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 Post subject: Reflections on Elvis Week in Memphis
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:51 am 
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First of all, I was going to the midnight Vegas show, got to Memphis in what I thought was plenty of time only to realize I had left my directions to the FedEx Forum at home! They say the Lord watches over children, drunks, and idiots. Well, I'm 48, I hardly drink at all, and well...you get the idea! Anyway with a little luck and a lot of prayers, I found it, arriving at a few minutes after midnight only to find that the show would start late! Thank you, Lord! (I ended up going by myself as none of the 3 I hoped might could go. So who cares? I went alone.) Had similar trouble finding the hotel, but I did. Funny, I could always find Graceland easily.

My quick impressions --

I haven't heard so many foreign languages and accents since I went to Europe! People from all over the US and the world. Says a lot about the impact Elvis had, esp. (as one recording said) in an age before Internet.

On the concert, I enjoyed it a lot, felt honored to be in the presence of Elvis's old singers and band mates and Joe Guercio, but I can't say it felt like a real Elvis concert. This show wasn't sold out (just the bottom bowl of the arena, really), the flashbulbs were not nearly as numerous, the crowd was receptive but not rowdy, out-of-control, and of course, I'd seen almost all the footage before except converstion pieces like introducing the band (the "Tutt-Scheff" line someone has mentioned, and stuff like that). But for someone who had never seen Elvis in concert, it's as close as they can get now.

In general, I discovered that I am a semi-normal Elvis fan. I don't have his face tattooed anywhere on me (temporarily or permanently); I didn't have every possible Elvis fashion accessory (in fact, I had none as I came straight from school and didn't have time to change, and I don't have any anyway, especially the really outlandish ones); too many men were running around with their hair dyed black with 70s style sideburns apparently under the delusion that they look like Elvis. But all in all, there were still a lot of fans there, including (to me) a surprising number of men in their Elvis T-shirts with their wives. Well-behaved crowds, as we expect from Elvis fans. :D

On the idea of buying up the area surrounding Graceland and turning the whole neighborhood into one giant theme park and entertainment complex with Graceland sitting silently in the middle... :evil: It is already, I'm sure, far removed from the neighborhood Elvis knew. It's one thing to revitalize the area, but not to destroy what it was for the purpose of bringing in money for Sillerman and company. And if they EVER touch the house or grounds, they will have a riot on their hands with me leading the charge!

I had to go visit Graceland again while I was there. Should've gotten an online reservation! I got there around 11:00 am, was assigned a tour for 3:15, and the tours were an hour behind by then! That's OK, I went on the planes again, found and ate a Reese's peanut butter and banana cup (yum!), and went through the Elvis automobile museum. I also loved the exhibit in the Sincerely, Elvis museum. It was a few dozen of his stage costumes from 1969 through 1976 or so. Some I'd seen before in the racquetball building, but I'd never seen many of them, especially the very simple ones from 1969! I could just imagine him in them, so much so I wanted to wrap my arms around the mannequins! Whew! I saw the 2 he wore when I saw him in '75 and '76, so that was special, and a few from 1970. In a way, some of them were sad because you could tell they had aged and they looked like museum pieces -- leather cracked on the red ladder suit from TTWII, the white cloth now rather yellowed. etc. What really struck me was how thin the earliest ones were! Most of the later ones didn't seem "overweight," just like he wasn't super thin like in '69 and '70. I thought he looked senstional either way! :lol:

At the house itself, I wasn't quite as hyped as the first time (that was surreal), but I was excited to be there. This time I understood better that I didn't have to "keep up with the group I came in with." So I took my time more and really looked around each room and soaked it all in. And I have to say in defense of a comment that someone made about the Graceland employees just being there to rush everyone along, that all the people working there were very polite and not a single one rushed me at all. They just encouraged people to move in as far as possible so more people could get in each room. And this during a record-breaking Elvis Week where the tours were an hour behind, so no complaints from me. :D

And on the Meditation Garden, many people linger there in front of the gravesites and many say they can sense his presence or his spirit there. Well, for some reason, I don't. I spent more time looking at all the beautiful flowers and reading all the tributes from all over the world. I copied down a couple of things that I felt were really meaningful. I guess I just can't focus on him dying. To me, he just feels so alive and so omnipresent that focusing on a grave creates a conflict inside me. He just doesn't feel "gone." Or maybe losing him 30 years ago caused such grief in me that I avoid reliving that time at all costs. So I walk past, pause briefly, and move on. I shed my tears privately at times when I just really, really miss him so much.

