Jenny Lind, The Feejee Mermaid and a Tale of Curious Young Vampires
We, my brothers and I, always thought it was a shame that P.T. Barnum never brought Jenny Lind to California. We would have also like to see the Feejee Mermaid. Of course I wasn’t around when they toured (about 7 or 8 years before I was born) but it would have been fun.
Our parents were puzzled by our fascination with spectacle and oddities. We were supposed to be blending into the background and shadows. We were supposed to be pillars of society.
Instead we had boxes of small skulls we’d collected. We had everything from bats to mice to bobcats to dogs. Max once brought home a skull of a Werewolf that was in mid-transition between human and wolf when it died. The jaw was elongated and the large canines stood out enough to make us squeal in delight the first time we saw it. My mother and father were horrified and took it away from us. I have no idea what they did with it. It was not fitting for proper young Vampires to have such things around.
On my 7th birthday (1866) my brothers (Maxwell, Andrew, Aaron and Valentine) put on a show for me.
My brother Andy has the voice of an angel and so they put him in one of our mother’s evening gowns and put flowers in his hair. He made a perfect Jenny. My brother Aaron fashioned a Feejee Mermaid for me out of a sturgeon tail and a mummified squirrel he’d found in the attic.
Again, our parents were not amused. Nonetheless they soon realized that they couldn’t stop the curiosity of their children so they went along with our obsessions with curious things. After all, we, being Vampires, were rather curious and frightening to the rest of the world (who had no idea that our lovely, proper family was made up of Vampires.)
This isn’t going to be one of those earth shattering posts that you’ll learn from. I was one of those kids who was drawn anything about ghosts, natural disasters, freaks, old bones, graveyards, dark churches, old attics, strange people who lurked in the shadows and anything I wasn’t supposed to be interested in. I learned to walk silently and listen at doors, windows and around corners. I knew things others did not. I learned about another world that most people never saw. It was a world of secrets and knowledge and strange things. It was a world of power because, yes, knowledge is power, especially to a curious child. And those curious children grow up to be curious adults. And a curious adult is a successful adult. Stay curious. So I guess there is a point to this story – stay curious.
Today is my birthday. I’ve had good and bad and dreadful birthdays. I’m not big on birthdays, at least not mine. The past few months have been so heinously stressful that, well, I’m sure you’ve seen it in the quality or lack of quality in my blog posts (at least those that I’ve written.) But today I woke up in a wonderful mood. I shouldn’t have been in a good mood, being a Vampire who keeps a daytime schedule, but I was and I am. I picked up flowers, had coffee, got a lot of work done, made deals, and found out that there will be a partial lunar eclipse today.
This year isn’t a milestone. It is just a day. But it is my day and I wish to share my good thoughts and good wishes with you.
So stay curious and remember that 23 is a prime number.
Oh also, my daughter shares a birthday with P.T. Barnum. How cool is that?
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman