Dream Chaser

May 4, 2011
By Kathy Ly BRONZE, Anaheim, California
Kathy Ly BRONZE, Anaheim, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Charles Vanderbilt was the son of Christopher and Elizabeth Vanderbilt. Charles was a handsome 23-year-old man with light brown hair, and hazel eyes. He was 6 foot 2 inches, and was quite the ladies’ man. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Business Management in 1919 after World War I ended. However, there was no need for Charles to attend school because he would just inherit his father’s railroad company. The Vanderbilts were one of the most affluent families that existed in New York, and Charles would be expected to follow the family legacy, which meant working at his father’s company. Charles 30-year-old brother William Vanderbilt was the ideal son who graduated from Harvard University, and was loved by everyone. This made life difficult for Charles because his parents were always comparing the two brothers, and told Charles that he should make them proud by being just like William. Charles became tired because he had a passion for music but could never follow through because his family said that music would not generate enough revenue. Thus, Charles is forced to live up to the expectations of his family, and keeping his passions locked up.
The life Charles had was one that most people spent their whole life trying to find; it was a life of wealth. Charles had everything he wanted except love. All his life Charles lacked love, even from his family because his parents had always admired William. Charles found that living in New York in the 1920s was difficult for him due to social class, and standards that needed to be followed. Some days Charles would find himself down in Brooklyn, a place where the Vanderbilts are seen once in a blue moon. Charles couldn’t help it, somehow when he was in Brooklyn everything was so much more comforting. He found that he could be himself, and attend small speakeasies, where he could drink and listen to Jazz all night long.
One night he met this girl in an Italian restaurant, and suddenly something about her left him in awe. Charles quickly ran to the girl and said, “ There’s something about you that fascinates me perhaps it’s your beauty can I have your name?” The girl told him her name was Clarissa Harrison, and she was from Brooklyn. Charles and Clarissa began to court each other but Charles had to keep it a secret from his family because Clarissa was middle class, and his parents would not approve. Every time Charles spent his day with Clarissa he was content, and this was because she understood him. Clarissa understood his passion for music, and how he wanted to become a profession Jazz musician. The two of them would spend hours talking about Charles’ music dreams, and how Clarissa wanted to become a famous artists and open up her own art gallery in Australia. Charles quickly found that he loved Clarissa, and wanted to take her hand in marriage. He decided that he would ask his parents for permission despite the social class differences.
It was November 21, 1921 , and it was the first time Charles brought Clarissa home for Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Charles had told his parents about Clarissa, but lied that she came from a rich family, because he was scared of disappointing his parents. William had married a beautiful girl named Penelope Holland, and she came from a wealthy family so his parents were no ashamed of her, but Clarissa would be a whole different story.
During the dinner Elizabeth asked Clarissa where her family came from, and what they did for a living. Charles was a panic attack and interrupted hastily “ Mother I think Clarissa and I have to go because I promised he parents that I will take her home by 9pm, and there is a lot of traffic right now.” Elizabeth quickly dismissed Charles’s comment, and within minutes the truth was out. Clarissa was middle class girl who came from Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Charles felt terrible that he had lied to his family and Clarissa, but the truth was all he wanted to do was make his parents proud.
His parents were furious that he had lied and forbid him to ever see Clarissa again. He told his mom “ But I love her, and I never felt this way about anyone before. She loves me too, and I want to marry her.” His mother warned him that if he married her he would be disowned, and only his brother will inherit all of the will. Charles was then forced to make a decision, and once again he chose to not listen to his heart. Charles broke Clarissa’s heart, and left her crying in tears, but before leaving Clarissa shouted “ Charles, I am truly disappointed in you because you are a coward who will never be able to stand up for himself. All your life you have been trying to please others, and live up the your family’s standards. It is no wonder that you are miserable, and until you can figure things out I am leaving. I am going to Australia to accomplish by dreams, while you can stay here and become part of some company you don’t even like. Goodbye Charles Vanderbilt, and I do hope one day you will come to your senses.”

6 months have passed without Clarissa, and Charles had never felt so lonely. Somehow everything Clarissa said that one night made perfect sense, and Charles knew he needed to take charge of his life. Charles decided to write a letter to his parents explaining how he would become a professional Jazz musician, and follow his dreams. But first there was one thing he needed to do, and that was to see Clarissa.

Charles arrived at the airport, and bought a one-way ticket to Australia in order to see the girl who changed him forever. He needed to thank her because he was finally able to follow his heart, and he wanted her to be a part of the journey.

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