I am a peacemaker. I detest confrontation and avoid it whenever I can. I see life from a more emotional standpoint than a practical one at times. Viewing and feeling cannot be separated. Sadly for some, reading my long winded thesis’ seem like detailed work. For others, they get my necessity to say in 20 words what could have been said in 5. I write, it’s what I do. My passions are penning my thoughts and sharing Elvis – a match made in Heaven for me. Please feel free to scroll on and bypass. I’ll understand.
I believe we are all given gifts, traits, inclinations and attributes. Some are obvious from the beginning. Others are nurtured and developed, shaped through time, events and circumstances. I have one son, my oldest, who is quick tempered and impatient, but with maturity has learned to reign it in. He has an intense drive and an exceptional work ethic. My daughter is both tender hearted and passive. She cried if one of her brothers cried. Being the youngest of the triplets and the only girl in the group, she had to learn assertiveness and stand up for herself. They would snatch her toys and she would simply turn and play with something else. She is a lot like me. It’s not being spineless but it’s a matter of setting priorities. She and I can both rear up if pressed on certain important topics. The other two boys of the triplets are quite different. One is a people pleaser, very responsible, but bottles things up. The other, while very smart, can be a bit entitled and arrogant. He would have been a most exceptional only child. My point, all the same gene pool (except for oldest son who is adopted), so very different.
From all I know and have read, our man Elvis also had a very tender heart. His wrath flared easily at injustice but he just as quickly switched gears after his initial outbursts.
I view a photo and write from what I see and what feelings it elicits as I study it. I pay attention to the subjects’ expressions and the surrounding landscape formulating an idea or theory from the picture painted in my head. Other writers do just the opposite. They have the story first. Each has their own style. How boring if we were all the same.
If you notice the photos I’ve included, you see pictured a few former Graceland residents, those who spent considerable time calling the mansion home while our man was still with us. This grouping, however different, share the same category. All were displaced, for whatever reason, some earlier, some later, some because the most famous rock and roll house on the planet lost it’s master of the manor.
These individuals all had varying degrees of closeness and familiarity to Presley. Relatives and friends and associates retained their designation in name only but not their royally appointed privileges. The castle had no King to rule after that fateful August 1977 afternoon. There are many others not pictured who could join the ranks of the exclusive club, those who worked with, worked for, played with and loved the one who gave them an unearned title – all the King’s men (and women). Groundskeepers, gatekeepers, housekeepers, secret keepers – in the forefront and in the background – their lives all circled around one central figure.
I see pictures of those individuals making a pilgrimage to what once was their home, or home away from home, and I wonder what must go through their minds. I wish I knew. It must be a surreal emotion for them, some more intense, some with regret, some sadness, and some joy. Everyone is wired differently and they must view it individually. Unfortunately the Elvis circle continues to narrow and many are no longer around to describe it.
A few years ago, I traveled to Texas and drove by my parents’ former home. The owners came outside and we chatted and they invited me in. While I expected memories to come flooding back, I felt a detachment. The walls were the same, the layout no different, but the spirit and warmth and security was absent. It was just a house. The crucial and key images were not within the brick and mortar but housed within my heart. I drove another five miles to their final resting place to lay some flowers and pay my respects and it was there that I teared up. It was in my precious memories that the actual love resided.
For those of us without a real concrete personal connection to the man Elvis like those I’ve mentioned above, but instead a closeness to the sound, the image, the entertainer, and the person of Presley, what is it exactly that we feel? He has been a part of my life for so long I almost forget I didn’t actually know him – yet I did “know” him just the same.
Many say they feel his spirit in his home or on the grounds. My last visit to Graceland left me with two very specific impressions in two very specific spots. The entry way just inside the house and the graveside – both provided a warm, close sort of melancholy and longing, a pensive feeling of sadness and yet comfort at the same time. Was it my emotions and excitement at being there or something much more? It was very real and very intense. I can’t help wonder why it was at those two detailed locations.
I am truly earnestly interested. For those who have also made the pilgrimage, what did you feel, and where, and why and how? So many travel to Graceland to be close to his world so I know I’m not alone in experiencing this. They say an honest love doesn’t die. I can’t turn my genuine feelings off and on. I love with my entire heart. I could never love him less than I do. That’s impossible. It continues on and grows, not in a weird creepy obsessive way but with a better understanding of the many voids he fills and the joy he continues to bring to my life on a daily basis. There is no end, only a beginning – so true in many ways.