More Of Michael In Memphis: A Very Special Story


A big thank you to morinen for sending these extra goodies to add to “Michael In Memphis.” I intended to add these to “Michael In Memphis”  but didn’t have enough space left, so I just decided to make a new post. Anyway, this is a very special story that I think deserves its own recognition!

But first, here’s an interesting souvenir left by Michael and Lisa Marie after their Memphis zoo visit. Hmmm…a little MJ/LMP humor, maybe?

And, turns out, there was a correlation between the St. Jude’s hospital visit and the Dutch fans in the record store. Remember the Dutch fan in the video, Jeroen Noppen, and the little girl with Michael and Lisa in the St. Jude’s video? Well, there was a very sad but touching story about the aftermath of that visit, and one that shows just what a generous and huge heart Michael had:

The other side of Michael Jackson

By Noppie  |  Posted February 27, 2010  

iReport — In October 1994 I organised a special tour to Memphis for Dutch Elvis Fans to attend the Elvis Aaron Tribute Concert in the Pyramid. We were aware of the fact that Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley would be present. Through my contacts at Graceland, I informed if there would be a possibility to meet the couple. But, they told me that that would be impossible. No person could meet the famous couple. We met in Memphis all kind of other famous artists and stars. On October 8th, we attended the concert in the Pyramid and, indeed, Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Presley were introduced by John Stamos to the audience. They were there with Priscilla Presley and Janet Jackson. The audience went mad and this was a special moment. This tribute concert was one of a kind and very special. We met in our hotel, the former Ramada Inn down at Union Avenue, a mother who was there with two children. One of the children was suffering cancer and the child would be treated at the St. Judes Hospital in Memphis. It was very hard to see that young girl, knowing that her life would end soon. Later, during our stay in Memphis, we visited a record-store in Memphis. Suddenly we were surprised and astonished. Who walked in that store? Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley with a couple of body-guards! Of course my group went crazy, but I told them to keep quiet. I walked to one of the bodyguards and told him that I was a travel-agent and had 14 Dutch Elvis Fans with me and asked if it would be possible to take a picture from Michael and Lisa Marie. The body-guard went to Michael. Talked with him shortly, returned to me and asked; “where you from?” I responded “Holland, the Netherlands”.  Again, the bodyguard went to Michael and spoke shortly with him, returned to me and said; “No problem to take a picture, but let them first alone and do their shopping.” After a while, the bodyguard came up to me and told me that we could take some pictures. We took our cameras and position to take some pictures. Michael and Lisa Marie stood posing for us. Suddenly, the bodyguard came up to me and said; “What are you doing?” I was surprised and answered; “You told us, it was alright to take some pictures?”. The man answered; “Yes, but you can also say hello and talk with them.” So, the strange thing happened. We met Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. We talked with them for more than 20 minutes, could take pictures and let them sign cd’s. I spoke with Michael and I told him that I attended two of his concerts in ‘De Kuip’ in Rotterdam in 1988. He answered; “Oh, yes Amsterdam”.  But later he himself corrected it in said; “No, no it was Rotterdam.”  Also he was amazed that I knew that his tricks came from Siegfried and Roy. It was all amazing. He was shy, but relaxed. We could take pictures and also to the other people from my group, he was friendly. With Lisa Marie I spoke about the fact that I organised tours fro Dutch Elvis fans to Memphis and that I met her mother, Priscilla, a couple of times and the first one, was in Amsterdam. Other people were not allowed to come nearby and were surprised why we could talk with Michael and Lisa Marie. After more than 20 minutes we said goodbye and the couple left the store and left us behind. We went immediately to a photo shop and let our special photos printed. This was amazing. In Holland the news spread and we reached the media. The next day, I went by at Graceland. Bridget, receptionist at the office at that time, welcomed me and I showed her the pictures. She almost fell of her chair. “Wow!” And she screamed and yelled. I gave her one of the pictures. Later, I learned, that she placed the picture on her office-desk and that Priscilla Presley noticed this and also wanted a copy of that picture. Our meeting with Michael and Lisa Marie was special. We were the only people, who were allowed to meet and talk with them. But, I already mentioned the woman who was in the hotel with her little girl! The last evening in Memphis, my best friend, Gerwin, came in the room late in the evening. I was already asleep and wondered what he was doing with that woman. He woke me up and I saw that the woman was crying. Gerwin told me that I must do something and arrange some things. First I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Then came the story. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley visited the St. Judes Hospital in Memphis and had also little gifts for the children. They also gave the little daughter of the woman we had met in our hotel a Barbie. But, this doll was stolen and although the girl was only 3 or 4 years, she knew that this was something special and she cried, cried and cried. Giving her just another doll would be no option. My friend knew I had my contacts at Graceland and wanted me to do something for this little girl. At that moment I could do nothing and early that next morning we flew back to Amsterdam. We gave that mother a couple of the pictures of our meeting with Michael and Lisa Marie and I told her, that I would try to do anything to take care of this matter. Back in Holland, I immediately send a fax to Patsy Andersen, at that moment PR Manager of Graceland, and explained the story. She told me, she would try to contact Michael Jackson as soon possible. Every day, my friend Gerwin, asked me if I already had heard something. I told him that it would be probably easier to get in touch with the President of the USA, than with Michael Jackson. On Christmas Eve, 1994, my telephone rang. It was Bridget from Graceland. For me it was not uncommon that I was called by Graceland and I thought that they wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas. I spoke shortly with Bridget and she connected me with Patsy. Patsy told me that she had good news and bad news. The good news was that Michael finally responded and had sent a box with gifts for that little girl. Patsy immediately went to the hospital. When she came to the St. Judes Hospital she learned that the little girl passed away, the day before! Patsy traced through the hospital the address from the mother. Patsy informed Michael Jackson. As I learned later, Michael received this shocking news and sent another package with gifts to the mother and the other child and also he called himself that woman. He apologized and spoke a long time with that woman. This is a very rare, but real, story about the other side of Michael Jackson and I wish I could get in contact again with that woman.

