2019 Summer Reading: Transport Yourself to Another Time

Today, on my Monday Book/Reading feature I present three books that are quite different, but three books that will transport you into another time or place.

Reveries of a Bachelor

by I.K. Marvel
1850

I’ve carried my curious little volume around for years, with now yellow and brittle pages, treasuring it as a nice little book that takes one back to 1850, in the time of the Industrial Revolution and the California Gold Rush.

This summer I’ll be reading it again after many many many years.

Reveries of a Bachelor examines the dream-like lives Americans were living at the time. It was one of the top best sellers of its time but has received little attention from 19th century literary critics. In the text, Ik Marvel theorizes on boyhood, country life style, marriage, travel, and dreaming.

It was one of poet Emily Dickinson’s favorite books.

It is now quaint, and dated, but there are still hard truths of the heart and soul that we can all find in this volume of essays.

If you like social history, or write historic history from the mid-19th Century this book contains a wealth of sentimental information.

Reveries of a Bachelor is no longer in print. You might be able to find a copy online, on eBay, or maybe at your local used bookstore. Some people are asking over $100 for a copy but I know you can find one on eBay for under $10.

This sweet, and sometimes silly book will transport you to another time. Fix a tall drink and spend an hour or two with it under a shade tree or on your back porch with your cat or dog at your feet.

ik

Author I. K. Marvel

Artful Players
Artistic Life in Early San Francisco

by Brigitta Hjalmarson

51MV3YZMYGL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_

I love this book so much.

From the book jacket: With a handful of wealthy Gold Rush barons as indulgent patrons, an active community of artist appeared in San Francisco almost overnight. A subculture of artistic brilliance and social experimentation was the result in essence, a decades-long revelry which finally ended with the 1906 earthquake. 

Unfortunately when most people think about art from 1849 – 1906 they think of French, or Italian, or German art. Or they think of artist in the Eastern United States. But the real story, the personalities, the talent, and the fun was in California, specifically San Francisco down to Monterey, and even in Sacramento.

This book is non-fiction but it is a well written story and oh so fun to read. You’ll be transported in time with the adventures of Jules Travrnier, Thomas Hill, William Keith, Julian Rix, Grace Hudson, Theodore Wore, Oscar Wilde, and others. It was a time and place where both men and women could break out of the normal constraints and be the artists they wanted to be. Yes, there was drama, and the guys still didn’t want the girls to play in their club house, but it was an amazing time. It is a time and place you won’t want to leave. So pack your tuxedo, your camping gear, and your paint brushes and join the fun in Artful Players.

I read this book in January but I know I’ll be reading it again soon, just to savor it and get in the details once more.

Note: This book is available on Amazon for about $30. You can get a nice copy for a lot less on eBay or other online non-Amazon book sellers. Also check with your local used bookstores.

Chronicles of The One Trilogy

Book 1 Year One

Book 2 Of Blood and Bone

By Nora Roberts

I have book one and two of this Nora Roberts trilogy. Book 3 comes out later this year. I have to admit that I’m a fan of Nora Roberts trilogies. This post appocolyptic series includes magic, romance, and no doubt some nice twists and turns. I haven’t read either books yet. These are on my summer reading list. I will no doubt read them with tall cool drinks on my back deck undisturbed by two or four legged visitors.

I absolutely LOVE the J.D. Robb “In Death” series, and am of course waiting for the next book to come out.

 

35781671_10214101033498980_1333595866623115264_n

I will never shame anyone about what they read (if you want me to I can give you my shameful awful reading list of books I violently dislike.) I like to read just about anything. My goal is to give you some fun and interesting suggestions, and share books I’ve enjoyed, found curious, or think I’m going to enjoy.

So until next Monday – have fun and happy reading.

