Elvis

There is only one. My husband and I went to see the movie, Elvis, with Austin Butler as Elvis and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. Let me just say, Austin may be a good actor, but he is no Elvis. The 1979 movie with Kurt Russell as The King was a more convincing portrait. This new movie, however, was heavy on the portrayal of Parker and his relationship with Elvis. Tom Hanks disappeared into the role of the Colonel. He was amazing. How sweet Tom H. could embody the sleaze that was Parker makes it clear he is an incredible actor. This is not meant to be a movie critique. Many of my friends saw the show and have differing opinions. I think it is doing well at the box office but I would not recommend it. The music, of course, carries the show.

I was twelve when Elvis entered my life. He had been around for a while by then, but it was his music played on KJR in Seattle that got my attention. I think the fervent plea Don’t Be Cruel was my introduction. With the urgency only a teen can understand, I talked my mom into taking me to the record store. In those days there were stores dedicated to vinyl records, where you could spend hours listening to your favorite songs at individual turntables with headphones. It was a Saturday pastime for me and my friends. I bought a 45 of Don’t Be Cruel with Hound Dog on the B side.  Don’t Be Cruel was played until there were no more grooves, Hound Dog not so much. With my babysitting money, I bought each album as they came out from 1957 to 1963. Elvis was the guest of honor at all sleepovers with my friends – swooning, giggling, weeping, whispered secrets, popcorn, hot dogs, layered jello dessert, and coke, the order of the night. The walls in my bedroom were papered floor to ceiling and wall to wall around windows and closets with Elvis pictures taken from fan magazines. That is impressive in my memory because my mother was a stickler for clean and orderly. Nothing in her house was less than perfect – except my room. I teased her that she lived in a Doris Day movie – sheets and underwear ironed; closets, cupboards, and drawers in color coordinated tidy stacks and rows. The fact that she accommodated my obsession with Elvis adorning every nook and cranny of my room for six years is, as I look back, a testament to love or maybe just giving up to a headstrong teen. When I married and left home, the room was quickly reclaimed.

In 1963, as a newly engaged woman, I believed it was time to put those teenage things away and become the adult my new status decreed, even though I was still 18. I had my own real-life love (even better looking than Elvis in my eyes) so dream lovers were no longer significant. I gave all my LP’s and 45’s to my sixteen-year-old neighbor who was as ga-ga about Elvis as I had been.

Now fifty-eight years later I am an Elvis fan-atic once again after being reintroduced to his music.  I listen to his channel on SiriusXM Radio, on Amazon Music, and Alexa. I rediscovered songs I forgot. His voice is unmistakable and moves me whether I’m listening to heartfelt gospel, crooned love ballads, or feverish rock and roll tunes. They send me back in time, but in another way, I enjoy a new perspective after living and loving for so many years. Thank you, Elvis. Your legacy is very much appreciated.

This is one of the stories in my life, a short version. It is important to recognize all the stories that make up a life and honor them. Sharing tales, fiction, and non-fiction, is how humans connect. We discover that we have more in common and our differences become less important. As we show in our book, Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets, a writers’ group can help a writer develop those stories for themselves and their families. Take some time today to write a memory.