Monday, February 8, 2010
Elvis turned 75 last month. Happy Birthday! I was a newborn baby in 1959 when he entered the army and went to Paris. My parents and I rode in my dad's camoflaged jeep in Tallahassee at Florida State University, and he also had shiny black hair in a pompadour style, so, to me Elvis was like my 20 year old Dad. Our trailer's black and white tv set often showed his movies.
Visiting Graceland last year, I felt that he was not in the grave, and neither was anyone else I sensed in the Memorial Garden by his pool. It was hard to believe that such beautiful and talented people lived in Graceland. Like a time capsule, Priscilla's portrait with Lisa Marie in the dining room next to a mirror, had me comparing my face with her perfect doll-like one. I could picture her living there, but couldn't exactly imagine her slaving away in the carpeted kitchen.
Elvis was a heartbreaker. Yet, I believe that he always was in love with Priscilla. In my opinion, a true wife is the bearer of a man's children, and is the first woman behind the man. He never remarried, though he came close, it was not to be.
Now this is just me, but I believe he is still alive. There is so much doubletalking from even his closest Christian friends who would find lying abhorrent. "He's with us (in spirit)." "He's no longer with us (emphasis on "us"). They insist that when we get to heaven, we'll see Elvis there. (And when is when? Eventually.)
Age, but not time, hides him now. For the past 8 years, I have become interested in his latter life. That his tongue was supposedly bitten half off in death may have been a cover to allow him to keep singing in blissful obscurity.
I've watched interviews with Priscilla. She lets things slip, like "Elvis loves (not loved) football." Linda smiles broadly with the words, "He's dead." And Ginger was the last to see him "alive," but even she was not the last to be with him. Joe Esposito said he knew "That boy" (again, the ambiguity. Which boy?) is dead.
If you had asked me, "Are you an Elvis fan?" I honestly would have said no, not really. If I don't consider myself a fan, then why is Elvis' bathroom my desktop background? Why did my husband and I stay up til 4:00 a.m. watching films about Elvis? Then how is it we have been to Graceland and Sun Records (where I insisted Keith record a demo of Love Me Tender)? I must have been curious in my 20's...I remember reading the book Is Elvis Alive in 1978, and Elvis & Me, Me & Elvis, and read "Orion" when it first came out in 1978 and tracked it like a dog to find rare copies online. Internet documentaries from as far away as Australia, and www.linkydink.com assertions that Elvis is living in Scottsdale Arizona consume me. I've scanned "Search Inside this Book" features on Elvis books on Amazon (3,000 exist) and let my mind compare the documentaries and interviews to the point they haunt my dreams. To make things more exciting, my husband somehow by freak accident, met J. D. Summral before his death, Charlie Hodge, and sang with Larry Decker in Daytona Beach... Keith and I rode in a pink cadillac and we slid into Elvis' favorite corner booth in his favorite pork barbecue restaurant in Memphis. We boarded the 747 Lisa Marie and "not touched" anything. Bought souvenir mugs for my parents and an army change tray for Dad that I hoped would remind him of his own days at Suwannee. I slowly toured Graceland, peering over velvet ropes, sardined with other fans, leaning against the green shag carpeted walls in the basement stairwall. Guards everywhere were saying don't touch, so I just leaned...
I've stood dry-eyed at his grave, and spent the night with my husband in the Heartbreak Hotel. We amused onlookers doing tango under the porte cochere of the hotel to piped in Elvis music. I still have the beautiful floral round guest soap at my pillow. But, I never was "in love" with Elvis, though I'm sure I could have been. But common sense and reality, to protect my heart from getting infatuated with the man, I don't go there. But now that I'm married to a Southern boy turned man from a small Florida farm town who sings and talks like Elvis, and since he's a fan, too, I've changed my tune. We're fools who rush in because we can't help falling in love. //