Thanks to E-Cat
's posting Maywood Beach - Spring '53
for inspiring this topic.
Below are some choice
vignettes from the Humes High, Class of 1953
Twenty-one classmates offer some interesting, first-hand observations.
Read carefully, you'll get a real feel for what those years at Humes were like for our hero. Overall, Elvis is remembered with a real warmth, and his musical ambitions were not a secret to those who knew him.
Relda Alpuente, Georgia Avgeris, Frank Simonton, Virginia Eddleman and Elvis Presley
were some neighbors I remember well. At school I made friends quickly with Rose Howell and Barbara McKenzie who became my closest buddies. My favorite teacher was Miss Thompson. She taught me to love books. I still love reading. I also liked speech and acting. I guess I've always been a ham.
I was very shy and afraid of boys my own age. But, I remember having crushes on Frank Simonton and George Blancett. Virginia Eddleman's family had beautiful voices and sang gospel music. She took me to hear them once when Elvis
was singing on the same program. Soon after that my sister June and I ran into Elvis
at the Suzore #1. He sat down beside me and after a while I felt his arm slide across my shoulder. I was so scared that we moved to another row. One night he was singing at the Humes Talent Show. My friend Rose left me to watch the white elephant booth while she went up and checked out the talent. Elvis
sang while I was taking care of the booth so I never did hear him sing at Humes.
I worked at St. Joseph Hospital after school as a nurse's aide to save money to go to nursing school. Elvis' mother Gladys
usually worked on the floor above me. Sometimes we worked together. She was a pretty lady who talked about her son a lot. She wanted me to come to dinner, but it never worked out. She taught me how to care for patients in a kind and gentle way. She was a great role model.Betty Jean Moore-Munson
Whenever Elvis Presley
walked by we would look at each other and laugh and giggle. (We both had a crush on him.) One day he walked up to Dorothy and asked her why we laughed when he walked by. She was so dumbfounded that she blurted out "It's because we think you are so good-looking." I guess he was surprised also; he just broke into a grin and walked away. I was just sitting there with the reddest face that a girl could ever have. Whenever I'm embarrassed, I blush so badly that I feel as though my face will ignite. My face didn't ignite but from then on whenever I would see Elvis
coming down the hall, I would stick my face into a book and not look up.Elvis
and I were in Miss Alexander's homeroom in the 11th grade. She taught music, so the classroom was a music room. She divided our class into an "L" shape with boys on one side and girls on the other side. Elvis
sat in the front row next to a guy sporting a Mohawk haircut. I sat in the second row of girls so I could see him very well and I often stared at him because there was something about him that I really liked. He didn't dress or act like the rest of the boys. He always had a lock of hair hanging to the side of his face.
He had a serious expression most of the time during the beginning of the school year. But, later in the year, he surprised us by playing his guitar before school several mornings. He didn't sing; he just played. He was accompanied on the grand piano by another student, Warren Gregory. We really enjoyed the impromptu jam sessions, but we kept our eyes peeled for Miss Alexander because we weren't real sure how she would react to our choice of music. We never found out because she never showed up while they were playing.Elvis
was very polite and respectful to all the teachers. He always addressed them as "Ma'am" and "Sir". He seemed very shy and I identified with him since I was shy, too. It was a very special year for me.
I remember him driving a maroon convertible; I believe it was a Lincoln.