Here are a couple of those things that touched me from the tributes. The first is part of a longer piece from someone named Cino Torricer in Hilo. It said, "When a memory brings Tears and Sorrow, embrace it and look through it and you will find Joy. Is it not the Joy that brings the Tears and Sorrow? In time, with the embrace of each memory, there will be only Joy, with a touch of Sorrow and a Tear."

The other came from the Good Luck Charms Fan Club right here in Birmingham, AL! It's a poem, don't know by whom, but here it is. And so fitting for Elvis.

Quote:
Measure of a Man

Not "How did he die?" but "How did he live?"
Not "What did he gain?" but "What did he give?"
These are the ways to measure the worth
Of a man regardless of birth.
Not "What was his station?" but "Had he a heart?"
And "How did he play his God-given part?"
"Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer
to bring back a smile to banish a tear?"
Not "What was his shrine?" nor "What was his creed?"
But "Had he befriended those really in need?"
Not "What did the sketch in the newspaper say?"
But "How many were sorry when he passed away?"


If that doesn't say a lot about Elvis, I don't know what would.

It's getting late. If I think of other relevant or interesting things about the trip, I'll post them another time. It was my first time in Memphis during Elvis Week, and it was truly moving to see how many people were impacted by this one wonderful man. I'll echo something else from one of the tributes -- "Thank you, God, for the life of Elvis Presley."


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:51 am 
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Thanks Wanda Mc for sharing your memories with us.

About the deterioration of the suits, I wonder why repairs have not been done? I would think it fairly easy to oil dried leather. Not sure about "whitening" the yellowed costumes. Bleach is hard on fabrics, but there may be other ways. There are folks who know how to restore damaged clothes.



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:07 am 
Jewel in the Lotus

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Laurie, I had similar thoughts while reading!!!

Wanda Mc, thanks a lot for sharing your impressions!
I have never been to Graceland, but I think I would share that feeling with you:
Quote:
To me, he just feels so alive and so omnipresent that focusing on a grave creates a conflict inside me. He just doesn't feel "gone."



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:45 am 
Jewel in the Lotus
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THANK YOU SO MUCH, WANDA MC! You did a wonderful tale! :) :)

Quote:
I have never been to Graceland, but I think I would share that feeling with you:
Quote:
To me, he just feels so alive and so omnipresent that focusing on a grave creates a conflict inside me. He just doesn't feel "gone."


I would share that thought with you too. I've never been in Graceland yet. I guess I would prefer to be alone in order to "feel" each place I think was important for Elvis when alive.

My mother was protesting the 16th, because he is gone. She "wants" him to be alive to enjoy him. I can't be sad because he is so PRESENT in spirit that I can find him anytime in my Heart. And this is not only a way of speaking, I assure you.



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Elvis said: "LOVE is what it's all about." :*::*: Now I know it's true.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:31 pm 
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There are duplicate suits of many of them, I don't know about the earlier ones, but I know he usually had at least two of each of the later ones. It's hard to keep things from aging...they have to be sealed in a container with the proper airmix etc: and some of them have been I've heard that anyway. I hope so. Things age, there is nothing we can do without going scientific and that limits what one can do with the object we want to "save".
Eventually they'll probably just have photos instead of showing the actual suits...just to be able to perserve at least some of them.
wjh



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:11 am 
Jewel in the Lotus
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Quote:
I resonate in my heart and soul what you say here, Amanda! Thank you!


I thank you a hundred times in return, my friend! :)

That link is fantastic! What an amount of energy must have gathered there... and El'vis receiving all of it in his garden, just to send it back to us! :P :P

I appreciate very much what Internet has of spreading instant information all around.



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Amanda Viola

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:38 pm 
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:P



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:37 pm 
Jewel in the Lotus
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Those days around August 16th, Elvis has been daily present in the media here in Spain too. I know of at least the Barcelona's fan club that organized for Elvis Week a group trip to Graceland; probably there were others doing the same. Multiply this for most of the countries and we have a whole explossion of Elvis presence around the world! :!:



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:10 pm 
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"What deserves to live-lives!" EP quote



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:18 pm 
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Quote:
"What deserves to live-lives!" EP quote


SO TRUE! :)



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