy.”

“I went to the house, which is in a beautiful part of town, you know where it is. I got up to the front door and looked at the card to see if I had the right address. It had been raining the night before and I just dropped the girl off. It was the damndest thing. As I stepped up to the front door the address vanished off of the card. Completely vanished. 

Some stiff man in a dark suit, I think he was the hired help butler kind of guy answered the door. I wanted to call him Count Orlok but held my tongue. Thomas Kent came up to me with his hands out and let me into the room. His daughter stood by the fireplace as beautiful as any living woman. The most wonderful Christmas Tree I had ever seen was there, decorated all in silver and gold. The place was beautiful, not the usually dusty creepy vampire lair I was used to. I would have lived there. 

Then Thomas takes me aside and says to me it would be so easy to turn you from vampire hunter to vampire tonight. I know you like what you see.

Then he smiled at me flashing a hint of fang. I was ready to pull out my dagger, when just like in some stupid movie, the doorbell rang, and the butler brought in a tall young man. He had that cute boyish look with dimples and light brown hair that was just a little too long. The guy wasn’t a vampire, that was clear. He put out his nice warm hand and introduced himself as Joe.”

Austin stopped her. “Grandpa? That was how you met Grandpa?”

“That was your Gramps. He had no idea vampires even existed. He had no idea there were people like me who roamed the streets at night keeping everyone safe from ghouls and shadows. 

Later that night, after wine and a lot of interesting stories, Thomas spoke to me in private. He thanked me for helping his daughter and told me he’d always have my back. He said I will be your vampire. If you help a vampire it will always be there for you.” 

Austin raised an eyebrow. “Did he? Was he always there for you?”

“I don’t know. I never saw him again after that night. I married your Gramps three month later. Damn I miss him. It has been ten years and it feels sometimes like he died yesterday.”

“I miss him too Grammy. I miss him every single day.”

“I gotta ask you Austin. Do you have your own vampire?”

“I think I have a few.”

“Good to know. Still if I were you I wouldn’t trust them too much.”

“I never put down my guard Grammy.”

“Good. You know what else?”

“What Grammy?”

“They have the prettiest Christmas trees.”

“Good to know Grammy. I’ll keep that in mind the next time a vampire invites me over at Christmas time.”

They had another beer and Austin took a nap on Grammy’s couch. Her old cat curled up by his side, keeping eye open, only as the cat of a vampire hunter will do.

On the way home that evening Austin thought about Sandy and how difficult it must have been for her family never knowing what happened to her. He smiled thinking of my own family, and of his own vampires. Like his family, they watch his back. And as their human he watched theirs. 

Instead of going home he stopped by his on and off girlfriend Elizabeth’s house. Grammy was right about the Christmas Trees. Elizabeth’s was spectacular covered with glass ornaments shaped like every sort of animal and sea creature on earth. 

Later as they cuddled on the couch watching LA LA Land for the 4th time he kissed her cold lips. 

“Will you be my vampire Elizabeth?”

“I’m already your vampire Austin.”

“Good to know. Love you baby.”

She nuzzled his neck, nipping him with her teeth. “Love you too. Merry Christmas.”

~ end

As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky

As Bright As A Star In An Ancient Sky

The voice on the phone whispered, “Are you coming over today?”

Why Tellias always whispers on the phone I will never know.

“I’m on my way,” I said. “I’m stuck in the never-ending construction, but I’m on my way.”

“Good,” he said in a papery thin voice. “I have a lot to tell you.” Then he hung up.

A 2054 year old Vampire can have a lot to say, so I picked up a case of Poet’s Blood at Dave’s Bottle Shop.

When I arrived at the Queen Ann style farmhouse Tellias and Eleora were waiting for me on the front porch. Tellias was wearing tuxedo pants, a slate blue work shirt with the name Jose stitched on the pocket, and yellow flip flops. His pale blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Elena was wearing white Go-Go boots, a red mini skirt, a black fake fur vest, and an orange and pink polyester double knit blouse with bell sleeves. She also had a Santa hat on her head, with masses of reddish brown curls falling down her back. They look like a couple of teenagers who’ve been shopping at the local vintage flea markets, but they’re ancient. They’re old people.

They both danced around me, giving me kisses and singing Christmas songs. On the door was a giant wreath covered with holly, red apples, and black spiders Eleora had made years ago from ribbons and pipe cleaners.

They took my hands and brought me into the house. We sat by the window with a view of the orchards draped in fog.