Sometimes he wore dark colored pants with a stripe down the sides. I found out later that they were part of his movie usher uniform.Carolyn Woodward-Cobb
I was in Miss Mildred Scrivener's 12th grade home room with Elvis
. He never had any school supplies. He borrowed paper from someone every day. He looked so different from the other boys who had crew cuts and blue jeans. He wore black pants and his hair always hung down in his face. He was always very polite.Ann Duncan Hearn
I worked at the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis. During the time he was recording at Sun Studios, Elvis Presley
came into the bank quite often with Bob Neal, his first manager. He was always very friendly to me. He came in about a year after he was discharged from the Army. We had been talking for about five minutes when 10 or 15 screaming women came running up. He gave me a hug and left quickly. I never saw him again in person.T. Don Sage
Miss Scrivener was also my home room teacher. I was the class treasurer and collected dues of 25 cents a week from each student. Elvis Presley
was in my homeroom, but he was never able to pay the first 25 cents.Rose Howell Klimek
After church on Sunday night, my friends and I liked to go to Leonard's Barbeque on Bellevue and then to East Trigg Baptist Church to listen to the spirituals. The church had a special section for white visitors. Elvis Presley
was often there and occasionally sang with the choir. I loved to watch the people who got the spirit dance and roll in the aisles. I guess that's where the term "holy rollers" came from.
He was in the study hall where I called the roll. As soon as I called his name he would get up and leave. Then I would go downstairs to cashier in the lunch room. He was usually my first customer and always bought the same thing - two ice cream sandwiches.
One night he showed up at a school event wearing black clothes and pink socks. Miss Richmond didn't recognize him and asked me who that rogue was.George Grimes
I am an eye witness to the fact that Elvis
would make those moves that only he could make when he was walking down the halls of dear old Humes. He complimented me on a solo I sang for the Honor Society. We were in a talent show together and I liked to brag that I shared the same stage with him and didn't have to pay to see him perform. Billy Wooley, Dwight Malone, Sydney McKinney and I were a quartet. Everyone in the talent show got to make a trip to the University of Mississippi. I saw a bunch of students hassling Elvis
about his hair and odd clothes and I didn't take up for him. I always felt guilty about that.Dwight MaloneElvis
was different. Most boys had crew cuts and wore tee shirts and blue jeans. Elvis
would appear at school in a pink jacket and yellow pants and a duck tail haircut. He was quiet, very courteous and largely stayed to himself. I did play touch football with him on the triangle at Lauderdale Courts. He was not fast, but he had very quick movements. He had those swivel hips even then. When he caught the ball, he was difficult to tag. He could swivel out of reach in a moment. To tag him, a player had to grab him and hold on until he could apply the tag.Elvis
and Warren Gregory were close friends. Warren was musically gifted. He could play a piano beautifully, the guitar, the trumpet and any other available instrument. He never took a lesson. He could play any tune he heard and improvise the melody. During the summer months Elvis
and Warren would sit on the street curb, strumming their guitars and singing country songs. Frankly, in their early attempts, they were not that good. I think they had a few shoes thrown at them by the neighbors.
It was at the Humes Talent Show in April, 1953 that I realized that Elvis
could really sing. I remember our barbershop quartet singing. I remember Gloria Trout, a gorgeous little blond dancer who was also a cheerleader. But mostly, I remember Elvis
. There were no swivel hips. His props were a chair, a guitar and a loud costume. He put one foot on the chair, strummed the guitar and sang his heart out. To me, that was when rock and roll was born. The ovation was thunderous and long.Rachael Maddox Van Waggoner
Glee Club was a favorite class because I truly enjoyed singing. In April, 1953, I sang "Because of You" at the annual talent show. I heard Elvis
play his guitar and sing and was surprised by how much talent he had. I think his performance was the reason I asked him to sign my yearbook.Lillian Jenne Sommerfeld
first started to Humes, he was really poor. The office sent a letter home about a classmate who couldn't come to school when the weather was bad because he had holes in his shoes, had no warm coat and needed a haircut. It didn't name him, but we all knew who it was. My mom gave me a whole dollar (WOW!) and a jacket she had bought for my brother Bill (she explained that she would get Bill another jacket when my dad got some overtime). I was so proud to take the jacket and the money to the office. My parents had hearts of gold.
