August 16, 2018…41 years later

This is (sadly) the 41st anniversary of the death of Elvis Aron (Aaron) Presley. I am among the ever decreasing persons who were alive during Elvis’ career. I can remember that day like it was yesterday and that is saying something as my medical diagnosis, along with my daily observations/frustrations, impair (to varying degrees) my memory.

August 16, 1977 was a bright sunshine day where I lived/was born/was raised and the same is true in Memphis Tennessee where Elvis had his primary home. The home he purchased with his mother and father being Gladys Love (Smith) Presley and Vernon Elvis Presley. The home that was removed from the city. A home that part of the acres adjoin a church. A home that the previous owners named Graceland. A home that was the confirmation of the promise Elvis made repeatedly during his childhood of “mamma one day I am going to buy you a nice house”. A home where Gladys had her chickens. A home that, with some exceptions, looks similar now as it was when Elvis bought it. A home that Elvis loved. It is also (sadly) the location where Elvis died.

My heart and prayers go out to; Billy Jo Smith, Lisa Marie Presley, the Presley family, Kathy Westmoreland, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Sandi Pichon, Jerry Schilling, and others who I extend this apology to for not naming them in this blog post.

I learned today that Aretha Franklin died today as well. Interestingly she was from Memphis and she died on the day as Elvis i.e. August 16th. People called Elvis “the king” or “the king of rock and roll”. People called Aretha “the queen of soul”. Worth noting is that there is audio of Elvis in concert in the 1970s whereby a woman holds up a sign saying “Elvis is King” and Elvis responded “there is but one king Jesus Christ”.

Future generations may have access to so much about the life, onstage and off, of Elvis Presley. I can attest to the fact that there is far too much incorrect information. Bias. Disrespect. Conjecture concerning Elvis. I have always believed in facts, firsthand sources, and context. I am not one of those that believed Elvis walked on water or that he was perfect or that he made all the right decisions. Elvis was a man blessed by God, as we all are, with talents. Elvis bravely pursued his talents and the rest as they say is…history. It is my hope that long past the day I pass that some of my insights, opinions, knowledge of Elvis is read and put into proper context. That they don’t feed into the lies and half truths. That they enjoy his music. His films. His TV appearances. His concert, and personal, recordings. There are some good life lessons to be garnered about Elvis as a man, a Christian, who had a heart and passion for those who were poor and disadvantaged. Elvis was born and raised in bitter poverty and he embraced people of all types and music of all types. Elvis knew firsthand the challenges of being raised for a period of time by a single parent as his father was completing his time in jail/prison (note: Vernon did everything humanly possible to take responsibility, compensate the injured party in full, To not ever get into legal trouble again. Vernon was ashamed and embarrassed about this and in no way shape or form did this one act dictate who Vernon Presley was as a man, a father, and a husband. And the ONLY reason I bring this subject up is that so many don’t know of Elvis’ life and all of the hardships).

Take care and may God bless you.

PHOTOS are; Elvis while in his US Army stint (1958 – 1960), Elvis with Priscilla at Graceland circa 1967, Elvis with Priscilla on vacation circa 1968, Elvis with the Clara Ward singers circa 1960s, Elvis in front of Graceland with his Rolls Royce circa 1960s, and some of Elvis’ cars at his home in Memphis Tennessee being Audubon Drive circa 1956.

WM Horse Army

WM Elvis wtih Priscilla his back n snowWM E Cilla (7)WM 1960s Elvis with Clara Ward sisters rare indeed 10WM CARS outside GRACELAND 1965 March 17WM AUDOBON DRIVE Elvis cars lined up

 

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Thank you

THANK YOU graphic

 

I wanted to take the time to say THANK YOU to Elvis Presley fans worldwide, the friends/loved ones’ of Elvis who are still around, the family/friends of those who have (sadly) passed away but were an integral part of Elvis’ life story, Lisa Marie, Linda Thompson, Priscilla, Jack Soden, all of the hardworking staff at Graceland, and to those I have been blessed to know as a direct result of being an Elvis fan including but not limited to; BIlly Jo Smith and family, Alanna Nash, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Sandi Pichon, Kathy Westmoreland, etc. To anyone I failed to list please accept my apologies.

In less than a week will be the “anniversary” of the (sadly) passing of Elvis who passed away on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. I still can’t believe that I have lived on this earth not only as long as Elvis did but T H I R T E E N years…older. My heart and prayers go out to so many who on August 16, 1977 lost their father. Their friend. Their relative. Their co-worker. Their son. Their nephew. I know that time does not heal all wounds but please know how thankful I am to you and yours and may God grant you good health and success on this “anniversary” and the other 364 days of each year.

