Yesterday was the anniversary of Elvis' death. I was almost ten when he died and I remember it. I remember it because my mother was a fan. When Elvis died in 1977 my mother was barely past thirty. Elvis was only 42. These numbers seem quite small to me now as I am stuck somewhere between them.
My mother was a fan, but I don't recall her weeping or sobbing refusing to be consoled over the news that the King was dead. I don't think she ever had the urge to go to Graceland or light a candle in his memory. I just remember her going about her daily duties that summer day - probably snapping beans, washing dishes, or working out in the garden with my grandmother. I do recall the TV being on and the commentary on Elvis' death. Mom had her own commentary. She thought it a shame that a talented man got hooked on drugs. She remarked that he had needed someone in his life to set him straight. And that was it.
In the pantheon of celebrity gods Elvis is one of the saints. Graceland is a shrine. I have no idea how a celebrity gets canonized into the sainthood. It would seem to have something to do with how many fans mourn and how much merchandise they buy after your death. If one really wants to learn how a celebrity joins the sainthood keep an eye on the rise of Dale Earnhardt. I noticed a T-shirt yesterday that depicted a scene of St. Dale watching over NASCAR from heaven surrounded by his mystical number "3."
My mother was a fan, but she wasn't fanatical. She simply lamented the loss. People like her are lousy customers for the sainthood market.