Always On My Mind ~ Written by Janet Bostic
“Always On My Mind” is a beautiful love song of regret that our man performed in the 70’s. I recently was informed I had an Elvis obsession. The person telling me this intended it as a slam. I view it as a compliment. I have no regrets that he is on my mind. My feelings were not bruised in the least. In fact, I would be sad and disappointed if someone who knew me well didn’t know my true and honest heartfelt feelings. Always on my mind is much more than a song title.
Elvis has inhabited the corners of my mind for the majority of my life. As to not lose touch with reality, he couldn’t occupy front and center stage. I had a family, children to raise, a job to do. Studying him, learning about him, enjoying him, writing about him, didn’t pay the bills nor instill the values I needed my children to learn. I had to prioritize. Should I spend my time idolizing a man who left this world when I was a teenager or should I be a valuable addition to society? Fantasy or reality? I had little choice. But as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the “rest of the story” ….
This man has had an integral place within my being since I first laid eyes on him at the tender age of five. Yes, five. Parents, never underestimate the impact certain things can have even at a young age. One would hardly think the harmless act of taking a little girl to see Girl Happy in the theater on a warm Spring day would work to define much of her life for the remainder of her life, still strong fifty three years hence with no end in sight. Once that beautiful face filled the big screen and that guitar was strummed, I was hooked. The bonus of the accompanying voice, unmistakable charisma and boyish charm cemented the deal. I fell deeply and totally head over heels in love. I left that darkened theater questioning the identity of this man, determining to absorb all I could about him. My immature tender mind flashed forward to my imaginary grown up days when I would innocently find true love with my own dark haired, blue eyed, guitar playing, love song singing, race car driver. You know, the one who pursued me until I caught him.
I learned to read at a young age. That meant I learned to scour the newspaper and all magazines I could find for news or information of the one who held my heart. I still have the news clippings from the day my heart sank, May 1, 1967. He hadn’t waited for me to grow up after all. I could hardly believe it. Nine months later his beaming proud smile of fatherhood warmed my heart as my maturity level grew and the truth was obvious. Although reality shined bright, the feelings never dulled. They only changed addresses occupying a different region on the same continent. My love matured as I did.
As he still remained on my mind, I grew up. As my contemporaries fell for the likes of Donny Osmond and the Monkees and Bobby Sherman, I was steadfast, loyal and true. I was an older soul, born at least ten years too late. Had there been some small differences in age and residence, I would have gladly hung out at the gates. I feel certain I would have had the opportunity to know him firsthand in some way.
There were four different instances I breathed the same air as my dear idol. It was surreal. There was one particular instance in August of 1976 involving an up close and personal contact. I could have died at that moment as my life had been as complete as possible. My fan moment only enhanced all those years when he was on my mind. Just a few months prior, I visited his beloved Graceland, standing at those gates, posing happily on his front porch thanks to my fast talking father and his kind Uncle Vester – the same porch he had stood on so many times since 1957. The irony is not lost on me as I stood on the broiling hot pavement in front of the Alabama fieldstone wall at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Old Highway 51, and the man I so wanted to see was in Texas occupying my stomping grounds. It was the time of the bicentennial but 1976 is immortalized by me for an entirely different celebration.
1977 was a pivotal year. I graduated high school. I began my adult life. My heart shattered the day his stopped. I experienced more pain in that one brief moment than in all of my years prior. In fact, there have only been a few instances since then that rival that sweltering hot August day the music died for me. I felt few understood how I felt then, but I now know millions collectively sensed the same sorrow consuming heartbreak.
Life went on. I went to college. I married. I had children. I worked. My children grew up. My marriage ended. There were many starts and stops and starts again. But oddly he remains on my mind to this day. – even more so because I am fortunate to be at a place in my life where I can allow him to. I have a greater understanding of all things Presley than I ever imagined. This man has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. He has been my fantasy, my dreams, my imagination and my savior – not in a religious sense but a sanctuary of mind and heart for as long as I can remember. He has gotten me through some incredibly rough patches. He has allowed me to lean on him when there was no one else. His voice has soothed me, his smile has buoyed me, his music has touched me.
So yes, he is always on my mind – more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow. I have an obsession but it’s far from unhealthy. It’s uplifting and meaningful. It gives me purpose. Always on my Mind does not mean regret, it signifies that which has sustained me and has brought me to a beautiful place in my life with a beautiful future ahead – all because of that Spring day in 1965, leading to right now this very minute, exactly where I am meant to be in life. I am forever indebted to a man I didn’t know for something he had no idea that he did. He exited this world forty one years ago but has never really left the building. Few understand that, but I know those that do are nodding in total agreement.
About the Author: Janet Bostic has been a fan of Elvis since the age of 5 (maybe before that!) and has studied his life as long as she can remember. She saw Elvis four times including once in 1976 when she received a scarf and enjoyed a kiss and some conversation with him. Janet has taken 4 trips to Graceland, with her earliest being in 1976 when Elvis lived there. She is visiting Graceland again in the Spring of 2019. Her favorite Elvis song is “Love Coming Down.” She is the mother of triplets and (just like Elvis) her only daughter’s name…is Lisa. Elvis has always been a huge part of her life.