Thanks Ellie A nice one......nice read
A lifelong love affair with Elvis
By Mary Hancock Hinds / Article Launched: 09/17/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT
The American meteor known as Elvis Presley blasted off 50 years ago through a phenomenon of writhing, screaming teenage girls who are now gray-haired grandmothers with gravitas and arthritis that curtail that behavior.
But as these women have slowed down, Elvis has kept on going - and burns more brightly than ever.
Just two weeks ago, a veritable United Nations of 50,000 people (only a few of whom were grandmothers) stood in a steaming 100-degree Memphis street - while thousands more watched on computer screens and TVs around the world - to honor Elvis on the 30th anniversary of his death. Forget the tragic circumstances of Elvis' self-induced passing; these people had come from France, Japan, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and many more places to honor a man who was still in their hearts.
This grandmother was in that crowd, standing right next to my college roommate - also a grandmother. We were making our 15th annual pilgrimage to what is known worldwide as Elvis Week.
It is a period of 10 or so days, jam-packed with activities that honor and remember him. Sometimes called "Death Week," it culminates in a simple, short candlelight ceremony in front of Elvis' home, Graceland.
During it, we recite the Lord's Prayer and wave our candles high as his hit "If I Can Dream" is played. Then, somberly, we walk up Graceland's driveway to Elvis' gravesite behind the mansion.
Granted, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., which manages most things Elvis, has gone a long way towards making him more visible and ubiquitous today - inserting him into everything from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and NASCAR to Reese's candy bars and the Budweiser Clydesdales.
And the unending flow of repackaged, re-released Elvis songs doesn't hurt either.
But this media/commercial overload does not fully explain the roaring, surging popularity enjoyed by a man who has been dead for 30 years.
So why has Elvis risen to this status of national mascot, international fascination, eternal "cool guy" who still brings more than 600,000 visitors a year to his house?
My Elvis Affair began on the evening of September 9, 1956.
After a day at Alamitos Bay, I sprawled in front of our TV to watch "The Ed Sullivan Show."
Elvis was headlining that night. I had never seen Elvis before ... and I had never seen anything like Elvis before. The heat that I felt while I watched him gyrate and croon was definitely not from my sunburn. I was hooked by the man and his music. And have remained so ever since, now holding Elvis as a link to a simpler, happier time in my life.
But what about other Elvis fans who weren't young girls at mid-century? The former Prime Minister of Japan, for instance, who was treated to a special tour of Graceland by our president.
Or computer guru Carsten Kaaz, whose youthful exposure to Elvis inspired him to escape over the Berlin Wall. Or the tiny trick-or-treaters who traipse across America in glittering Elvis-style jumpsuits each Halloween.
One guess is that Elvis has become a universal symbol upon which we can tack our dreams. Our rags-to-riches hopes seem somehow more attainable as we look at his life story. Our Elvis t-shirts lend us some of his "cool." His fabled give-aways of Cadillacs and cash touch our Santa Claus fantasies of giving and receiving. And he was good to his momma.
But more important, Elvis makes us smile. He is fun, and this brings us together. Like the weather, everyone can talk about him.
Like Jesus and Coca-Cola, everyone knows who he is. And, like religion and politics, everyone has an opinion about him.
There is much to be angry about it today's world. There is much separating us - perhaps permanently. And there are many who profit from our ire and estrangement, so they keep fanning it. But mention Elvis, and people smile. They may be giggling at the silliness of an overweight Elvis Impersonator, but they are smiling.
And, for a moment, the walls between us come down.
Mary Hancock Hinds lives in Long Beach. She is a former Press-Telegram reporter and the author of "Infinite Elvis: An Annotated Bibliography."
i don't suffer from insanity - i enjoy every minute of it