Love Me Tender – Will I Really Love You Forever?

elvis-presley-gty-jef-170816_16x9_992

Love me Tender was a song made popular by Elvis Presley in 1956.  Elvis was credited as one of the writers of the song along with Vera Matson but apparently it was really written by Ken Darby.  Ken Darby is one of the most interesting and successful musicians who ever lived but surprisingly he never achieved wide popularity.  The music was composed by George R. Poulton an English musician and composer born in 1828.  The original music was used for a Civil War ballad.  For more on Ken Darby go to Wikipedia.  I looked for a biography of him on Amazon but it seems none have been written.  Among the amazing attributes of his career is his sixty-year marriage to Vera Matson.   In Hollywood, a sixty-year marriage stands in my mind as a far greater achievement than winning an Oscar although Ken won three Academy Awards for his music scoring.

aa5028c6f162f4cb693880f8f6a024c4Elvis recorded this song at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles on a 7” single format.  The publishing label was RCA Victor.  The song became so popular that it was used as the title for an Elvis movie for which the song was written.  It went on to become a number 1 hit on the pop charts and has since been used in numerous movies and sung by hundreds if not thousands of other recording artists.

I reflect back on Elvis and though I was only ten years old when he achieved fame and fortune, I associate him most with his rock and roll songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Jail House Rock” and “Hound Dog Man.”  It is now almost 65 years later and I hardly if ever listen to any of these old rock songs but “Love Me Tender” seems timeless.

It is interesting to think about the character of a man who could sing such beautiful ballads as well as songs as fluffy and mindless as “Hound Dog Man.”  Elvis was one of many tragedies in the world of pop music.  Talent beyond measure but sacrificed to the almighty dollar.  A man exploited by an industry who was in many ways a child that never grew up.  His collision between meaning and materiality led to his death at the age of only 42.  The King joined the list of too many other performers who have had their lives cut short by a contradictory desire for fame and fortune and significance.

DSC_0004I was on my cell phone a day or so ago talking with some old friends about another friend.  One of my best friends in the world of management consulting was a wonderful woman named Dr. Hana Tomasek.  Hana had emigrated from Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) after the Russian invasion in 1968.  The Russians invaded to put down the political liberalization known as the Prague Spring.  Hana escaped Czechoslovakia with her husband Jara on a secret journey in the middle of the night across the border and to freedom in a non-communist country.  Hana and Jara left everything behind and eventually arrived in the United States for sanctuary.  Years later they achieved their dreams of citizenship in the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”  Hana is one of the most patriotic citizens of the USA that you would ever meet.  Sadly, Jara passed away many years ago and Dr. Tomasek (She is very proud of her degree) is now suffering from dementia and lives in a nursing home in Spring Park, Minnesota.

woman scuba diverAfter discussing Hana’s health with the two friends I know, both who regularly visit with her, I was suddenly struck with the need to listen to Elvis’s version of “Love Me Tender.”  Somehow, talking about Hana I associated my feelings for her with this song.  Hana was a friend and mentor to me at the consulting firm of Process Management International which I joined after graduating with my Ph.D. degree in 1986 from the University of Minnesota.  Hana and I became good friends after working together with a number of clients.  Hana was by far the more knowledgeable and capable as a management consultant and she taught me much about how to be successful in the field.  Karen and I eventually got to know Hana and Jara on a personal basis and it has been a rewarding friendship.  It saddens me very much to see how frail and fragile she has become when I think of the strong virile person she once was.  She was an avid skier, sailor and scuba diver.  Hana made over 600 dives throughout the world.  Each year for many years she would go skiing in the Alps or in Colorado.

Here is how I relate “Love Me Tender” to Hana as a friend.  I think this song is fitting for so many good friends that we might have and never want to “let” go.

If you want to play the song as you read the following, click on the link “Love Me Tender.”

Love me tender, love me sweet

Never let me go

You have made my life complete

And I love you so

When someone dies, do they let you go?  I think of Hana who will soon leave this earthly plane and will go away.  I don’t want her to go.  I love her as friend who was intelligent and loyal and trustworthy and compassionate and caring and who tolerated my foibles and my stupidity.  She helped make my life as complete as anyone can who truly accepts you for who you are.  I never heard a word of reproval from Hana for anything I ever said or did.  Hana was a very honest and direct woman, but she was always beyond kind and thoughtful towards me.

Love me tender, love me true

All my dreams fulfill

For, my darling I love you

And I always will

I love Hana with what Aristotle called Philia Love.  Aristotle defined this kind of love as “affectionate love.” In other words, it is the kind of love that you feel for your close friends.  We have shared so many wonderful moments with Hana and her friends.  Every year she would have a big 4th of July party to celebrate her coming to America and the birth of our country.  She had a house overlooking Medicine Lake and her ski boat moored to a dock where you could take a dip in the water or go for a ride with Hana on her lake.  Later in the day, her friend Cecil would set up with his band and play calypso music that we could all dance too.  The culmination of the day would be Hana’s speech about what America meant to her and how life had been in America for her.  She was always heartfelt and inspiring.

“Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.”  ― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

The house that I was sure she would die in is now sold.  Many of her friends have moved elsewhere or passed away.  I ran into Cecil at a friend’s home in Puerto Penasco a year or so ago.  It was quite a coincidence since I had no knowledge that Cecil would be there or even that he knew where Puerto Penasco was.  We talked about Hana and the good times we had with her.  A few days ago, I started thinking of what kind of a memorial I could help setup for Hana when she passes.  I was doing some online searches when I came upon Hana’s name several times.  I was surprised to find that Hana had done some print memorials for a friend of ours who died 27 years ago.  I guess there is a circle to life and what was once the past for us then becomes our present and future.

Love me tender, love me dear

Tell me you are mine

I’ll be yours through all the years

‘Till the end of time

If there is no time or if time only exists on clocks and in our minds, perhaps we will all share some space in the future, where we can once again join those whom we loved and cared for.  I am dubious of this potential (some would call it heaven), but I have learned that death does not end the lives of those we love.  Death only ends their physical existence.  There is an existence that continues for as long as we live.  It is the memories of the person we knew in various phases of our lives.  We may remember them as lovers, friends or relatives.  We remember the events we shared and the days when we were young together and the days when we were old together.  We remember the sick days with them and the days when we were exuberant and bursting with energy.  We remember the hopes, dreams, visions and ideals we shared together.  None of these things can ever be erased by the passage of time.  They will be ours forever through all the years.  “Hana, I will never forget you or our times together.”

DSC_0010

“Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us every day.” – Unknown

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Fritz
    Apr 28, 2020 @ 10:59:49

    What a wonderful tribute to a special person, and someone who has been so special to you.

    Reply

  2. jennygirl1278
    Apr 28, 2020 @ 19:00:19

    Beautifully written. I will confess that I had tears rolling down my face when I finished reading. You spoke so deeply from your heart. Somebody got up to talk at a meeting I attended. He started off telling his audience that he was very nervous to tell his story, but if he spoke from his heart his mom told him he could never go wrong. After he finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
    She made a difference and her life was so extraordinariy. Overcoming opposition that large would break many people.
    Dr. Hana is up there with the rest of the incredibly strong women who have made big differences in their lives, as well as in the world overcoming,incredible odds. Good blog.

    Reply

    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Apr 29, 2020 @ 07:46:35

      Thanks Jeanine. I am glad you liked it. If only the world was all apple pie and ice cream. I have been fortunate to meet and interact with a number of very strong independent women in my life and it has been a blessing.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: