I by no means met Lisa Marie Presley. However we have been children collectively. At the least, it feels that method.

I’ve by no means heard a single tune of hers, and I did not sustain on her superstar comings and goings. However nonetheless, I am unhappy in regards to the demise of a 54-year-old girl I by no means knew.

Perhaps it is a Gen X or Seventies child factor. Once I was little, she was one of many few children within the public eye who wasn’t a baby actor. Grownup celebrities got here and went, however right here was Lisa Marie, one other lady about my age, with a public face and identify. Like me, she did not have a starring half in films or TV exhibits. As a substitute, there’d be the occasional photograph of her dolled up in a Christmas gown or one thing, posing together with her well-known sideburned dad, who liked her a lot he named his airplane after her.

Elvis’ airplane was named Lisa Marie for his daughter.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Dads and daughters

Solidarity, sister — I additionally had a sideburned dad. It was the Seventies; most each child had a sideburned dad. Our sideburned dads weren’t world-famous singers identifiable solely by their first identify, and did not have planes they named after us. However they undoubtedly posed for awkward household images wanting uncomfortably sweaty and with big lapels on their jackets, identical to Elvis. 

Even her identify marked her as one in all us. The 12 months I used to be born, “Lisa” was the preferred baby-girl identify in America, and “Marie” actually appeared like one of the vital fashionable center names. I’ve near a dozen buddies named “Lisa” to this present day. Gen X nursing houses can have a whole Lisa wing if they need sometime, catering solely to aged Lisas. Perhaps a couple of Kims and Amys.

The Seventies have been this nation’s awkward age, and it was form of an unpleasant time to be a child. Occasions — the Vietnam Battle, Watergate — have been grim. The sights we surrounded ourselves with weren’t significantly better: orange shag carpet, avocado home equipment, bell-bottoms. 

Have you learnt the place your youngsters are? Nope!

Seventies children weren’t catered to the best way they’re now. The memes are proper: Your mother and father kicked you out of the home on a summer time morning and did not anticipate to see you once more till dinner. 

If Mother wanted you in between that point, good luck. You could be enjoying kickball, or smoking in anyone’s clubhouse, or rambling alongside the railroad tracks choosing burrs out of your Toughskins, or knee-deep in a pond poking at a useless fish, or risking tetanus enjoying seize the flag in a junkyard. You could be having a blast, you could be being bullied, you could be bored out of your cranium. Your mother and father by no means knew, they usually weren’t going to ask.

There was no social media after all, no “influencers.” Only a few children my age have been well-known. Lisa Marie was one in all them. 

Graceland’s Seventies-style kitchen is eternally frozen in time, and appears so much just like the one I grew up with, a thousand miles and plenty of tens of millions of {dollars} away.

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Dropping her dad

Lisa Marie had form of dropped from the highlight by the point her father, Elvis, died in 1977. In fact, it was enormous, world-shaking information. Big headlines and information experiences have been all over the place. Elvis was deservedly mourned as a legendary singer.

However one thing in me remembered that little lady within the images, and knew that whereas the world could have misplaced an entertainer, there was a child my age who misplaced her dad. 

She was 9. I used to be 9. My dad was no Elvis, and he did not have a airplane to call after me. We did not have Elvis cash, or first-class air journey or fancy houses.   

However Lisa Marie and I have been each 9, and I bought to show 10, and 11, and 16, and 25, and 40, and my dad was nonetheless round, providing recommendation and cracking dangerous dad jokes and exhibiting up at my college features. Clapping for me at performs, instructing me to drive, strolling me down the aisle, cooing at my child daughter. Lisa Marie did not get that. Tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} could not purchase that.

That Graceland swing set

Lisa Marie wove out and in of headlines after I bought older. Her life appeared extra unreal and sophisticated than these easy dad-and-daughter images of the Seventies. She turned a mother after I was nonetheless ending up faculty and making an attempt to determine a path. She married Michael Jackson, and later, Nicolas Cage. She’d come a great distance from her girlhood days. We clearly had little or no in widespread in addition to our start years.

However after I visited Graceland in 2017, I felt a kinship with Lisa Marie once more. Graceland is a giant home, however it’s not a Kardashian-style mansion. It felt immediately acquainted — a goofy, considerably awkwardly embellished home of the Seventies, with shag carpet and hulking tube TVs and a recreation room with a material ceiling and a rip within the pool-table canvas the place some household pal tried a trick and tousled. 

The metallic crimson, white and blue Seventies-style swing set out again seemed so much like 1,000,000 swing units I might performed on. We lived by way of the bicentennial collectively, Lisa Marie and me, and the whole lot was painted crimson, white and blue.

Did this Graceland swing set belong to Lisa Marie? The fashion and bicentennial colour scheme is definitely recognizable to any Seventies child.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Lisa Marie led a sophisticated life. The luxuries she knew and the challenges she skilled, good and dangerous, are ones I am going to by no means perceive. However her early, harmless fame burned so huge and so vibrant that I by no means forgot her. In the long run, she was a mother and daughter, a singer and songwriter, a businesswoman — she was many issues. 

However my Gen X coronary heart will mourn her because the little child with the sideburned dad, who misplaced him method too quickly.

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