Way back in 1990, about 5 months after I first met Arlina, we took a trip up to Oregon. We spent some time in Portland (one of my favorite cities) with one of her friends, and then drove down the coast. It was our first trip together, and it was great, other than our first big argument out by the sand dunes.
While we were in Portland, her friend took us downtown, and showed us around. My interest in the unusual must have already been apparent back then, because she decided I would want to see the 24-Hour Church of Elvis, which was essentially a storefront window and door.
There was a coin slot in the door, and if you inserted a quarter, the Elvis heads would spin around and it would play Love Me Tender.
The door. There were all sorts of signs on it. One said to knock if you wanted to buy a t-shirt, so I did. A woman came to the door and invited me in. Just me--everyone else had to stay outside. She took me upstairs and sold me the t-shirt. For another $5, I could become an ordained minister in the 24-Hour Church of Elvis. Sounded like a deal, so I did. Before she let me out, she told me I could never tell anyone what I had seen inside, and to this day, I never have.
Young me with my t-shirt. I think I was 32 in this picture. A year and a half out of nursing school. Arlina and I were working on the same nursing unit, and no one even knew we were dating until we went on vacation together.
Our first big argument out by the sand dunes was about t-shirts. We were staying in the coastal town of Florence. We wandered into a t-shirt shop to get some souvenirs. Took me about 5 minutes to find the one I wanted, but Arlina seemingly looked at every t-shirt in the store. Twice. I suggested she just pick one. My bad.
Oh, I almost forgot to say why I was thinking about this. Someone who was in a couple of photojournalism classes with me lives in Portland now and came across the door to the 24-Hour Church of Elvis in a hotel, and posted a picture of it.