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.

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

Today I accidentally cut the tip of my finger off, and therefore am having a difficult time writing, I am sharing, with love, one of my favorite holiday-time memories.

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

What if… questions of history and an alternate reality

Oscar Wilde

I have always adored Oscar Wilde.

What if history had turned out differently? We’ve all thought or read about it. Some of us have even written about it. The more common “what if” questions are: What if the South had won? or What if Germany had won WW2? or What if Kennedy or Lincoln hadn’t been shot?

I was recently thinking about the tragic end of Oscar Wilde, and that got me thinking about a lot of things.

What if Oscar Wilde had stayed in California and never gone back to England after his tour? Would he have lived a happy life and died happy surrounded by friends?

What if cats never did funny things?

What if slavery had been abolished during the Revolutionary War?

What if women had been given the vote in 1787 when the American Constitution was written?

What if Frida Kahlo had never been in the bus accident?

What if Leonardo Di Vinci had been born a woman?

What if Philip K. Dick had decided to go into politics instead of writing?

What if dogs had never been domesticated?

What is Disney never made any princess movies? What if Walt Disney had made erotic Westerns or graphic Horror films?

What if Sylvia Plath had lived and divorced her husband and found happiness?

What if Errol Flynn had been cast as Dracula in the 1931 film?

What if a large group of Bigfoots had rescued the Donner Party in 1846?

What if Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan had never been lost?

What if humans didn’t have finger prints?

What if Vampires were accepted into society?

What if Galahad had found North America on his search for the Holy Grail?

What if people weren’t stupid?

 

250492_10153451321092269_6362879269358183633_n

What if? I don’t know. But I did name my cat after Oscar Wilde and he is extremely happy. I also have a beautiful sweet German Shepard named Alice but that isn’t her in the meme above.

What do you wonder about? Let me know. Also feel free to use any of these questions as writing prompts. I’d love to see what you come up with.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray

This is Oscar. I love this cat so much. He was named after Oscar Wilde. He is gray like Dorian Gray but unlike Mr. Gray, he doesn’t have a weird painting in the attic, at least not last time I checked.