Eighty-two years ago today, Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was one of twins, but his brother, Jesse Garon, died at birth. Unless you live in a cave (and have never been out of it), no matter what age you are, what kind of music you listen to, you know who Elvis is. He grew up poor and rocketed to stardom and became the most well-known, dynamic entertainer of all time. Of course, in my opinion, the most talented, charismatic, sexy, etc, etc. I even love watching his movies. (I say ‘even’ because they are not exactly critically acclaimed, but watching him brings me joy, no matter the medium).
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he would be eighty-two. I’m not sure what he would be doing now, what he would look like, but I would imagine he’d still be in the spotlight, entertaining. He died when I was sixteen, and his death was truly devastating–to me and to my sisters. The world has suffered a great deal of celebrity deaths in 2016, and yes, people are sad about them. (On a side note, I see posts from people who criticize those who are sad over celebrity deaths when we have soldiers dying, etc. However, I believe it is because some might feel more connected to the celebrities. They are familiar with them, not to mention, the media shares the news about the deaths. If we saw personal articles on each soldier’s death, with pictures and stories about their lives, etc, we would react in a more personal way. That’s just my opinion. Yes, it’s more tragic for a young man or woman to give their life serving their country than for a wealthy celebrity to pass, but maybe cut those who are posting about it some slack. It just so happens that the celebrity is the topic du jour at the time.) But I digress…back to Elvis… The grief we (and many fans) felt over his death was different, I believe, than the sadness most people feel over celebrities. It was like, and in some ways worse than, losing a family member. From the time I discovered him at the young age of 5’ish, he was a huge part of my life. My sisters and I watched his movies each time they aired and also caught them as often as we could at our local movie theater, The Chieftain, in Oklahoma City.
I listened to his music almost all the time. I dreamed of growing up and marrying him. I learned every detail I could about him and his life. I plastered my walls with his posters. I was lucky enough to see three of his concerts, and was anxious to go to more, but unfortunately, the concert I attended in March, 1977 was the last of his I would ever see.
Not only did Elvis entertain me, he actually made me feel deeply happy (and yes, sad at times as well). All of my life, even now, if I’m feeling sad or stressed, I can watch or listen to Elvis and he lifts my mood. He’s even intertwined with my dream of being a writer. My first ever story (which I wrote at ten years old) was a romance with a hero who looked just like Elvis, and I mentioned Elvis frequently, and named my hero Lonnie Beale, after Elvis’ character in Tickle Me. I even titled it “Just Pretend” which is one of my favorite Elvis songs.
Here is a shot of the hand-written copy of my story, which I still have. 🙂
Elvis is still a huge part of my life. I named my son Presley, I’ve gone to Graceland half a dozen times or so and would love to go again and again, I use him in all my passwords, I listen to his music, I watch his movies, I mention him in almost all my books, and I blogged about him regularly for over a year (although I did let that slide. I still have a few Elvis blog posts left in me, though. :)). I even wrote a romance short story published through The Wild Rose Press, set in 1957 that revolves around Elvis. The title is End of Lonely Street. Can anyone guess how I came up with that? 🙂
(The short story is available in ebook for only 99 cents: https://www.amazon.com/End-Lonely-Street-Alicia-Dean-ebook/dp/B00QQO3BK0/ – and, it’s part of a print book of four other of my Wild Rose Press short stories: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Dangerously-Alicia-Dean/dp/1509213112/)
I just wanted to pay tribute, share my thoughts about someone who had such a major impact on my life. I think one reason that Elvis was so special was not only his phenomenal talent, but his heart. He was down to Earth (in spite of all the glitz and bling :)), loving, generous, and extremely appreciative of his fans. He was good to his friends, his family, his daughter, and even his ex-wife. No other celebrity has ever or will ever make the impact Elvis has made. Nearly forty years after his death, fans flock to see his home, to celebrate his life and mourn his death.
Happy Birthday, Elvis. You are loved and missed by millions of people all over the world.