Everyone’s got a room where they keep stuff. Sometimes it’s a basement. Other times it’s a closet. But rarely is it a former-bedroom-turned-Elton-John-shrine.
And boy is there a lot of stuff in Lynn Kurtts’s “Elton Room.” The Birmingham, Ala. native estimates that she has at least 20,000 items of memorabilia including ticket stubs from the 66 times she’s seen Elton John in concert, rare dolls, hundreds of t-shirts and even exclusive items like a real-life pair of Elton John shades.
“They were auctioned off in Sotheby’s in 1988,” said Kurtts. “I was the high bidder on them. I paid $800 for them.”
Kurtts estimates she’s spent “over a couple hundred thousand dollars” on her lifelong collection. “I’ve spent more than I can afford, I can assure you,” said Kurtts, who works part-time at a hardware shop.
Her obsession extends beyond inanimate objects, too. No less than three of Kurtts’s pets have had Elton John-related names. “My current kitty cat is named Bennie, after ‘Bennie and the Jets,’” she said. And before Bennie, there was Pinky the Boston Terrier, named after Kurtts’s favorite Elton John song, “Pinky.”
There was even Hercules the parakeet, named after John’s middle name. Kurtts added, “He would chirp when I was playing my records in my room.”
But in addition to Kurtts’s love of the singer’s music, Elton John also played a role in her very own love story. The first time she heard the 1992 song “The One,” Kurtts was at the beach with her family and first husband. Their marriage was on the rocks and hearing the song made her reflect on if she’d ever find her own The One.
Not too many years later, she did. After a divorce, she fell in love with her current husband, Rob. “I played him the song and you know, teared up a little bit and said, “You’re my ‘The One,’” she said.
The song’s lyrics “Baby, you’re the one” are even engraved on the inside of her wedding ring.
Besides her own love story, Kurtts says Elton John also affected her own perception of love, and who can fall in love. Growing up in Birmingham, she said, “I didn’t really know a lot about the gay community … it wasn’t something I sat and thought about.”
That changed as she got older, and as she became a bigger fan of Elton John. “I’m sure my support of gay marriage is due to Elton John,” Kurtts said. “Because I see he was never happy [when he was closeted].”
Kurtts thinks that John’s public lifestyle has helped fans of different backgrounds “[be] more tolerant of the gay community.” “It’s not a stigma,” she said. “And people need to just get over it.”
Last year, Elton John announced he would be retiring from touring. His Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour stretches through 2020 and Kurtts managed to see him recently in Memphis. She admitted that it’s “more than likely my final concert.”
“If I could sit down with Elton John a last time, it would be just to thank him for providing the music to my life,” she said. “‘I have had as much fun with his career as I hope he has.”
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