The day we got our annuals, I asked Elvis
to sign mine. I handed him my pen and he said he didn't do well with a pen so he signed it with a pencil. He wrote "To Lil, With Love, El". Bobbie Horne Mitchell
We lived at Faxon and Stonewall. Elvis Presley
and I were good friends and he liked to come over to my house because my mother would make him toasted cheese sandwiches and his beloved peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
After graduation, when Elvis
was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer, I received a phone call from Miss Ginny Allensworth asking me to come over to Humes and help Elvis
with his English because he had been invited to sing on the Ed Sullivan Show. I laughed and said, "Miss Ginny, Elvis
wouldn't listen to me when we were in school and I doubt if he would listen to me now."
I did meet Elvis
at Humes and he agreed to let me coach him. After talking for a while, he said, "Well, if you are so intent on helping me, why don't you come to New York, too, to be sure I do it right." I ended up backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show and got to see Elvis perform.Juanita Richardson-Mitchell
Before graduation we had a class picnic at Maywood. It was overcast and we went swimming and spent the entire day outdoors having a wonderful time. This was another one of those "lifetime learning experiences"- I learned that you can get seriously sunburned on a cloudy day! By the time graduation arrived, I had huge blisters, many the size of silver dollars or larger, all over my shoulders and back. The graduation gown was horribly heavy and hot - and I was really miserable. The moment the ceremony was over, I took my aching body home!
lived near by, I did see him quite a bit, but we weren’t close friends. We were in the same homeroom and had a class together in the 12th grade. I remember one funny story. We were invited to a weiner roast at Mattie’s house. I rode with Elvis
and his friends because they didn’t know where she lived. When we arrived, Mattie’s dad was "supervising" the festivities. When Elvis
got out of the car and started, well, being his usual nutty self by taking off a silly floppy hat and slapping it against his leg and dancing around to the music, Mattie‘s dad was not terribly amused. He was sure that Elvis
was drunk. We convinced "Dad" that Elvis
wasn’t under the influence; he was just "normally" that way!
became well known, I saw him in Lowenstein’s Department Store. I didn’t want to bother him ( I figured that enough people were doing that already) so I walked on by. Then I heard him say "What! Aren’t you speaking these days?" I turned and said "Sure- I just figured you wouldn’t want to be spoken to!" He laughed and said "My friends will ALWAYS be my friends." We had a nice chat, right there in the middle of the store. It was nice to catch up. Betty Yarbrough-Rotenberry
I remember Miss Morman’s class; guess it was because I didn’t know one musical note from another and still don’t. That was the only class I had with Elvis Presley
. He brought his guitar to class and sang "Keep Those Cold Icy Fingers Off of Me". He probably never sang it again after the reception he got from her.William Larry Curle
During his senior year Larry and I had Miss Moss’ 5th period American Problems class together with Elvis Presley
. One day Miss Moss got so fed up with Larry and me she told us to take the rest of the day off and go to the athletic room. She allowed Elvis
to tag along.
The three of us went riding in Larry’s red 1940 Studebaker that didn’t have a reverse gear. During our ride around town, we went somewhere to get Elvis
’ guitar; he sat in the backseat playing and singing. Larry and I were both impressed with his songs, although I was more impressed, I think. Larry was also a talented singer. We talked about the upcoming talent show where Larry and I were appearing with several boys doing gymnastic things. Elvis
said, "I’ll warm them up for you."
When that night came, he did warm them up! After a couple of his scheduled songs, the audience response demanded he sit on the apron and sing a few more. The show really finished when Elvis
did, but we went on and performed our act without much distinction.Marilyn Wade-Simpson
I remember him at the Annual Minstrel Show. I invited my boyfriend, Jim Simpson, who was pretty bored until Elvis
walked out on the stage with a chair in one hand and his guitar in the other; then he got interested. Elvis
put his foot on the chair and started playing. The PA system was poor and we couldn’t hear his voice very clearly, but we were impressed. Jim likes to claim that he made some comment like, "That boy will go far."Mattie Rainey-Smith
Miss Mildred Scrivener was also a good friend of Aunt Yancie‘s ... Miss Scrivener and all of her sisters came to Yancie’s Beauty Shop. We fixed Miss Scrivener’s hair when she went to New York to accompany Elvis
to the Ed Sullivan Show.
