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

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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

The last generation attached to Elvis is disappearing (sadly) with each passing day {Part 1}

WM Elvis with Muhammad Ali BEST DETAILWM 1957 Elvis in middle two young student reporters school rareareWM 1950s Elvis on roller coaster in front arms uWM 1971 Elvis with sweets RARERERRERERERERERERERI sometimes have to catch myself to affirm, and remind, that the majority of the World was not alive at any time during Elvis’ lifetime. Yeah, I’m 55 years old and somedays I feel 5555555555 years old but that is a heck of a set of facts to grasp 24/7 for me and other Elvis fans.

Elvis was not a myth. He was not perfect. He was not a hologram. He wasn’t made up of just his successes. His records were not always popular. In fact, many times in the 1970’s he was made fun of in the press. His inaction’s on stage were ridiculed. His fans were accused of trying to relive their childhood. The younger generation  of the 1960’s and 1970’s, majoritarian speaking, made fun of Elvis. His weight. His music. And his heritage.

 

Elvis Presley sentimental side

You know Elvis?

You think you know Elvis?

You sure you know Elvis?

Well, all righty then

Today I get to share with you some of MY favorite Elvis tunes that have calmed me through my storms and believe me I’ve had some B  I   G    storms.

Now, PLEASE do yourself a favor and listen to each of these songs in their entirety and perhaps you will join my sentiments (bada bing – did you see what I did there? Circling to the title of this post?). Courtesy of YouTube, and I am not commenting on the video aspect just the audio, Let’s go:

Until next time I hope you enjoy this blessing we call…life.

Take care and may God bless you and yours.

 

Thoughts about Elvis’ legacy going forward

I have said it since I was much much younger that I am part (sadly) of the last generation who lived during Elvis’ lifetime. The future was unknown as Elvis was contractually obligated to do (approximately) 3 moves per year and he NEVER saw the scripts. Never had script approval. That’s right Elvis Presley the most successful actor in movie history, for the criteria being that every one of his movies made money for the movie studio NET which is almost impossible as movie studios accounting practices require a PHD, was bound to the script. The character. The locations. The songs. As Priscilla has stated, and so many of those close to Elvis watched, Elvis was absolutely 100% C R U S H E D by the increasing lack of quality movies. Man even me being a fan opted to go to the movies with a large frosty beverage and a heart attack large popcorn just to walk into the theater knowing Elvis had to be, at times, embarrassed. But give the man credit he did his best and if he used drugs then, and many say he did, this isn’t funny but I don’t know how else he got through SOME of these movies.

I miss Elvis.

I miss Elvis as a living breathing example of a man using his god given talents and worked hard to pursue his craft and against all odds being a great, and successful, entertainer for three DECADES. There will never be another Elvis because there will never be circumstances that Elvis leaned on to inflect in his songs. Yeah he had a photographic memory, perfect tune, 4 1/2 octave range, incredible voice, and to everyone who saw him said “he looks even better in person”. WHAT? Did I catch that? Looks better in person? Man I can barely get a respectable FB self photo to look anything like me and this man takes photographs that are almost unworldly.

You know I have spent a great deal of my time this past years further cataloging, indexing, enhancing what is there, etc. photos. It has been a positive distraction while battling the “C” word and all that goes with that and I got news for you jack it ain’t kids games.

*** Note – I type exactly as fast as I think and that is why I have so many typographical errors and I don’t want anyone puzzled to my meaning as I use words in my writing that I use in real life so relax man it ain’t so bad

I miss Elvis knowing he never allowed his music to be altered. Enhanced. Digitally auto tuned. Or any of the state of the art software they have now that can make a cricket sing America the Beautiful on par with, as an example, Whitney Houston. Elvis MOVED on stage. He had real musicians. He had real hand picked singers. He sounded as good, if not better, in person than in recordings. Amazing then. Amazing now.

Well, for now I gotta go. God willing I’ll see you soon

Take care and may God bless you

Jeff Schrembs

 

 

Did Elvis cry? Answered

At first glance I dismissed this question which I received along with countless others each day about Elvis but then I thought about it and with my goal to always present facts and context I decided to answer with the understanding that this question was issued to me in good faith being curious about Elvis.

YES Elvis cried.

Elvis was human, He had dreams. He had insecurities. He had a temper. He cared. He was sensitive to the 9th degree. He knew loss. He knew great success. He never took his fans for granted and spent countless hours signing autographs and/or posing for photos. He was wholly unique being the by product of wholly unique parents. Wholly unique time in American history. Wholly unique in circumstances. etc.

The most visible time in Elvis life when he cried endlessly, and there are many photographs taken during this time including Elvis with Vernon on the steps of his home Graceland crying through a broken heart and a world collapsed, was when his beloved mother died Gladys Love (Smith) Presley on August 14, 1958. This unbarring pain he carried throughout his life.