Thank you again, morinen, for finding and sharing that wonderful story!

5 thoughts on “More Of Michael In Memphis: A Very Special Story”

  1. A beautiful story. I wish the little girl had got her gift in time :-/ Another interesting thing is that this story is on CNN but no comments on this one.

    Raven, I wanted to share a lovely essay written after about a week after Michael’s death. I am amazed at the depth and understanding of some true MJ admirers. I have read gr8 many things but this was something so special, here you go.

    Quotable quotes from this essay:
    “Everybody is clear about the quality of the love they felt for him, and how it was rooted in his capacity to connect to the broken part of every human being, every person who has ever been mocked for anything. ”

    “The disapproving commentariat that never got enough of flogging his differentness was now forced to sit like blocks of wood at their broadcast desks while half the world donned pieces of costume that brought them as close as possible to the man they called a freak. ”

    “It was very easy to mock him, and everybody did. It seemed they hoped their mockery might lessen his magical powers, but he was only shackled in their prison for a time. They forgot that. His death unleashed all the trapped and thwarted energies — love blocked, and then released, can blow out the side of a mountain.”

    “Don’t they understand: We don’t care. We’ll take him bald, emaciated, scarred, skeletal, and dead. We understand this to be the price he paid for the velocity of what he had to deliver. An artist’s body is like a house after a storm. ”

    “When the press now ogles Michael Jackson’s bald, emaciated, skeletal, scarred corpse, they’re looking at their best work and their only work: Destruction.
    His work on the other hand, is done once and done forever: Creation.”

    1. That speaks volumes and though they return again to pick at his remains to assault the legacy of his work, to diminish his lustrous affect still resonating throughout the earth lo these many decades. He arises anew like a Phoenix more Brilliant than before. He is eternally Free now and Forever LOVED.

  2. ““Don’t they understand: We don’t care. We’ll take him bald, emaciated, scarred, skeletal, and dead. We understand this to be the price he paid for the velocity of what he had to deliver. An artist’s body is like a house after a storm. ”

    “When the press now ogles Michael Jackson’s bald, emaciated, skeletal, scarred corpse, they’re looking at their best work and their only work: Destruction.
    His work on the other hand, is done once and done forever: Creation.”

    I’m quoting this excerpt again because this was a part of the article that really stood out to me the most. I love that someone was finally able to express this so eloquently. We-Michael’s fans-do NOT CARE-if he was all of those things because the love Michael’s fans have for him is unconditional. It’s a phenomenon I’ve ever only truly witnessed with MJ fans and their unique relationship with Michael. The press has continuoulsy tried to undermine that and tear it down, as if thinking we will somehow care less if we know he had to wear a wig in his last years, or if-God forbid-he might have actually had more than two nose jobs, that he had to resort to extreme measures to treat a skin disease, by playing and re-playing audio recordings of him in a drugged state, by displaying death photos and autopsy photos that depict him in all his vulnerable rawness for the morbid masses. They keep trying to dish it out, and the fans’ love comes back a thousandfold every time. It’s something they cannot kill, though they keep trying.

    To be honest, I have been researching Michael Jackson’s life for a long time now. There is very little that would truly shock me or change my love for him, and I mean that in a good way. I’m aware of most of his human foibles and little human weaknesses. I am aware that-just like P.T. Barnum-there was always a little more than what met the public eye. To me, it all only makes him all the more interesting, and human. In the end, as this writer said, it is all about what he CREATED, not what was DESTROYED. I love that!

    The only thing I could ever learn about Michael that would change or color my feelings about him would be to know that he was guilty of what he was accused, and that is not liklely to happen since the evidence doesn’t support it. Other than that…who really cares about the rest?

    1. What is interesting Raven is that this was written after just a week of this death…I love his true OLD fans! One more thing that stood out for me…was the author saying “Love, that is withheld will burst with the force of a mountain when unleashed”. The relentless persecution and stigma to Michael’s name made it hard for people to express love for this man…upon his death that torrent was released and that explains the reaction to Michael’s death that on so many levels was unprecedented.

      Coming to ur point about loving Michael warts and all…so true…I would have loved to see the faces of these destroyers when Michael’s This is it concert tour sold in Guiness world record time! heheheh! They cud not turn his fans away…:-)

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