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It is truly phenomenal to see the outpouring of love shown for someone who passed away so many years ago. Elvis will live forever in our hearts and our memories.

—Hilda Obusek



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Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. He was only 42 years old and his fans were stunned. In the years following his death, his grieving fans would visit Graceland during the week of August 16 to continue to show their love and respect for their favorite entertainer. As the years passed, sorrow gradually turned to acceptance, and with acceptance came the realization that fans should celebrate Elvis’ life and music, instead of dwelling on his death.

The week of August 16th is now known as “Elvis Week”. Fans gather in Memphis to celebrate the music, the memories and the magic of Elvis. It is a party-like atmosphere and all events center around Elvis. Everyone is very friendly. Elvis fans are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. During “Elvis Week”, many new friendships strike up and it is common for these people to become good friends, keep in touch and meet again the following year in Memphis.

The city becomes a non-stop party and the fun never stops! There are concerts featuring Elvis’ former singers and band members. Fans can visit Graceland, Sun Studios and various museums. There are fabulous souvenir shops and great restaurants. Regardless of whether or not you are an Elvis fan, there is so much to see and do in Memphis during Elvis week.

2002 marked the 25th Anniversary of the death of Elvis, and thousands of fans from around the world flocked to Memphis. Across the street from Graceland, a tent and stage were set up at Graceland Crossing. Elvis Tribute Artists (ETA’s) were selected to perform during the week, and it was quite an honor to be chosen. While performing at the tent, ETA’s are not permitted to wear jumpsuits. (Pictures 1, 2 and 3 show Don at Graceland Crossing)

Picture 4 shows Priscilla Presley on stage at “The Pyramid”, for the special “Elvis the 25th Anniversary Concert”. (Someone sitting next to me gave me a copy of this picture. Unfortunately, we were sitting so far from the stage, that the picture is not very clear). Lisa Marie also attended the concert. She wrote a song for her dad, titled “You’re Still Lovely”. Lisa did not feel up to singing, so the video of the song was shown on the screen. It was very nice, very touching. If you have not seen “Elvis the Concert”, please try to do so. This amazing concert "stars" the real Elvis Presley via wide screen video, featuring footage from Elvis’ concerts shown on a large screen. His actual band members are playing live, on stage. The technology of this event is totally awesome. You see Elvis on the large screen, appearing to talk to his actual band members. As the concert progresses, you get totally caught up in the excitement of the show, and it is very realistic. It seems like Elvis is actually on stage, giving the greatest performance of his career! When the concert is over, you feel good that you got to see something so incredibly amazing, but at the same time, you feel sad, because it was all an illusion and Elvis is no longer with us.

Picture 5 shows a photo from the “25th Anniversary Farewell Tribute Concert”. It was another “Good Rockin” event, featuring members of the TCB band: James Burton, Glen Hardin, Jerry Scheff and Ronnie Tutt. There was a special appearance by the great TCB guitarist John Wilkinson. (We had the pleasure of meeting John at the “We Remember Elvis Fan Club Convention” in Pittsburgh, see Picture 6) Special guests at the Farewell Concert also included: Kathy Westmoreland, Charlie Hodge, Terry Mike Jeffrey, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling and D. J. Fontana. For this concert, our seats were way in the back of the room, so my pictures from this event are dark and not very clear. Sorry! A very special appearance was made by Sam Phillips of Sun Studios (Sam has since passed away).

Picture 7 is of me (Don’s manager/wife, Hilda), Don and Mr. Bernard Lansky – “The Clothier to the King”! In the 50’s, Elvis started to purchase his flashy outfits from the Lansky Brothers. He remained a lifelong friend and customer. At the present time, the “Lansky Brothers Men’s Shop” is located in the lobby of the Memphis Peabody Hotel.

Speaking of the Memphis Peabody, in addition to visiting the “Lansky Brothers Shop”, a “must see” event is the “Peabody Marching Ducks”. These ducks are a national icon! Everyday, at 11 am, a red carpet is rolled out from a special elevator to a marble fountain in the lobby, and the ducks march along the red carpet and hop into the fountain. At promptly 5 pm, the procedure is reversed and the ducks march back to the elevator, to their special apartment. I can’t believe we stood in line for 45 minutes to watch ducks waddle to a fountain, but we did, and I even got some photos! (Picture 8 - Ducks leaving the elevator; Picture 9 – Don and I at the Fountain)

Picture 10 is of Don and Mike Frazier, our favorite DJ from 3WS radio station in Pittsburgh. Mike was at the Peabody with a group of Pittsburgh fans. Picture 11 shows Don with Donna Presley Early – one of Elvis’ cousins that we met at a convention.

