This blog is massively late today…not entirely unlike I was this morning, speeding down the I-5 towards San Diego! It has been “one of those days”, to say the least. It is a welcome respite to sit down, write the blog, and think about something other than education.
On this date forty years ago, Elvis Presley died. That made the year 1977, and I was not quite seven years old. Oddly, I can vividly remember my parents talking about their shock at the dinner table. There were very few (remarkably few!) celebrities that made their way into our normal dinner time conversation when I was young, but Elvis was a favorite for both of my parents. They had all of his records, and Elvis was indeed on heavy rotation anytime my mom used the record player at home. I can remember many a night after dinner when my mom would play records while she did the dishes. My mom would sing along as she’d hand wash everything, and my dad did the drying and putting away. Sometimes, when things would really get out of hand, she and my dad would dance in the living room! Elvis Presley was the one artist that she and my dad both loved, and I can’t help but think of my parents when I hear an Elvis Presley song.
That night at dinner though, sadness hung like a damp rag over our table. There was no dancing. No singing, and certainly no laughing. My parents spoke in hushed tones, and I can even remember my mom crying about it. I don’t know that I really had a deep understanding of what death meant at the time. I had already lost a grandfather but I don’t think I really recognized the finality involved. I just knew my parents were sad, and I was completely fascinated with every last detail. Over the next few weeks, my mom and dad bought all of the “tribute to Elvis” magazines, and I read them all. (I was reading way before Kindergarten, which I know is bizarrely unusual, but it’s true) I was totally preoccupied with how he died, and how his fans reacted. I guess the whole “fandom” bug had already bitten me even back then, I just didn’t know it!
As years went by, I heard Elvis in our house less and less often. I don’t know why that was. I suppose my parents got older, and maybe it wasn’t as much fun for them after he’d passed away. I really don’t know. It also could have been that not too terribly long after Elvis died, I took over the record player.
I’ll give you two guesses what band was most often played. 🙂
It’s hard for me to imagine that it really has been forty years since “The King” left this planet, and not all of that is due to the fact that I’m looking side-eyed at birthday #47 coming up. Every now and then I run across another article saying “Elvis is Alive”, or something about his fans – many of which are in their seventies or eighties now. They have done their due diligence in keeping his music and spirit alive for forty years now. While yes, many might characterize his fans as “obsessed” or “crazy”, or even “extreme”, I have to give them credit. For forty years, they’ve had no concerts, no meet and greets. No chance meetings on the street, no Twitter, Facebook, or even the internet. Hell, when Elvis died, there were no home computers or cell phones! His fans have had his music. That’s it. I suppose that the lesson here is that when something touches your heart as deeply as music, not even death can end that connection.
Something to think about.