It was Tuesday, August 16, 1977. I was somewhere in Illinois moving to Des Moines, IA when news came on the radio that Elvis Presley had died. I was shocked.
Truth is that I am a bigger fan of his today than I was back then Over the years I have come to realize that he was absolutely one of the best entertainers we’ve ever seen. I love YouTube and have watched many Elvis performances on there.
He loved gospel music and right now there is an Elvis CD in my car. My favorite is Amazing Grace. Sometimes I hit repeat and listen to it four or five times in a row. I’ve watched dozens of impersonators. Some are really good. The best I’ve ever seen is Ben Portsmith. Here he is doing American Trilogy on the David Letterman show. Take a look..
I have been in the little shotgun house in Tupelo, MS where Elvis lived as a child. It’s hard to imagine that a kid came from those beginnings to be one of the most well-known people in the world.
My best Elvis story is from my friend, Hope Zeanah, an assistant superintendent of the Baldwin County school system. She spent many years as principal of Elberta elementary and was a good one. In fact, one year was named as Alabama’s elementary principal of the year.
I was at her school one day about the end of the school year. I was poking around in her office when I noticed a note from one of her students saying that he enjoyed the year and learned a lot about Elvis.
Of course, the mention of Elvis got my attention and I asked Hope to explain what he was referring to.
She explained that she was a huge Elvis fan and that for years friends and colleagues had given her Elvis trinkets. She had a private bathroom as part of her office and the walls were lined with dozens of these gifts. She called it “the Elvis museum.”
Twice a year, on the anniversary of his death and birth, she announced on he intercom that the museum was open for field trips. So teachers brought their classes throughout the day. Obviously the writer of the note was on one of these trips.
I thought it was a wonderful idea. And certainly in keeping with the culture of this great little rural school. And I’m sure Elvis would have liked it just like I did.