Picture 12 - Don at the Holiday Inn.

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The highlight of the week is the Candle Light Vigil. Thousands of fans line the street in front of Graceland. As they approach the entrance to Graceland, they are given a candle and slowly walk up the long driveway to the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and other family members are buried. This is a very solemn event. As fans near the garden, they are very quiet and respectful as they pay their respects to Elvis. The Meditation Garden has water fountains and a statue of Jesus - it is very beautiful, very peaceful and serene. Floral bouquets line the driveway – these bouquets are from friends, fans and fan clubs from all around the world. In front of the simple graves, people leave flowers, teddy bears and others items as a symbol of their continuing love for Elvis.

It is truly phenomenal to see the outpouring of love shown for someone who passed away so many years ago. Elvis will live forever in our hearts and our memories.

Due to various factors, including preparation and number of shows we do a year, plus serious health problems of family members, I have not had time to update our web site in several years. There were many other things I wanted to mention about Elvis Week 2002, but unfortunately, there was a torrential downpour the night of the 2002 vigil. I got caught in the rain and my purse, containing my notebook with important notes got soaked and was totally ruined. Being as that I am writing this 2 years later, I am trying to remember these events from memory, and I apologize if I misspelled anyone’s name or got any facts incorrect! Those of you who know us, know that we are always having “adventures”, (or should I say mis-adventures??) and 2002 was probably the best adventure yet!

Speaking of "adventures," earlier in the day we were having lunch at the local Wendy's when 2 patrons got into a violent argument and ran outside for their GUNS! (The Wendy's staff called the police and hid behind the counter. Everyone else wisely ran for their car!)

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Then, during the vigil, Don and I somehow got separated from each other. (I still wonder if he was purposely trying to lose me!) He told me I should run to the souvenir store and that he would watch for me. I recently had laser eye surgery and couldn't see well at night. I didn't think that was such a good idea, but Don assured me he would be able to find me. Yeah, right. When I came back from the souvenir shop, I tried to find Don, but it was hopeless. There were now several thousand people in line and I couldn't see him! I was frantic. Then, it started to rain hard, and the street started to flood. I was lost, in the dark, in a torrential downpour, in a strange city, dragging $500 worth of bags of souvenirs through 8 inches of water. I was NOT a happy camper!! After searching for Don for a long time, I finally gave up and made my way up to the rental car, assuming Don would be waiting in the car, but he wasn't. Of course, I did not have keys to the car!

I waited at least another hour, hoping Don would make it to the car. I have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which is the opposite of diabetes. You need to eat every couple of hours or you will get sick and pass out. I could tell I was on my way to getting extremely sick, as I hadn't eaten in 7 or 8 hours. There was not a taxi in sight. I considered my options - I could either pass out and someone could possibly rob me (and steal all my souvenirs!!) or I could take my chance on having a stranger drive me to our hotel, and hope that I would arrive safely. I found what I hoped was an honest stranger, and I gave him $50 to drive me to our hotel, which was only a 10 minute drive. Thankfully, he was a good person and I arrived safe - beyond drenched, totally frantic and miserable, but at least I and my souvenirs were safe!. I was horribly worried about Don - I was afraid something happened to him. It was the absolute worst night of my life. Several hours later, Don managed to make it back to the room, TOTALLY DRY. As soon as it started to rain, he figured he would find me at the souvenir shop, and he waited for me there. I was happy he was safe, but then got furious that he was dry and didn't think to go to the car. But that is a story for another day!! I eventually decided to start speaking to him again, and several months later, we actually managed to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary without any other major incidents.....!

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Welcome Fans

Photos 1-3 above:Don at Graceland Crossing

Elvis sign 4 - Priscilla Presley on stage at "The Pyramid"

Farewell Tribute Concert 5 - 25th Anniversary Farewell Tribute Concert

John Wilkinson6 - John Wilkinson

7 - Hilda & Don with Bernard Lansky

8 - Ducks leaving the elevator

Don and Hilda
9 - Don and Hilda

10 - Don & Mike Frazier

11 - Don with Donna Presley Early

Don Obusek
12 - Don at the Holiday Inn


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This Site Copyright of Don and Hilda Obusek, "Tribute to the Magic of Elvis" ©2005 All Contents Property of Hilda Obusek