Acknowledging the Memphis Mafia (by Jeff Schrembs)
by Jeffrey Schrembs
YES, I readily admit that I am an Elvis Presley Fan/Advocate then — now — and always.
I take pride in defending Elvis' name against false rumors as well as writing online about Elvis' life onstage and off.
On August 16, 1977, it is fair to say, a part of me...died. The part that never believed that there would be a "life" (i.e. hearing new songs, attending concerts, reading about Elvis day to day, going to Graceland and hoping to see him drive up, etc.) without Elvis. A music industry without Elvis. Sadly, even after these 30+ years it is still "hard" to reconcile that Elvis is gone...and never coming back.
Recently I started to think about all of those that Elvis loved including family, friends, etc. and the effect that his life, and his death, must have had on them in 1977...and (equally as important) affects them today.
I realized that "man, it had to be hard" and then I thought "what about had too...it must be" and then I thought (light bulb over head alert) "if I neglected to think about it often then how many others have?" and then I thought..."write about it". So here goes.
To ALL of the Memphis Mafia, and to their family, I want you to know that we respect/appreciate the friendship/loyalty/love that you shared with Elvis AND we respect/appreciate all that you have done (publicly and privately) to keep Elvis' (factually correct) life/legacy "alive and well" AND it is my hope that after all these years that, through our words/actions, you know (the type that is beyond reproach) how much you have meant to us all these years.
Elvis shared his life, thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams, and most of all his TIME...with you. Time that I believe he knew, more than most, was fleeting. Each of you deserves a place of HONOR in the hearts/minds of Elvis Fans Worldwide for you have earned it through your actions...and inactions.
I wish that there was a PROPER VENUE/FORUM that would, formally and for the entire World to bear witness to, recognize you (personally and collectively) for your contributions to Elvis onstage...and off. I can say that if it were up to me you would be an important/active/respected part of Elvis' Estate (i.e. their plans, events, etc.) now...and forever.
Elvis' 75th birthday is fast approaching and with these specific dates (i.e. his birthday and August 16th) it must be a "semi-painful" reminder to you of your life with him. Please know that we share, in some small way, your pain but we will NEVER know the extent in which you and your family have been adversely affected. For that, and for other reasons, I take responsibility and say aloud...I AM SORRY.
To Marty Lacker, Red West, Sonny West, Billy Smith, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito, Jerry Schilling, etc. I wish you all nothing but happiness, success, and good health in all of your professional and personal endeavors.
I ENCOURAGE everyone in the Elvis Fan Community to join me in remembering each of you, supporting you in your endeavors that you choose to make public, and to respect/appreciate you in the most sacred of places...in our hearts.
To you, and to your family, I say GOD BLESS YOU ALL and thank you for...everything.
If there is EVER anything that I can do, personally or through our websites, etc., it would be my pleasure to do so.
I hope that, if you choose to do so, you continue to share your stories/thoughts/etc. with Elvis Fans Worldwide for your insight is important and your memories...priceless.
I must make a "special acknowledgement" to Marty Lacker who continues to take the time to "correct" erroneous stories about Elvis online. Over the past year I have come across over (10) ten "major stories" that Marty Lacker has "corrected" and I applaud his efforts as I am sure millions of Elvis Fans do but (sadly) don't take the time to formally say..."thanks".
With each passing day (sadly) we grow older and the opportunity to convey our thoughts, to the members of the Memphis Mafia, grow ever shorted. So, if any member of the Memphis Mafia should come across this posting please forward it to the others so they know how much I/we respect/appreciate them and have now...for decades. Please don't confuse our "silence" in conveying our respect/appreciation as anything other than assuming that our respect/appreciation was "known". However, as my GrandFather used to say "unless you say it...I don't hear it" so (again)THANK YOU so much for everything!
To those whose names I omitted please accept my apology for it was not my intent to diminish your role/life with Elvis but I (over the years) have watched/read/etc. everything that those mentioned above have made available and therefore I acknowledge them herein. I will make an effort, in future postings, to ensure that I include the names of all living members of the Memphis Mafia so please excuse my ommission during the interim.
Lastly, to Marty Lacker, Red West, Sonny West, Billy Smith, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito, and Jerry Schilling may 2010 be a glorious year for each of you and may we (i.e. the millions of Elvis Presley Fans Worldwide) strive to honor you and thank you publicly now...and always.
Take care and God bless.
*** Note: Jeff Schrembs is recovering from an accident and this article was "unfinished" but his family knew he wanted it published on or about 1/8/2010 so please disregard any spelling/grammatical errors ***