Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tia Fina, Elvis, and me by Carmen Santiago

I remember it well. It was June, in the summer of 1972. I was 16 years old, in high school and living in New York City. I had just gotten home from school and my mother said to me, "Tia Fina has a surprise for you." Tia Fina was my beautiful aunt. I looked at my mom and wondered, what could it be? I began to think and I remembered that Elvis was in town. Suddenly I realized what the surprise was. I knew I was going to see Elvis Presley at Madison Square Garden. My aunt had bought tickets. That was the kind of woman my aunt was. Always wanting to make others happy. Well I jumped so high and with so much enthusiasm that I landed in the next room.

I became an Elvis fan at a very young age. The first song I ever heard him sing was "Kissin Cousins". I was 9 years old and I was in love. Well, I was right. Seeing Elvis in New York City was destined to be the grooviest thing ever.

The day came, Saturday, June 10th, 1972. As I boarded the D train in the Bronx to meet my aunt at  the 59th street station, I looked at my watch and it was later than I thought. I began to worry that we would not arrive in time. My heart started beating faster in anticipation. I knew it was only a short time before I would see Elvis.

I met my aunt and we soon arrived together at Madison Square Garden. It was so exciting. I had never been there before. Elvis' name was flashing in big lights at the entrance. There was so many people! We rode the escalator to the very top and we went in. I looked down at the stage and there he was. As big as life. We had arrived late and missed the opening act, but who cared? We didn't. We just wanted to see Elvis and we did arrive just in time to see his entire performance.

He was wearing a white beaded jumpsuit with a long gold scarf around his neck. The music began to play and he began to sing, "That's Alright Mama." I felt as if I was floating. It was a dream come true. I could not hear anything other than the music and his voice. He sang so many songs that night, "Polk Salad Annie", "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "Proud Mary". He was so handsome and so talented. I spent the rest of the evening with a smile on my face, just enjoying this great man and his wonderful music. It is one of those very fond memories I have of growing up. I will never forget where I was or what I was doing on Saturday, June 10, 1972.

Thank you Tia Fina, for all you did not just for me, but for everyone. Love is an action word and you were full of action. I miss you so much. Thank you Elvis for your music and your films and your smile. I miss you too very much . The world is a better place because of the both of you!

Written by Carmen Santiago, Guest Groovy Reflections Blogger


Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your blog Carmen! I was raised in Las Vegas and have my own Elvis story that I'll share sometime. As for now, I have a huge smile on my face feeling what you felt!

Mary in Alabama

PaulD said...

Wow, great story Carmen, It's great having memories of people we knew and people we didn't that both touched our lives. It makes me remember some special people, thanks for sharing

lynn said...

Great story Carmen! Elvis has always been a source of great pride for those of us born and raised in Mississippi. It's always fun to hear how he touched so many lives...your story put a smile on my face too!