But, Elvis and Gladys cried together when Elvis was served in person at his home in Memphis Tennessee the 3rd week of December 1957 with his United States Army Draft Notice. This shattered Gladys’ world and she could not bear to think about being away from her son. Her health, like was the case with Elvis, took a very visible toll as they wore their emotions on their sleeve. When they were happy it radiated. When he was mad it was palpable. When he cried it was soulful. A primitive place of sorrows.

Elvis put on a brave face for his mother, and the cameras, but he was heard crying in his cot by other US Army draftees on the train. On the plane. etc. It was at this time that he met Charlie Hodge who would become his lifelong friend and part of Elvis’ concerts with his guitar playing and harmony. In several documentary’s Charlie Hodge stated that he never hear the type of hurt that Elvis conveyed being separated from Gladys and facing the…unknown. Since Charlie was naturally funny, in addition to being a musician with some measure of success, he made it his goal to cheer Elvis up. In later years Elvis stated that without Charlies support/humor he would not of known if he could have gotten through it.

… to be continued

 

Praise for all involved in “Elvis Presley the searcher” (this blog post is part 1)

People ask, and question, me all the time about why Elvis? Who gives you the right to say your an expert? How do you know? To the following extreme of “you are the greatest”. “How are you old enough to know all about Elvis when you photo looks different (note – I do have to say, SOLELY because my experiences with being photographed is that maybe 1 out of 80044444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444 photos looks remotely like me), compliments are always appreciated and YES those are my recent photos and I make them and date them so my image is not used by anyone else which is coming more routine and I dislike that.

Even members of my own family mock, undermine, question, etc. my discussions about Elvis Presley. I could write a novel in response but to synthesize it and/or condense it I would say “I am part of an ever smaller generation who was the LAST to be alive during most if not all of Elvis’ career. Also, it was not always “cool” to like Elvis in the 60’s and 70’s and in the mid to later 70]s there was outright mockery. In fact there were so many social issues, hard core drug usage (to each their own but I’ve never), plethora of music/musicians, etc. to most teenagers Elvis had been a pioneer but his time had come and gone which I disagreed with”. Hence, when you combine being a lifelong fan, collecting Elvis records/etc. for decades, read so many different articles/newspapers/books about Elvis that span from fan hood to hatred. I always put an emphasis of context backed by facts.

There are many people of quality who are, whole and/or in part, experts concerning Elvis. Sadly, through the years so many have passed away and my hearts, prayers, and thoughts are always with the family/loved ones of those who have passed. Thus they are experts. Firsthand experts such as; Jerry Schilling, Billy Smith, Priscilla, Lisa Marie, Jack Soden, staff at Graceland/EPE, Linda Thompson, Ginger Alden etc. just to name a few (note I apologize if I have left anyone out). Secondly you have experts who have done extensive research about Elvis. These names come to mind; Alanna Nash, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Russ Howe, Steve Binder, Phil Arnold (we highly encourage you to check out his exceptional website of http://www.Elvisblog.net), and those we list on http://www.ElvisCollector.info on the “link” page.

I always knew, backed up by the music, that Elvis was wholly unique. That Elvis had been blessed. That Elvis was human. He knew great poverty. Great loss. He knew great success. Happiness. And he was a living breathing oxymoron as the contrast was vivid. That you could see in Elvis whatever you wanted. He was a mirror. You want to see a southern boy/man? Well Elvis is. You want to see passion? Yeah he had it? Talent? Check. A mean streak? Who doesn’t? He was the greatest entertainer who ever lived in every entertainment aspect but the fact that he is the greatest gospel singer, the most successful singer of Christmas music, and I could go on and on.

This post is part 1 about the exceptional HBO 2 part series entitled “Elvis Presley the searcher” and to everyone involved I say THANK YOU. GREAT JOB.

Take care and may God bless you always.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

Ask ME Elvis (3/2018) edition

Hello.

Here were go.

Was Elvis a drinker?   Yes. He drank water, Pepsi, sweet tea, coke, mountain valley spring water, peach bourbon (rarely), and screwdriver (rarely).

Was Elvis mean?  Could be. Elvis had a bona fide temper courtesy of his beloved mother Gladys. If you look into Elvis’ eyes, especially during the early concerts – tv appearances = movies – etc., you can see he has the propensity of getting mean in a second. His nickname of “fire eyes” was justified. Also, back in 56 when Elvis was sucker punched while at a gas station, Elvis was sitting in driver’s seat, Elvis got out and fought the older taller man and gave the dude a black eye, bruised cheek, scuffed nose, and a memory not to mess with Elvis.

Was Elvis strange?  Aggh?  Whaa? I invoke my old man Elvis can and refrain, respectfully, from answering. Remember to brush your teeth kids.

to be continued.

Elvis Presley and . . . Chess (Part 1)

 

Chess is a game that has been around (literally) thousands of years. It is thought to have primarily originated in India but components of China also lay claim. There is no confusion about Chess being played, studied, etc. in terms of military aspects with the “winner” limiting the opponents King so that it is trapped vertically, diagonally, and horizontally (i.e. checkmate) by one piece (the Queen) or combinations of other pieces such as; pawns, rooks, knights, and bishops. Basically, a class system summarized on a board.  Though I have played Chess all my life, and I am ok at it, it is a game that (up until the recent advent of high tech computers that can process thousands of calculations) is seldom mastered.