And you know, you can always read my blog anytime you want. With over 2,000 posts it is guaranteed to keep you entertained.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

summerreading

 

History

“I was tired of Rome. When the first opportunity came up to go to Britain I took it. It was sometime around 78 or 79 AD. My timeline is a little fuzzy on that. I had no idea where I was going or that I’d meet the love of my life and some of the best friends I’ve ever had there. There was nobody like me in Rome. I was alone. I’d always been alone as long as I could remember, since I was a small child. I’d met other Vampires, but they weren’t like me. They were distant and fearful, living in the shadows. I was almost a demigod. Imagine that, and here I am, an old man, living on a farm by a river in California.”

Tellias didn’t look like an old man. He looked about nineteen or maybe twenty. Today Tellias was wearing yellow flip flops, black tuxedo pants, an orange and brown work shirt with the name Lloyd embroidered above the pocket, and his 1966 Rolex Submariner. His white blonde hair was tucked behind his ear.

We were in my brother Aaron’s office,  a restored Italianate mansion built in the 1870’s. Aaron has a law practice. Today his cohort and friend (if you could call it that) Austin Durant was there. Austin Durant is a history professor but he also restores old building. He is also a Vampire Hunter. This is where it can get complicated.

Durant works with Aaron to rid the world of Shadow Creepers, the Vampires who have no souls, and/or no redeeming value to society. They’re the ones who can’t control themselves, cause problems, or just fill out walls and craw spaces with their dried out crusty nasty barely animated corpses. Sometimes I begrudgingly help them out.

I know, I’ve been distracted… I’d stopped by with Eleora and Tellias, the ancient Vampires that I keep an eye on. My great great great great Grandmaman Lola was also along.

Austin was enchanted by the stories. When I first met Austin he tended to be a little tense being the only non-Vampire in the house, but by now he knew we wouldn’t harm him. Why would we?

I went to the kitchen to make tea, and check my email. Eventually Austin met me in their. I poured him a cup and we chatted a bit while we watched the storm outside.

“When I think of all of the history you and your family has experienced, it is just mind boggling,” said Austin.

“We have seen a lot. Sometimes too much.”

Lola came in and got a glass of water. She flirted a bit with Austin then moved on. Nobody would pick her out as a Vampire with her wavy brown hair, jeans and a sweater. Sometimes she walked with a slight limp, but otherwise she looked your average twenty five year old woman.

After she’d left Austin asked (in almost a whisper), “How old is she?”

“Lola is six hundred and seventy five years old. She was born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer. Same day too. When is your birthday Austin?”

“July 5.”

“You have the same birthday as P.T. Barnum. It seems fitting doesn’t it. You’re a historian and a Vampire Hunter. That makes you sort of a purveyor of freaks and important facts nobody wants to understand.”

“How…”

“You have the same birthday as my daughter. She was born July 5th, 1999.”

“Is she, your daughter a Vampire? Your kids are Vampires like Aaron’s kids aren’t they?”

“Of course they are.  By the way, I have the same birthday as Weird Al but I’m exactly a hundred years older than he is.”

“You were around during the California Gold Rush.”

“Right after the Gold Rush. My husband Teddy was born on the Panama Peninsula when his parents were on their way to California in 1849. They were among the first. My brother Max was born in Sacramento a few weeks after Teddy’s parents and my parents arrived. Aaron was born in 1854. I came along in 1859. Our other brothers Andy and Val were also born in the 1850’s. 1851 and 1858. We were a big family of little Vampires. I suppose we were around during the tail end of the Gold Rush, kind of sort of. I vaguely remember adults talking about the war, you know the Civil War. My big memories are more about the city growing up around us, floods, fires, the art museum, and the railroad. The rail road was big. Oh, and I remember then the State Capitol building went up. That was glorious fun. We had roller skates too, for indoors. The streets weren’t good enough for street skates.”

“You skated?”

“Yes, we skated.”

“I know all of this, or most of what you’re telling me, but when I hear it from you…when I hear it from you, it’s like…I don’t know. It’s extraordinary. The things you’ve seen…”

“Austin, don’t have too much adoration for us. You have your own extraordinary talents and experiences.”

