Gatetalk

...at the Gates of Graceland

Elvis Fans Remember!

Elvis always understood that his fans were responsible for raising him to such heights. Having a God-given talent ignited the fire. Elvis' fans are among the most loyal ever to a celebrity and Elvis made sure he visited with many, personally, down by the gates of Graceland when he was home. He would stand behind the huge iron gates and discuss events and topics of the day with his fans. He would talk about himself; some of the things he liked and other related topics, and he would take the time to sign autographs. Here are just a couple of memories shared by two Elvis fans with The Kin of Rock and Roll about their Elvis experiences. We thank them for taking the time to share their "Elvis memories..."

"THE GIFT AND THE LEGACY OF ELVIS AARON PRESLEY

As a teenage girl in the l950s, I saw Elvis Presley as most teenagers did…WOW! Now, as a sixty-four year old grandmother, I see so much more. I see a man who served his country, family and fans until he could no longer stand, all because he loved God. How many people of his status do we know that have kept their entire family with them the way he did? I know of none.

I am very perceptive when reading body language, especially the eyes. Watching Elvis all these years, I know that he wanted to be remembered for more than singing Hound Dog and screaming girls. I believe he would be happy to know that his kin and fans have come together to use his name and celebrity to honor the past for the future of America.

I looked into the eyes of Elvis and saw a kind man with a huge heart. I saw a man who was never ashamed to show his love for God and the traditions that make countries and families strong. Often I saw pain, but I never saw retaliation.

Elvis was a joygiver and he gave with a glad heart and soul. What a wonderful legacy he left us in his music. Whose Spirit does not soar when listening to America The Beautiful, The American Trilogy, If I can Dream, I Will Remember You and Softly I Will Leave You? His Gospel songs always uplift and inspire. Even his songs and movies about romantic love and fun have positive messages.

Elvis was a gift and we can honor the Gift and the Giver by doing our part to see that his dream of “a better land where all his brothers walk hand in hand” comes true.

In a video of the 75th Reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union and Confederate flags are flying together. The Old Confederates are reenacting Pickett’s Charge and the Old Union Soldiers are cheering them on. They all shake hands at the top. If they could do that, why can’t we?

We cannot rewrite history and grow. We can choose to rise above judgments and see the good in all.

Elvis was an American and a Son of the South. He was not allowed to freely be in America, yet he accepted his role gracefully. I, for one, am so proud of him. I hope we can carry on what he started by living an example of brotherhood for those who follow us.

Elvis was not an idol or a king. He was an imperfect man whose love was perfect. Let’s do him proud. Hey Elvis! We love you and we’re gonna’ get ‘er done! Thank you…Thank you very much.


Bette M. Goodson
Virginia

Thank you, Bette! God Bless you.

"I was only 10 when Elvis died. My whole family parents, Grandma, Aunts, and Uncles were huge fans so I grew up with Elvis. I remember as a kid I even understood how much of a loss it was too loose Elvis. I cried and was so disappointed I had never seen him in concert and now never would. As a teen in the 80s I stayed a devoted fan of Elvis. Everyone knew no one meant as much to me as Elvis. Sure I listened to the popular music of the time but whenever I felt sad or needed a lift a Elvis song was the magic I needed. As an adult my husband and some family thought I was crazy to still play Elvis and they still sometimes complain but they know it is a waste of their time."

Cindy Wright
Ohio

Remembering "Saint"

"I've been a fan since I was 12 and saw Elvis on the Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey TV show. My first "concert" was when Elvis first came to Philadelphia in the 50's. He wore his gold suit for the evening show. It looked like a lightning storm with all the flashes going off. My dad and mom came and I was trying to film the show with his 16mm camera. The only thing that came out on the film was snap shots of Elvis whenever there was enough light from the flashbulbs. I clipped those pieces of film years later and took them to a photo shop but the fellow said they would not come out.

Then after high school I drove my 1957 Custom Oldsmobile to Memphis. As I got to the gate Elvis' limo was just pulling out and I thought, "OH NO, he's going back to California," so I followed the limo until it pulled over to the side and the driver came back to my car and said, "Elvis don't like anyone following him around but he asked me to invite you to the midnight show" It was Joe Esposito. He told me to be at the gate around 12 midnight. That night,I followed Elvis, driving a cream color Lincoln with a van behind him to the theater. We parked and Elvis was walking toward me (to the theater) and extended his hand and said something like "Hi, I'm Elvis" (I would have never guessed!!). I shook his hand and began walking at his right side. I believe Priscilla was at his left. He asked me, "I hear you're in a band?" I said "No sir" (at the time I wasn't), "but I sing and play the guitar." (I think he already guessed that) During the movie, "Tammy and the Doctor," if I recall correctly, Elvis would crack jokes and everyone would laugh and just enjoy it. After the show we went back to the gate and I got out my guitar and sang some of Elvis' songs to fans and the gate guards. One was Elvis' cousin Harold Loyd.

The next night I left for Nashville and when I got there, I heard Elvis was coming to do a recording session. I went to the studio and sure enough the big ol' Greyhound bus pulls up and Elvis comes out to meet some press people and goes into the studio."


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