Eleora busied herself with making Christmas animals out of ribbons and pipe cleaners, while Tellias told me a curious tale I’d never heard before.

“Juliette, when I was young, you know I grew up without parents of my own. I’ve never been sure of where I was from. The Romans took me in. I grew up in a temple, treated like a magical demigod. I’ve been called the child of Jupiter, or Mercury, or Apollo. Usually Apollo. It doesn’t matter now. When I grew older I went along with the military because I could heal, and they didn’t think I could die, and I was a magical being, at least according to them. Life was good. Lap of luxury. 

I went to Britain and met Eleora, as she stood on the edge of a cliff dancing by herself and singing. But I had to go back. It was a difficult time. A difficult time for me. Interesting too.

That time, all I could think about was her. She wasn’t the first of my kind I’d met. The other Vampires weren’t like me. They were dark without joy.  Eleora was nothing but joy. I met other beings too. Not Roman gods, but others… demons, angels, werewolves, others. 

I had to go back to Rome. I’ve told you I saw the star. You know the one they call the Christmas star. I was traveling with my freeman Felix, and a couple of slaves. We couldn’t find a place to stay. I could have but I wanted to keep my people with me. 

There was a barn where there appeared to be a party. Inside were a couple of boys with their sheep. A young couple with a baby was huddled in a corner. Three rich guys in garish clothing were hanging out with their servants. All of the animals, from my horses, to camels, to dogs, and sheep. A few others were there as well. It was cold that night. In the 40’s I think. I greeted the others, and got a lot of stares. Here I was, pale and blonde, with a white and gold fur lined cape. Even my people were dressed better than anyone else.

We settled in next to the young couple. The child was only a day or two old. The girl, the mother, who was only fifteen, was ill. You see, it was a horrible time to be a woman, even more horrible than when you were a girl Juliette. She was full of fever and infection. I put my hand on her forehead and took the illness away from her. It took me an hour to recover. The rich party guys gave me wine thinking it might help. The girl smiled and thanked me, as did her teenage husband. 

I took off my cape and put it around her shoulders. From my packs I took other blankets and warm furs and gave them to the husband and baby, then gave some to the Shepard boys. 

It was like it had been so many times and would be so many times in the future. Help was needed and I needed to help. 

I heard a noise on the roof, then looked to the doorway where another person had just arrived. He was tall and muscular with a face almost as handsome as mine. I knew him. He’d checked in on me since I was a child, but not always as a friend.

“Why’d you help them?” He asked me that without so much as a greeting.

“I didn’t have parents and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about it,” I said. 

“You lived in luxury. You have everything you wanted.”

“I was a pet.”

“They think you’re a demigod,” he said with a laugh at the end of his words.

“I am not a demigod. I see this family, this tiny young family…” I suddenly didn’t want to talk about it. “Gabe, you can go away now. I’m done with you. You can’t tell me what to do or how to feel. You can’t take my soul because it is mine. You could kill me if you wanted to, but I know you won’t. 

I am not like them, but I am not like you. I am not like a demon. I am… I am of this place, of this Earth, and only now do I feel I am of someplace. I am in love, something so rare in this world. I see this young couple and their child, so in love. It isn’t arranged. It wasn’t make by someone else…”

“It was made by someone else Tellias,” said Gabe. “It was something beyond either one of us.”

“I don’t believe in the Roman Gods,” I said. 

“I’m aware of that. It wasn’t some guy who turns himself into a swan to get laid,” he said getting a little bit testy. 

“I don’t care Gabe.” I told him,  “The girl is going to live and raise her son with his father. They will grow old in their love. They will thrive in this stinking, horrible, loveless world.”

“We’ll see,” he said.

“Yes, we will. I have to get some food. Unlike you I’m not make of some sort of ethereal dust. I’ll be back here in an hour,” I told him. I half expected him to follow but he hung out on the roof of the barn making sure nobody would bother the occupants. Everything with Gabe is always vague. 

When I got back, my belly full of blood, and my arms full of food for the others, and I mean everyone who was there that night, Gabe was waiting for me.

“Tellias you know you aren’t like the others. You weren’t created by…”

“What molded from mud or dust, or out of a random body part like all of your bedtime stories? No Gabe, I’m of this Earth. Yes, THIS EARTH. I don’t fit into your mold because I’m not like them. I’m not like you either. I’m not an angel or a demon, or a warm blooded human. I don’t follow your rules. I’m not motivated by vengeance or power.”

“What are you motivated by Tellias?”

