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Yesterday Dreams, Emotions Forever
(Visit to Memphis)

Sandra Santos, November 2000
Photos by Carlos Santos.

 Sandra em Memphis (2000). Sandra, in the hall of gold in Graceland.

In November last year (2000), my husband and I went to Memphis... once again... I never believed it would be possible...

I went there for the first time in 1997 with Celia Carvalho and Lu Ribeiro. How could I ever imagine, 13 years ago (when Elvis "entered" my life), that one day I'd be going to the United States to visit his house? I spent years and years just thinking about how my reaction would be, which emotions I would be feeling when I see the famous musical gates and find Graceland... As many photographs and videos I had seen, I didn't know for sure, what I was going to feel.

For someone who loves Elvis - and knows that cannot see him live - going to Graceland is, perhaps, the most strong and wonderful emotion you can have in "Elvis world", in my opinion.

1997 was the 20th Anniversary on his disappearance: thousands of people from all over the world were in Memphis, TV cameras and helicopters were everywhere filming everything, there were parties, activities, the famous Elvis In Concert (which was gorgeous!), etc. It was pretty exciting. Now, in November, due to the fact that no commemorative date was being celebrated, and it was very cold, I thought that maybe nobody would be there... but I was wrong! Several people from other countries (and American, too) were visiting Graceland. From what we could gather, it's like that throughout the year. I was very happy.

It was Carlos' first time there, and it didn't surprise me to see him moved when his eyes fell for the first time on the most visited house of the United States (after the White House). Neither the twinkle in his eyes, when he walked for the first time on Beale Street, the most famous blues street in the world, since he's a great blues fan; neither the thrill that he confessed having felt when he entered the Sun Studios where the King of Rock'n'Roll was born: Elvis Presley.

And all because, Memphis is...

There is a great and special meaning in each corner of the city, even when not directly connected to Elvis. It is very different from all the places I've already visited. We immediately could feel that Memphis is drenched in tradition.

It is not surprising that although Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, he always mentioned Memphis as his home. It is, without a doubt, an amazing town. If I never believed that one day I could go to Graceland, least of all I would dream that I'd visit a second time! And don't think that, for already knowing what was awaiting for me, I enjoyed it less: No! I enjoyed it as much as I did in 1997, only now I observed everything with a more slow pace. And, with less euphoria, I could notice things that I hadn't before, and imagine how things were 24 years ago. Elvis sitting on this white sofa, right there, in front of me, talking with Jerry Schilling; or Elvis descending these stairs that come from upstairs, running to go for a golf-cart ride in the garden! It's an unexplainable feeling.

What can you bring from Memphis, besides the memorabilia that you buy there? Just the memory of all the emotions that you feel - very well kept inside your heart, and no-one can take that away from you. You can also bring hope and the wish to return one day.

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