Dear Eleora blasted into the room, twirling her red circle skirt, and singing something that sounded like a long lost Motown song. She kissed my cheek, then kissed Austin on the cheek.

“Would you like some tea sweetie?” I asked her.

“Not right now, but when you’re done with yours come back and join us, and bring Mr. Austin with you.” Then she fluttered out of the room.

“She is the wife of Tellias, right?”

“Yes she is. I’m not sure if they ever were formally married but they’ve been together since he arrived in Britain from Rome.”

“How old are they?”

“Over two thousand years, but nobody knows for sure. We believe she is older, but we don’t ask.”

“They look like teenagers.”

“They act like old people. They are old people.”

We finished our tea and got back to the others. I took all of my elders home. Aaron and Austin got to work on some restoration and nasty ghoul extraction they’d been working on.

One day I might sit down with Austin and tell him all of my tales of bygone days. Then again, I think he just might get depressed when he finds out that nobody ever learns from their mistakes. Nobody listens to reason, or cautionary tales, or cares about anything in the past or in the future. Then again, I might be wrong.

It doesn’t matter how old someone is, or how young, but how they see the world. It is how they choose to see the world.

I tell my kids that. My now legally adult children. They seem so young, because they are. And of course, they keep me young as well – all 159 years of me.

Stay young. Share stories. Live well. Learn from your mistakes, and from your success, and from each other.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

A Day of Sorrow. Thoughts of Paris, and Thoughts of the Titanic

Each year I post about the Titanic. April 14, 2012 is the day I started writing the blog Vampire Maman. It is also the same day the Titanic hit an iceberg and started to sink – April 14, 1912.

Today is April 15, 2019 and we are all witness to another great tragedy. Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is burning. As with the Titanic, it is one of those events we can hardly believe. Maybe even more so with Notre Dame. The first thing I thought of was the beautiful glass windows, and how long they and the building that housed them had survived. It is a tragedy that I have no words for. My heart goes out to the people of France.

SONY DSC

Below is my past post about what would have happened if the Titanic had not sank, and landed on April 16, 2012. What if it had docked? Would we have remembered it at all? 

 

titanic

This morning my eldest brother Max gave my son Garrett his Patek Philippe & Cie Gold Chronometro Gondolo Pocket Watch. The watch isn’t working, even though it is a magnificent time piece. The time had stopped at 2:48. That was when the icy waters of the Atlantic finally got to the inside pocket of Max’s jacket after the Titanic sank. There were seven Vampires on the ship. They all survived in the water like death, but not dead. Five women and two men. They stayed together, but it isn’t a story Max likes to tell. Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. Max told him that they could have the watch fixed. In the box was also the jacket Max had worn. Even after all of these years it is a story that fascinates us, and horrifies us. There is nothing like mismanagement and bad communication, and inflated egos to make something go so wrong.

 

April 16, 2012 would have been the 100st anniversary of the docking of the Titanic in New York City, if the Titanic had docked.

I have in my possession a curious bit of history. This one is real. Not fiction. It gave me the chills to read this and copy it for this post.

In a scrap book is a press release that would have gone out if the Titanic had landed safely in New York.

Rather than throwing it out an executive employee of the White Star line put it in his scrap book. And that is where it still is. And here it is…copied exactly word for word from the White Star Line.

______________________

To be released for Publication after arrival of ship, April 16th.

The latest Ocean Marvel White Star’s “Titanic”

Largest Vessel in the World Arrives in New York.

THE ACEM OF LUXURY AND COMFORT – SOME STRIKING INNOVATIONS.

The largest steamer in the world arrived in New York today (April 16) from Southampton and Cherbourg and Plymouth. Larger even than the giantess “OLYMPIC” the new White Star Line leviathan “TITANIC” began her maiden trip under the most auspicious circumstances.