I didn’t answer him. Once inside I passed out the food. I held the tiny infant while his parents ate. 

“Fill the world with love and wisdom. Understand the value of peace and of life,” I whispered to him as he wrapped his tiny finger around my thumb. Then I whispered, “An angel is on the roof watching over you. I don’t know what that means, but don’t let him down. He’s a son of a bitch you don’t want to mess with. But on the other hand he’ll have your back. And kid, be good for your parents. You can’t even imagine how much they love you.”

Gabe put his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll watch over them now.” 

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” I told him.

The next day I left with my man Felix, and my two slaves. I gave a few coins to the shepherd boys, and gave my contact information with the rich guys who were keeping us laughing with their puns and trivia games. 

For the young couple with the baby I hugged them and told them that their child was special. I told them to keep tight, and to hold onto love, no matter what anyone told them. The World was a changing place and I told them their generation would be right in the center of it. I told you the same thing when you were young Juliette. I told it to your children. God knows, it is changing for your kids.”

Then he leaned back in the chair and rubbed his eyes, and said nothing for a while.

I kissed his cheek then helped Eleora hang the funny Christmas animals on the Christmas tree.

After a while Tellias came over and put his arms around Eleora and me. “Dear Juliette, will you be here for Christmas Eve? I invited Gabe.”

Eleora took my face in her hands and kissed my cheeks. “You all must come! Especially your wonderful children.” And she danced around the room humming a long lost Christmas song.

Wishing you all peace and love, no matter who or what you are. And in small ways of kindness and caring we can make the world, or at least our own small corners of the world, as bright as a star in the ancient sky.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Silver Webs and Silken Bats

Silver Webs and Silken Bats

Oh right, I do have a husband. I write about kids, my brothers, other Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, cats, short stories and all sorts of things. I don’t say much about my husband or marriage.

Today he is helping the Elders decorate for Christmas.

He found old netting of silver spider webs and long strings of red glass beads to add to the old fragile ornaments they put up every year.

Over the past few years they stopped decorating but Teddy (my husband) decided they needed a tree.

In the attic he found boxes of hand blown glass owls, small wooden elves from Germany, tiny little bats made of beaded black silk and a large hat box full of shining stars and crescent moons with smiling faces.

Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you need to stop celebrating.

“But who will see the tree?” The ancient Vampires looked confused.

“You will see it,” said Teddy. “I will see it. Your friends will stop by and see it. You need to pick up the phone and call your friends, both Vampires and humans. Call your old Werewolf friends too, I don’t care who you like. If they’re old let me know and I’ll give them a ride here and I’ll give them a ride home. I’ll make them egg nog. I’ll help you make it happen for everyone.”

Tellias and Eleora look young but they’re ancient. They’re older than Christmas, so sometimes they get confused or feel isolated. Sometimes they forget everything outside of their own house.

Teddy always hounds me to call my friends and people I know who might need a friend. We all know what it is like to spend a holiday alone or without cheer of others. Even a little tree or a wreath or a shining star on a string can make a difference. More than that a hug or a call.

Christmas time is about the promise of peace and hope and love. After 2021 years the human race still hasn’t gotten it right, but maybe one day. The smallest acts of kindness can move us closer in that direction.

Wishing you all a season of peace and fellowship.

And about that husband of mine…I’m glad I married him. I always will be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

“Why do I have eyes of different colors? The brown eye is my own. The blue eye is a different story. I plucked it from the freshly dead body of a young Irish nun. She’d killed herself because she had a vision that the child she was carrying, the child of the handsome young priest, was the Antichrist.”

“Why were you there Uncle Jeff?” A young voice in a hushed whisper asked.

“Because, my dear, I was the handsome young priest. That was before the life I live now. But I still see visions of angels and of a family in a warm embrace of love, then the fires of Hell with dancing devils and…”

“JEFF. STOP IT,” I yelled. “You’re going to give them nightmares.”

I know better than to ask my crazy brother to tell Christmas stories to my children and their young cousins.

“But, Simon, the stories are true,” my brother said as if he believed what he was saying.

“Kids, don’t listen to him. He’s blowing stories out of his…out of his ears.”

“Did I tell you about the time I met Santa Claus?”

“Jeff, no more storytelling.”

“It was the winter of 1969.”

“Jeff you were a toddler in 1969.”

“You have no idea how old I really am. Brother I have secrets that will make your head explode. Now children, the rest of the researchers on the Arctic research station had died of a mysterious illness. Then the giant polar two ton bears came. I’ll never forget the sound of them crunching on the bones of my friends.”

“Giant two ton polar bears?”

My brother and the children ignored me as he continued his tale. “I wouldn’t let them eat the dogs so we took off with the sled north, following the stars. Frozen and hungry, my body could take no more. Out of my blue eye I could see my angel Bernadette, the nun I’d loved. Her visions…”

“Jeff!”

“Then I heard bells. Not big bells like the Liberty Bell, but small happy bells. A lot of bells. I thought I was in a dream. My dogs huddled close. Then we saw them. The Zombies…”

I went to the kitchen for a beer. My wife and Jeff’s weird Goth girlfriend were talking about how to make the perfect prime rib.

Spotting my sister Libby out on the deck I went out to join her.

“It’s cold out.”

“Cold but not as weird as it is inside.”

“Do you think there is any truth to his stories.”

“I don’t know. He has memories of before we were found. All the records still say we were abandoned at the rest stop outside of Barstow. Nobody came forward to claim us. We’re related for sure, the DNA tests prove that, and we look like each other  but…”

My sister shrugged. “I did more research but didn’t find anything. Nothing. It is like we were dropped by aliens.”

“Or Santa Claus.” I said.

We were found on Christmas Day, three tiny children. Our dad was the highway patrolman who found us. Jeff was the oldest, then Libby and I was just a baby. The doctors figured Jeff was around three, Libby maybe two and I was a newborn. We were all wearing hand knitted Christmas sweaters and red Santa hats.

Our life was happy and normal with our new parents. They loved us unconditionally. They still do.

I never thought about who might have left us at the rest stop with typed notes saying “Merry Christmas. Please keep us together,” pinned on our sweaters.

Libby and I went back inside to catch the end of Jeff’s story.

“In the morning Santa and I sat on the beach listening to the crashing waves. I passed him the bottle of whiskey we were sharing and he put his hand on back and said “Good job son, good job.”

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Silent Nights – Don’t forgot those who are easily forgotten

Silent Nights – Don’t forgot those who are easily forgotten

I made it out to the farmhouse, just outside of town. The lights were off but I knew they were at home. Sometimes they forget to turn the lights on. Sometimes the heat.

The place smells of moth balls, dust and garbage that should have been taken out a week ago. The smell is bad but at least the house looks clean. There aren’t any signs of hording. No signs of anything.

I brought my kids and my brother Max. Max hates going over there but I drag him anyway telling him that it is the right thing to do.

They sit in a small den off of the kitchen watching an old movie – The Bishops Wife. They’ve seen it 100 times and sometimes they’ll watch the same movie every night for a week. They’re on the couch wrapped in a blanket. She has on a red sweater, the one I got her last month on a trip to Target. She was so excited to have something new. He has on a red satin vest and a green bow tie.
She has painted her nails with sparkling gold polish.

We go in and greet them. He was nodding off. She jumps up and covers us with hugs and kisses.

Has anyone else come by or called this week? I ask. They nod “No” then she speaks up in her child like voice. “Our neighbor brought us some Mandarin oranges off of his tree. Too many for us so make sure you take some home with you. He stayed for tea. I gave him on of my fruit cakes. He said it wouldn’t be Christmas without my fruit cake. We social distanced.”

Her neighbor now in his 60’s has been eating her fruit cake since he was a child. About 20 years ago he moved back into his old family home down the road. He knows about these two old Vampires, but keeps their secrets to himself. Her fruit cake is that good. But the neighbor is the only one who visited aside from us. He is a dear soul who brings their mail up to the house and checks in on them from time to time. They are luck to have him. So many elderly and folks who are alone don’t have a neighbor who cares enough to take a few minutes a week to check in – to care.

The kids took out the garbage. Max listened to the stories he’s heard a million times before and told them of his latest adventures. They listened with amazement and a little confusion, but sometimes added in some words of wisdom and humor that surprised my jaded brother. Our visit was a good thing. Sometimes it is frustrating for me, but I need to be there for the elders who were always there for me. I remember when we were all younger and wish I had those times back again.

Do me a favor, and in the next year reach out to someone who is alone. Bring the mail in for your elderly neighbor or make them cookies once a month or books. Watch a movie with someone who is shut in. Call and check in to an old friend. Offer to help and mean it. Even taking someone to the store, the grocery store or Target means a lot. Those simple acts and everyday things we take for granted are sometimes a BIG deal for someone who is alone. I know it isn’t always easy, but that unease will turn to comfort and joy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman