Thursday, April 25, 2024

V is for Vampire Blood


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V

I am in the process of sorting through everything in my parents' home, and in so doing, I have been looking through all my childhood memorabilia, the majority of which I hadn't seen since my parents packed up my belongings and moved them from the home I grew up in to this house some 45 years ago. My 2024 A to Z Challenge theme is based on the treasures I have found in the boxes and the drawers and closets. Join me on my bittersweet journey back to my childhood.

The source of most of my dolls and toys and novelties growing up was my two great aunts, Edith (or Ecie as she was called) and Daisy. They pretty much raised my mom from the age of 7 when her parents moved from town to the family farm and where my mom would have had to attend a one-room school. Her older brother, my Uncle Bradley, was going to be living with their aunts in town in order to attend high school, and my mom threw such a fit that she was allowed to live there, too. These great aunts were like grandparents to me and my brother, as their brother, my grandfather, died when I was three weeks old, and my grandmother died when I was seven (she is the one I wrote about in R is for Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic). They thoroughly spoiled us and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

I don't remember the exact details surrounding the purchase of this fun novelty, but I do know that I had to have been the one to pick it out while on an outing with my great aunts, because they might have bought me a doll that they thought I would like when I wasn't with them, but I can assure you they never would have picked up this little gem without me begging for it:


I found the tube of Vampire Blood in a sack of odds and ends in my cedar chest. Oddly enough, it was empty, yet there was no sign of it leaking onto anything else in the bag. In its day, it was fairly realistic fake blood in a 4" tube. I can't find a lot of information on the internet about it, but as best I can tell, it was a Halloween novelty that came out in 1971, when I was in 6th grade. I probably saw it at the dime store and wanted it, and since I was spoiled rotten when it came to my great aunts, I got it. The only thing I remember using it for was when my Barbie family had a car accident in their Barbie case turned station wagon, and there were many serious injuries, including a broken leg for Skipper. 

I got a new friend in my life the year before when Abbie moved to our neighborhood and was in my class at school. Her family also attended our church, and we became fast friends. Abbie had a sense of style even as young as 5th grade, and she was the only person I knew who haunted the local Goodwill thrift store while in high school for clothing finds (she was ahead of her time on that one). Abbie's mom was a wonderful seamstress and made a lot of Abbie's clothes, and they were always so cool. 

Abbie and I spent the night at each other's house on many occasions, and Abbie always had fun ideas of things to do. She even taught me a game to play at church! During junior high, we would sit together near the front of the sanctuary and play Rat Fuck. Ever play that? Whoever started the game would very softly whisper "rat fuck." The other person had to say it a little louder, and it would continue until someone (me) chickened out. We usually did it during a hymn. We had matching bracelets that we bought at Bagnell Dam when we went on a youth group retreat in 9th grade. I wore mine for a number of years until it literally broke in half. She was and still is a dear friend.

Back to the vampire blood. Abbie was spending the night at my house one night when we were in 6th grade. My parents had friends over that night as well, and the adults spent the evening playing Bridge at the kitchen table while Abbie and I hung out in my room, and that's when we found the tube of vampire blood in a drawer and an idea was born.

Abbie had a knack for being able to fake cry on command, so I squeezed vampire blood on her wrist and hand, Abbie worked up some tears, and we walked into the kitchen. My mom was standing at the kitchen sink as we came in, Abbie holding her bleeding arm, me hovering nearby, and with a trembling, tearful voice, Abbie said, "Mrs. Vinyard, I cut myself and it really hurts."

My mom turned towards us, took one look at the "blood" pouring out of Abbie's arm, and said, "Oh, Abbie, what am I going to tell your mother?!" The bridge players at the kitchen table jumped up with my mom's words, and I was suppressing laughter. Of course, I ruined the whole thing by not being able to hold back my giggles any longer, and when my mom realized she had been duped, she just said, "Ohhhhh!!!" My mom, thankfully, was always a good sport, and she loved Abbie and her sense of humor (she did not know about Rat Fuck). It became one of her favorite stories to tell over the years. "Oh, that Abbie!" she would say. "She was always a corker!"

She still is.

Me, Dana, and Abbie in Las Vegas in 2010.
Abb - we need an updated photo!


  1. So many memories attached to old toys etc. I love that you used the blood on Barbie and her car crash haha