Many wonderful innovations have been made part of this newest of transatlantic wonders. The “TITANIC’S” 66,000 tons of displacement and 46,328 tons gross register are not her sole claim to distinction as the most elaborate handiwork of shipwrights. The “TITANIC” is the first steamer to be built with private promenades in connection with some of her splendid suites. Heretofore the floating apartment hotels, but fall to the “TITANIC” to provide the transatlantic traveler with an actual private residence, even to the exclusive promenade deck without encroachment upon the hundreds of first-cabin voyagers.

The “TITANIC”, like its sister ship, the “OLYMPIC”, possesses the great length of 882 feet, 6 inches, and a beam of 92 feet, 6 inches. Over the boat deck, the “TITANIC’S” beam spans 94 feet even, from rail to rail.

Four great funnels rise 81 ½ feet above the uppermost deck with a total distance of 175 feet from the top of the funnels to the keel.

Fifteen watertight bulkheads divide the great vessel, making her unsinkable even though half of her compartments should be filled with water. Eleven steel decks add to the “TITANIC’S” staunchness while an ideal of the vast promenading space may best be had when it is noted that the main promenade deck alone has an unbroken sweep of 190 yards on either side of the ship.

A Parisian Café and Palm Room are but some of the features of this remarkable vessel which will now enter regularly in the Plymouth-Cherbourg-Southampton-New York service with the “OLYMPIC.”

Besides the main dining salon, which has seating capacity for nearly 600 passengers, there is an a la carte restaurant, French service, which seats 200 passengers. The restaurant features will be especially appreciated by those who do not have the desire to be held to regular hours for dining, for night suppers, dinner parties, etc.

The size of the staterooms is also one of the remarkable features of the new giantess “TITANIC.” Varying from 8 feet to 9 feet, 6 inches in height, they are all roomy. Some of the 2-berth cabins are 17 x 10 feet, 6 inches in size. There are no 4-berth rooms, and a great number of single-berth rooms, 8 ½ by 10 ½ feet, have been provided.

A great swimming pool, squash racket course, gymnasium and the Turkish baths are all closely together on the lower deck, from which elevators carry the passengers to the various upper decks.

As in her sister ship, the “OLYMPIC,” passengers on the “TITANIC” will descent the grand staircase to the main reception room, which, in turn, leads into the great dining salon, from which it is separated by glass. Stretching the full width of the vessel amidships, the main dining salon is light and cheerful, and at night, with its myriads of electric lights, it presents a veritable fairyland.

Describing the gathering of the voyages in the reception room, awaiting the dinner hour, a writer has aptly remarked:

“Upon a dark, richly colored carpet, which will further emphasize the delicacy and refinement of the paneling and act as a foil to the light dresses of the ladies, this company will assemble – the apotheosis surely, of ocean-going luxury and comfort. What more appropriate setting than this dignified Jacobean room, redolent of the time when the Pilgrim Fathers set forth from Plymouth on their rude bark to brave the perils of the deep!”

There screws, propelled by turbine and reciprocating engines, furnished the motive power of the great “TITANIC.” Leaving Southampton and calling at Cherbourg and Plymouth for continental passengers on Wednesdays, she is expected to reach New York on the following Tuesday evening. The two ships will maintain an ocean ferry with regularity of other ferries across a river, for their immense tonnage displacement makes them practically impervious to the elements, no matter how adverse these may be.

The “TITANIC” and the “OLYMPIC,” as instruments of commerce, represent the highest skill and perfection yet reached in naval architecture; and in the struggle for supremacy they will easily hold the place of honor and the historic names that have been given them.

 

_________________

It makes you think. It also makes me feel kind of cold as if the icy waters are calling out with voices of the ghosts of those who did not survive.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Innocenzio D’Antonio

First posted April 2, 2013

aw026

Innocenzio D’Antonio

Innocenzio D’Antonio came to Sacramento in the 1850’s with a troupe of actors to make his fortune. He’d started as an opera singer in his native Italy and unfortunately did not make it into the famous opera houses in Europe, fell in love with an Austrian actress and ended up with her talking him into joining an American theater company touring California during the Gold Rush.

