The past thirty years of traveling to Memphis for Elvis Week, I have made some wonderful friends that I cherish dearly. In 1981 the first fans I met were Marie D’Arc ( 1948-2011) and her New Jersey friends which forged a lasting and wonderful  friendship.

Marie was a very talented artist and teacher. During one of our  Memphis trips, we were driving around the city and she looked up and commented on the beauty of the sky.  From her artistist perspective, she  commented to me on the reds, blues and ultramarines that lit up the evening sky. When I glanced up to the sky, I also saw its beauty, but my first thoughts were the shades of gray that are produced with the pencils of “H”, “F”, HB” and “3H” – we just laughed – two artists and their interpretation of the world around them.

When my second book of Elvis art was published, The Magic of Elvis, I wanted to incorporate some of my poetry with a select few of the drawings. I enlisted Marie to create the calligraphy for these pieces. At first,  she was hesitant because she did not want to write on the artwork, but that was what I wanted her to do which she did beautifully. As we progressed, I received another phone call from Marie, she was upset because she was doing the calligraphy and had become emotional about the piece. She started to cry and her tears fell on the artwork. I told her not to worry, it would only add something special to the piece.

I have felt a profound loss with the passing of a good friend and talented artist. The memories of the fun we had is very comforting. Yearly trips to Memphis, family trips to Washington & New Jersey and having her in our home…are just, “memories pressed between the pages of my mind, memories sweetened through the ages just like wine……”

Here I share with you some of those memories.

  1. Dear Betty,
    Your tribute to Marie was wonderful…she touched many lives. I’m also an artist and always encouraged me to continue, and I have. I have ornament (Christmas) she made for me many years ago that I hang on my tree every year.
    It was so nice of you to remember Marie not only for her beautiful art work but also the wonderful woman she was.
    I’m so happy you had a chance to meet this amazing…..she has touched so many lives
    and will be missed so much.
    Thanks you so much for sharing and

  2. Dear Betty,

    Thank you so much for your tribute to Marie. She was a wonderful person inside and out.
    I too am an artist and when I first started I received so much enciouragment from Marie. She was so much more than an artist, she was a person that always made you feel comfortable in her company.
    I have Christmas ornaments she made for me many, many years ago….they are still hung every year on my tree.
    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. GOD bless you
    Very Sincerly
    Dianne Tonghini

  3. Your tribute is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! I was a student in the elementary school where Marie was teaching many years ago. She had such a wonderful impact on my life, and always made her students feel so very important. Her whole being was beautiful.
    I have a few of her pieces hanging in my home, with the most treasured being my wedding invitation that she so graciously enhanced with her artwork. I think of her every time I look at it. She will be fondly remembered always. My love and condolences to her family and friends.
    With Warm Regards,
    Pam Dreher Breitenbach

    • Pamela

      I knew Marie for a long time and she was such a lovely person. Thank you.

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