Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love....

Oh, you thought this was a continuation of the love story prep, didn't you? I know, I am so very cruel because it is not time yet. So, if I am not going to tell you about Big Buckaroo with that title, then of course I am going to talk about Elvis!!

Now, you can not live in Memphis and not have a secret love for Elvis. You might swear under your breath at the "crazy Elvis people" during death week when traffic is ridiculous, but somewhere deep down, all Memphians have a love for the King. O.K. you can try and deny it, but...

So, turn up your rhinestone-studded collar, rest your blue suede shoes on a comfortable stool, and read along as I tell you a little bit about The Park Wife and Elvis:

I was only 6 when he died, for all you Elvis fanatics, yes, that puts me at 36 (o.k. 37 this Sunday, a mere 5 years younger than the age of Elvis at his death). Of course, growing up everyone knew who Elvis was but my indoctrination into "the Memphis Elvis" came only a few days after starting work. In August of 1977, Elvis was brought to the ER at Baptist, the same hospital where I worked. On his birthday, death anniversary, and well, just about any random day, you could look out my office window and people where walking around looking at the ER entrance. No, they were not gushing blood, they were afflicted with The Elvis Presley syndrome, they wanted to see where Elvis died!

My nephew came to Memphis when he was about 5 and we went to tour Graceland. On the shuttle bus over, his mom asked about the night he died and was brought to Baptist. I was telling the story that had been passed down from hospital administration of that fateful night. When I said, "he died of acute respiratory distress in the ER", my nephew looked up and in a VERY loud voice on a bus full of Graceland visitors said, "I thought he died on the toilet". We were not very popular on the tour that day.

One of my responsibilities in the marketing department was working with the Foundation, the charitable arm of the hospital. They had tickets to every gala, dinner, opening, etc. and felt that there needed to be someone there to represent them. Often, as a single gal that did not have to be home to cook dinner for anyone, I went and dined on rubber chicken and tough baked potatoes. One evening, I was asked if I would like to attend the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center fundraising dinner. Sure, free food, maybe this time it would be good. So, I went home, put on a nice suit and headed to The Peabody (yes, where the ducks are). I found the place in the hotel where the dinner was and as I walked in, I found that I really was not dressed appropriately because my shirt did not light up. I have never seen so much Elvis paraphernalia on people's bodies. That was probably one of the top people watching nights of my life.

Greg, the photographer for Baptist, was sure that I was an illegitimate child of Elvis', probably the dark hair and crooked smile. My mom assured him she was nowhere near Memphis during 1970, but it sure would be fun to have free reign of Graceland for a day.

The Park Wife has left the building.

6 comments:

Memaw's memories said...

It's interesting hearing you talk about Memphis. I live about 60 miles northwest of Memphis near Jonesboro, Ar. As a result, I've spent a good bit of time in Memphis over the years. I took a friend to see the Peabody ducks a few years back, we eat at the Rendevous, used to go to Libertyland, rode the zippin pippin, went to the Midsouth fair, and the zoo. Lots of good memories about Memphis. The one think I've never done is Graceland. It's never interested me to go in.

Valarie said...

Do you know I have only been to Memphis one time, ok two if you count the airport, and I grew up in TN.

Jenn said...

hey, i caught your blog from fussypants. i'm in memphis, so it's fun to read about your experiences. i'm originally from colorado, my husband from alberta, canada, so the fact that you live in a state park kills me!! we can't wait until the doors open for us to move somewhere else!

but memphis definitely has a whole lot of charm if you look from the right perspective :)

Pam said...

Happy Birthday a little early. You'll always be older than me :)

Val said...

Gotta love Elvis Week! Keeps the polyester factories in business!

m~ said...

We were moving from Clinton, MS to Eden Prairie, MN the day Elvis died. I was 11 years old. I remember driving through Memphis, it was insane. People were stopped on the highway standing out on the mediums wailing that The King had died. It amazes me that some still think he's alive.