We are the last generation that lived during Elvis’ wondrous career and (sadly) far too many of us pass away each year and I encourage Elvis Presley fans everywhere to seek out these individuals. To say thank you. To support their professional endeavors Elvis related or not.

Take care and may God bless you always.

Jeff Schrembs

August 16th (1977) we lost a great man

 

To be a great man doesn’t mean you can sing. It does mean you have fame. Fortune. Or you have powerful connections. I do N O T use the word “great” loosely nor should it be randomly bestowed to someone because they can hit a baseball. Throw a football. Score points in a basketball game. You get my point In this instance, with the 41st “anniversary” of Elvis Presley dying soon upon on 8/16/1977, I am talking about the man named Elvis Presley who knew; wealth, success, bitter poverty, love, devotion, to be thrown out of housing with his beloved mother and father, moving away from friends/relatives/neighbors in Tupelo Mississippi to the big city…Memphis (Tennessee), being made fun of, friendship, the beauty in this world from the lowly blossom to the regal of the heavens, the power of the church/God/Jesus, working hard, being a father, losing the life of his greatest love at the peak of his career being Gladys Love (Smith) Presley on August 14, 1958, the adverse whispers of those who looked down upon with disdain to those whose only “crime” was the lack of monetary means, the power of prayers, and how hard it was to see his mother cry yet try to be brave while her husband (Elvis’ father Vernon Elvis Presley) was in prison *** note – Vernon took responsibility – he served his time – he apologized – he made monetary amends to the victim – he was forever sorry – he asked forgiveness many times void of words but with a look that a man gives his wife when he knows she seems him as…lesser, and most of all never was involved in any dishonorable behavior to the law or anyone else AND one last footnote is that Gladys was successful in getting Vernon released from prison early as she was able to garner enough signatures along with the fact that Vernon was married with a minor son and both desperately needed him home with his family and any income he could generate. ***

Elvis, even from childhood, loved to give. Give of his time, his efforts, and his possessions. When he was the most successful entertained in the world, and in my opinion always will be, he visited hospitals. Met with the patients. Prayed with the family. Gave money without being asked and was genuinely humble and asked if they would please accept this gesture. Elvis also was active in major charitable endeavors such as the March of Dimes, St. Judes, etc. Though he never did “commercials”, other than one that has been lost to time and it was for a local donuts shop if I remember correctly, he proudly entertained the sick and their family and took photographs with the sick holding large poster board with the words “please give, or support the March of Dimes, or lets eradicate polio, etc.”. To the injured/sick and the public Elvis bravely smiled and praised the caregivers while giving the sick words of love. Of support. Of them being unique and worthy. But there are countless times that after leaving the hospital(s), or families homes, etc. Elvis would opt not to drive, as he had when arriving, as the tears flowed and he cried. He cried from the heart. He mourned. He asked GodJesus to help them. He was inconsolable. Many times this reaction/emotion would be repeated for days after. Weeks after. Months after. Years after. And to those who were closest to Elvis knew not to say anything as Elvis tried to wrap his mind around the questions of life such as; why Lord are these innocents maimed/sick/disabled, why have you blessed me with success, will anyone remember me when I’m gone, have I done anything to warrant the kingdom of God/Jesus, is this a dream and I’ll wake up and be dirt poor again, etc. Elvis felt. Let me repeat this. Elvis felt. He was attuned to the helpless. The needy. Those needing a shoulder to lean on. Those who were going through life changing events. Elvis felt. Elvis felt. He felt for those in his view, in his house, in his city, in other towns, in the United States, in the world, etc. Elvis felt for men, women, and children regardless of their color. Their social standing. Elvis loved his fellow man unconditionally. Elvis knew of his faults. His failures. His temper. His insecurities. Elvis felt and he was not a great man because of his fame and fortune for he was a great man for he did all he could for others. He performed, while being very ill, for 8 years straight so as not to let a fan/audience member down. He was rock and roll but his love of Gospel music was his anchor. Elvis was a great man for he bravely and honorably used the talents God/Jesus gave him. He worked hard to improve on his talents. On August 16, 1977 the world lost a great man. His name was Elvis Aron (Aaron) Presley the son of Gladys Love (Smith) Presley and Vernon Elvis Presley and he was forty-two years old.

 

Take care and may God bless you and yours,

 

Jeff Schrembs