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The Big Picture

Elvis Story

Today is Rock Star day at the high school.   With his collar "popped" and his hair slicked back, Ben went as Elvis.
You can't grow up in Memphis without knowing a litttle about Elvis.  I was only 12 when he died, and like you, I remember where I was.  While  watching the Brady Bunch at my best friend's house, the TV reporter broke in with a Special Report.  He held the microphone up to his mouth and said solemnly, "Elvis is dead."  Within twenty four hours, it seemed the whole world came to Memphis.
If you lived in Memphis during Elvis' lifetime, my sister Debbie says, you have an Elvis story. She's right. 
Mom Dot spotted him leaning on a car on North Parkway chatting with a friend.   "We had to swerve in order to avoid bumping his backside," she says, adding that such a mishap would have been a career ending injury.  My three older sisters saw him in his yard at Graceland playing football, and sister, Debbie, babysat for his hairdresser.  My husband attended a concert as a kid.  And, though it wasn't an in person sighting,  I remember lying in bed with my mother watching Aloha from Hawaii crying like a baby,  clueless as to why I was crying.  She patted my leg knowingly.  It was just the affect Elvis had on people.
If you're a serious fan you might know that Libertyland was one of Elvis' favorite Memphis haunts.  When the amusement park finally closed down in 2005, I wrote an obituary for The Zippin Pippin, one of the country's oldest wooden roller coasters and Elvis' favorite ride.  The sign in front of the Pippin stated that Elvis had rented out the park just a week before he died.
My Mary was born on the 2Oth anniversary of his death in Memphis.  As they wheeled me into recovery, Elvis and Ann Margaret were dancing across the TV screen, no doubt as part of an Elvis Movie Marathon in his honor.
When we moved to Vermont a good thirty years after his death,  I walked my kids to their classes at the elementary school.  There he was in the teachers' lounge--a life size cut out of Elvis. And here in upstate New York, at least one resident drives around my little town with an Elvis license plate.  You just can't get away from Elvis.
Nor do I want to.  No one would deny that Elvis had his struggles, but whether it's the gospel CD that pours out of Mom Dot's room or the Christmas CD  I play annually, he takes me right back to my childhood.  And my own kids, in fact, gathered around the TV screen a few weeks ago to watch and rewatch the dance scene from Jail House Rock.
Yes, Elvis has left the building, but his music and his memory remain. 

9 Comments to Elvis Story:

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Karen Brasher on Thursday, March 24, 2011 3:27 PM
Having grown up in Memphis, I can relate. My grandmother gave Elvis some money outside of the Cats drug store on Airport Blvd. when he was a teenager. He was playing his guitar and she gave him a $1. She always thought Elvis would drive down her rode with a pink cadillac, as if he knew who she was. She had me convinced of it in my earlier years.
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margie on Friday, March 25, 2011 6:47 AM
It is true, Karen. Every Memphian has an Elvis story. Thanks for sharing yours. I enjoyed it!

Debbie on Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:32 PM
You are a Memphian at heart Margie! Loved it! Debbie
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margie on Friday, March 25, 2011 6:47 AM
maybe you can take the girl out of Memphis but you can't take Memphis out of the girl!

Robert Sims on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:15 PM
I did take the girl out of Memphis! No desire to take that sweet, southernness out of my girl though.
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margie on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:05 AM
In the words of Gomer Pyle, "Well, Gaaawwwleee." Thankya, honey.

Shaila on Sunday, April 10, 2011 7:48 PM
Did you know that Elvis came to Grandma and Grandpa's house when Mom was a teenager? You dad would have been gone by then. Mom was dating a guy that played in one of Elvis' first band. Mom said one day he came by the house to see her and this guy got out of the back of the car and her boyfriend introduced her to Elvis Presley. He was nobody then. I told her she should have married that guy! LOL And his kissing cousins lived just down the road from them and Uncle Larry dated one of the girls is what I've been told. And while I'm at it, Kevin's been in his bathroom where they found him collapsed. His Dad works for an alarm company and he happened to go to work with his dad one day when Graceland wad having alarm problems. The problem was in that bathroom and his bedroom. Kevin said he remembers there being racks and racks of his clothes and the jump suits he use to wear.
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margie on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:45 AM
I never knew we had our very OWN Elvis story, cousin!

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