Innocenzio D’Antonio had the voice of an avenging angel, rich and strong. He could certainly sing the corset off of any woman but he was pure of heart and a true and honest lover to his dear Austrian maid. Well at least until she left him high and dry in San Francisco, leaving him for a dashing gambler.

Upon reaching Sacramento Innocenzio D’Antonio noticed a young man singing one night at a party held by a well-known business man. It was odd to him that a child so young should be up so late into the night. But that was put aside when he heard the child’s beautiful voice. The voice was precious beyond compare. It was the voice of heaven and the angels above. It was the voice of all that was good and pure in the world. It brought Innocenzio D’Antonio to tears. And yet, there was something strong and dark about the voice. There was something about the voice that brought the opera singer both to tears and made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

A well dressed man stood next to Innocenzio D’Antonio and said “I noticed you were moved by the sound of the my son Andrew’s singing. Amazing considering he is only nine years old. However, my child could use formal music lessons from a master, such as you. If you’re interested I will pay you well. I have four other children as well. The eldest three could all benefit from your talents Mr. D’Antonio.”

The next evening Innocenzio (as we shall now call him by his first name only) showed up at the elegant home of the child Andrew. He was met warmly by the father and met the rest of the family. The oldest boy was 10-year-old Maxwell, followed by 9-year-old Andrew, then 7-year-old Aaron, then 16-month-old Valentine and the infant Juliette. Their mother was a vision of beauty and all that was good and pure. Such elegance in movement in style he had rarely encountered in his lifetime.

Over the next few months he came to look forward to music lessons for the three eldest boys. Maxwell and Aaron had uncommonly beautiful voice, but it was young Andrew who had the voice of an angel sent straight from heaven. Innocenzio thought of how many churches, even those in Rome would give anything to have this voice in their stables of singers. He thought of the great opera houses in Europe that would be mobbed with patrons trying to hear Andrew sing.

Before meeting this most wonderful family Innocenzio had suffered deep waves of melancholia. He’d blame it on heart-break, disappointment or even being cursed, but now, every time he left the home of Andrew’s family, Innocenzio felt as if he were the most content and happy man alive.

After a time the father announced that they would have a party and invite all of their closest friends. Andrew would sing at midnight. Innocenzio thought that was too late for such a young child but the parents brushed it off with a gentle smile. It was difficult for Innocenzio to disagree.

The night of the party was filled with excitement. The large mansion was filled with the most elegant people he’d ever seen. Some he’d met before while out in the evenings around the city and some were stranger. But they all had a certain quiet about them and calm that he had never seen anywhere else, not even in a church or monestary.

The mother, the beautiful mother who still took his breath away when he saw her, asked him to sing. Innocenzio was feeling happy and light so he sang the drinking song from the fairly new opera La Traviata and to his delight the group joined in. They all had good voices. Afterwards they gathered around Innocenzio and congratulated him on his success and welcomed him into their society.

While he was delighted and honored there was a certain sense of unease about him. Innocenzio had a sense that something was about to happen, as if he was a lamb facing the hungry jaws of a lion. A strong sense of fear started to creep into his soul. He was confused and ashamed. After all, he was in the home of people who had become dear friends, a second family almost.

The mother, pulled him aside and put her arm in his. “My dear Innocenzio, my love, do not fear. I know what is in your heart and soul. You know us so you sense that we are different. We are different you know. We’re very different from you.”

Her eyes were the color of a fantasy seascape, her lips perfect, her chestnut hair was loose around her shoulders. He lost himself and took her into his arms and kissed her. His head went light. She stepped back and smiled. It was as if he’d lost his entire heart and more so his soul to her.

“I could take your soul if I wished, but dear Innocenzio, I must tell you a story of my life and of my people.” Then she sat him down and told him the most fantastic and horrific tale he’d ever heard in his life. He was both seduced and repulsed. His senses were confused, his emotions out of control, his body yearning for everything she had to offer.

—————————————————-

2013

Sometimes being a mom is everything, but sometimes I like to have my time with my friends.  I heard the knock on my door and standing there was my dear friend  back from a trip to Europe.