I encourage others to play chess for there are numerous benefits. You don’t need a lot of money and on computers, or with the assist of computers, you can play against a virtual opponent. Playing Chess forces one to look 1, 2, 3, etc. steps ahead which change fluidly in response to the opponents move(s).

Before I get to Elvis I want to make another point and that is since Chess is thousands of years old the game is over as specified herein but the Queen has the greatest power as she holds the greatest power, mobility, etc. I think it’s kinda cool that even back in the ages when women, in general, were second-class citizens that women (deservingly so) were openly given this status.

There are conflicting accounts of Elvis’ interest, or lack of, pertaining to Chess. But all agree that as an adult Elvis owned a Chess set as part of his decor. And everyone who knew Elvis, personally or professionally, remark about his quick wit, intelligence, photographic memory, etc some of which are great assets when it comes to playing Chess.

Pawns – in Chess there are more pawns (8) that any other pieces. The pawns represent the lowest class (not my opinion but in this context) but they can, in combination, be used to win the game known as “checkmate”.

Knights – they come in pairs and have a unique ability, or disability, wherein they move (forward or back) two spaces and then one space to the side. The name “Knights” is self-evident.

Bishops – they come in pairs and their unique ability (other than the Queen) is that they move diagonally, forward or backward, but they cannot deviate from the board color which they are initially placed before the game commences. The name “Bishop” is self-evident pertaining to a respected place in Christianity/Religion.

Rooks – they come in pairs and their unique ability (other than the Queen) whereby they can move forward or sideways in more than one space at a time. The name “Rook” is not known to me off the top of my head but it is sculptured in the form of a standing castle.

Queen – there is only one and as I have stated herein her powers are the greatest insofar as the ability to move (note – they do not have the power to move as the Knights do).

King – there is only one and every effort is made to protect the King. The King is limited to one space at a time.

Elvis Presley.

Pawn – To know Elvis you have to understand that he was born to parents who were not educated. I state this with great respect for Gladys and Vernon but it is a fact. They (Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon) were poor. Dirt poor. Bitterly poor. Without assets. Without means. Gladys could not read or write. She never had a drivers license.

What they lacked in education and means Gladys loved Elvis, as he did her, with her entire essence. Vernon loved Elvis but you just have to look at photographs, or videos, to see that Elvis is almost always touching Gladys when she is near. He holds her hand. He touches her face. He puts his arm around her.

SOLELY related to a class system in relation to Chess, and before Elvis gained monetary independence, the Presleys would be pawns. They have collective power. They cannot move freely as they are dictated to by their lack of means. Lack of education. Lack of political connections.

Knights – historically knights were sworn and dedicated (wholly) to the King. They were protectors. They had unique power and access. I would say that this is similar to the members of the “Memphis Mafia.

Bishops – since the name is historically rooted in Christianity the Bishop was assigned to look over their community. To be a person of honor. Of charity. A teacher of God, and when he walked the earth and afterward Jesus, to the rich and poor alike in their relationship with God. Though Elvis did not have a singular Bishop Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon (again before Elvis’ success) put great emphasis on their preacher/pastor very similar to a Bishop and they benefited from this pertaining to; church services, church gatherings, medical care, food/meals, as a fundamental social outlet

… to be continued

Elvis Presleys 83rd birthday 1/8/2018

BIRTHDAY 21           BIRTHDAY on his 25thBIRTHDAY with actors from Wild in the Country      BIRTHDAY with Delores Hart Elvis with cigar   1960 January 8 Elvis birthday in Germany in US Army rareraw at pianoBIRTHDAY set Wild

 

Elvis Presley was born 83 years ago today, January 8 1935, to Gladys Love (Smith) Presley and Vernon Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley is, was, and forever will be the greatest entertainer who ever lived. Fortunately, Elvis left behind three decades of exceptional works in; music, tv appearances, movies, and live concerts.

I believe that God grants us all blessings, talents, etc. for each of his is made by the hand and grace of God. Elvis pursued his talent(s) which was both brave and honorable. He never imagined, being born and raised in the throes of bitter poverty, that he could make a living signing let alone achieve the highest accolades in his various endeavors. I hope that everyone would pursue their talents/gifts for it stirs the…soul.

We are the last generation, as I have been an Elvis Presley fan these six decades now, who lived during Elvis’ lifetime. There is no substitution for that. It can’t be recreated for the decades in which Elvis lived were in periods of times that were wholly unique as was Elvis.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Elvis.

And a heartfelt thank you to Billy Smith, Alanna Nash, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Jerry Schilling, Russ Howe, Sandi Pichon, Martine Prizzo, Kathy Westmoreland, Linda Thompson, Paul Lichter, Phil Arnold, etc. I highly recommend that you seek out, support, obtain, tells others about, etc. the vast variety of exceptional works pertaining to Elvis’ life onstage and off.

Take care and may God bless you and yours always.

Jeff Schrembs