“Juliette” he said with his gorgeous voice, “you are still more beautiful than Venus herself”.

“And you’re still full of crap Innocenzio D’Antonio ” I said with a smile.

“Never,” he said taking my hands and kissing my cheek.

We don’t keep many friends so long, but when we do it is worth it. Every time I see my mother I want to thank her for talking Innocenzio into being one of us.

As Vampires we don’t bring just anyone into our world, but when we do it is magic.

On the other hand, anytime a true friendship forms, even if nobody changes, it is magic and a true joy.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who felt like posting this today just because it is April 2, and a time to consider how lucky I am to have so many treasured friends.)

Winding River – A Mystery

 

While going through a pile of old artwork I found this large format photo. It is about 16 x 18 inches and printed on heavy paper. It was printed in the 19th – early 20th Century. I don’t know who the photographer was, or who printed the photo. It is an original photograph.

s-l1600

About a month ago I saw a photo of a painting of the exact same scene. The photo was from the late 19th Century. The scene is in the Rocky Mountains, maybe in Colorado. I don’t remember the what/where/who of that painting.

I’m putting the following questions out to my readers, and art/photo/Western historians. I don’t know the answers to these questions so any help would be WONDERFUL and I’d be grateful to you forever:

Who was the photographer?

Was this the Winding River and are the mountains in the background the Rockies?

Who painted this scene?

What is the painting and where is it located? Is it in a museum?

If you know any of the answers let me know. Yes, this is a mystery. Let’s solve it together.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Brothers in Arms

When I read this I was touched by the power of the words and the subject matter. This is from my friend Rob Fletcher, a talented Welsh writer and photographer. Thank you Rob for allowing me to share your words.

Brothers in Small Arms

Born of metallurgy and chemistry I was:
Stamped, checked, moved, spilled and counted with millions of brothers in a grim piranha factory.
Automated, made, bought and sold with a quiet conscience of lethal exchange.

Destiny discovered fate and decreed my instant made
birth which heralds a coming death in a far distant country.
Cousins larger, nieces smaller…pieces put together quickly as
Productivity swears at innocence.

Tumbling shiny into green coffin boxes…
Stacked, steady, stable…waiting weds anticipation.
Sold in white and black markets and traded silently for a single drilled duty.
My sole mission to expend death.

Packaged and sent on a demon journey I’m:
Trucked, planed, boated and trained because my demand outstrips its supply.
I’m really wanted, loved and caressed.

Jungle appetites, African friendly
I arrive clinking and jangling…jostling my brothers for my
awaiting providence
My liaison with short life.

Strong black fingers pick me up admiringly…
I’m embraced, turned over and fondly kissed
under a hot and brooding war sky!
I’m wished upon…and I shall fulfil this desire.

Gently, I’m click-pushed first into my temporary steel curved prison along with my immediate band of siblings above me.
Then we’re snapped into our final position.
Smoke, noise and murder prevail…we are turned safety left, lorded and loaded and aimed not aimlessly.
Suddenly, mechanical release action jerks us free!

My brothers fly orgasmic allies
barrel tearing
and I explode
by engaging rifling as I spin free velocity charged, prior sighted and trajectory traced.

I speed towards a soft sweat-sheened forehead as young feared eyes see my untimely arrival and realize my tidings
bring death out of its hiding place as I thwack flesh and snuff out misplaced
youth soldier dreams in a lost sorry battle.

Fallen teen-torn blood spills from a 7.62 millimetre hole.
My slim body sent care of Kalashnikov and
with impartial human target remembrance,
bullet boy expires with diamond-fixed glory.

© Rob Fletcher. All rights reserved.

Author’s Comments:
“Death and life were not
Till man made up the whole
Made lock, stock, and barrel
Out of his bitter soul.”

-WB Yeats.

“Son, the only thing that guns are good for is making holes in things.”

-Eric Fletcher.
1921-1989.