I never dated Elvis
, but we were good friends. I helped him pass a couple of subjects. He came to my house once with some of my other friends and wound up being the life of the party. When I was riding the bus to school every morning, I would usually see Elvis
sitting at the corner of Alabama and Poplar, listening to a black man in a chair playing a guitar.Virginia Eddleman-Blackford
I had study hall with Elvis Presley
(the flirt). He would blow kisses across the room at me. Once I thumbed my nose at him and said some smart remark back.
Everyone knows how Elvis
loved "GOSPEL MUSIC." At Ellis Auditorium, the Statesmen Quartet felt sorry for him because he couldn’t afford a ticket and let him in the back door. My brother Jerry, my sister Darlene and I were called "The Eddleman Trio". We started singing acappella at ages 7, 8 and 11. After Elvis
became famous, it occurred to me that "we" were singing on the stage while Elvis
was sneaking in the back door. He later sang on the same stage at benefit concerts.
I lived in Lauderdale Courts during part of high school. Starting at 16, I worked Thursday evenings and Saturdays at Kresge’s on Main Street. I will always remember my salary - $7.10 a week - which went for school supplies, etc.
We all went to Senior Day at Maywood and I got a really deep sunburn. Elvis
had rubbed suntan lotion on my back, but it didn’t work. I didn’t get to go to my own graduation because I had to sit on pillows for 4 days. Elvis
asked me to go out, but I had to say no because of my sunburn. Otherwise, I would have said yes. Peggy Fiance-Henry
Tommy Young took me down to WHBQ to Dewey Phillips’ broadcast, "Red, Hot and Blue." Elvis
was in one of the sound rooms; George Klein and Tommy were helping Dewey. I was just there. Tommy told Dewey I was a little church-going girl and to watch his language while I was there and he did. I understand that was not normal.Billie Ann Banks-Pilalas
I thought of when the English class read Macbeth. Miss Jennie Allensworth assigned the part of Macbeth to Elvis Presley
, who promptly said, "Aw, Miss Jenny, you know I can’t read." Of course you know who was assigned Lady MacBeth, not only was I embarrassed about the part, but the words I had to read. Nevertheless we both survived it. Apparently Elvis
was much better in his role than I was.
There was another memory about Elvis
about ten years after graduation. I had taken a group of junior cheerleaders, which included my sister Donna, to Graceland. Elvis
came out on the porch and greeted us and the cheerleaders did their "Elvis
shake" (the old Humes High shake) for him. I had my annual with me and he asked to borrow it for a while and when he returned it, he had written "To Billie Ann, Many Thanks, from Elvis Presley" I never tell what he was thanking me for when asked. I just smile coyly.Betty Diepholz-Loveless
I was President of the History Club in Miss Scrivener’s 12th grade class. She assigned me the task of getting Elvis
to sing at our class party at Overton Park. He did and we all enjoyed the party and the singing. A few of us, including Elvis
, climbed into L.D. Ledbetter’s car and went downtown to enjoy the Cotton Carnival. We rode the rides and hung out on the steps of the downtown library to listen to Elvis
sing again. This attracted a crowd - the police came along and dispersed the crowd and we went home. Later, when we were signing yearbooks, we laughed about that night. Elvis
wrote in my book "Remember Me - Elvis
." Ironic that we all remember Elvis
I gave Elvis
$4.00 to make his first Dub at Sam Phillip’s Sun Records. It took him two months to get up the courage to do it. My idea was to make the record and knock on radio station doors to get it played and hopefully find him a singing job. Elvis
was very unsure of himself in the early days of his career. I had a good time traveling, double dating, etc. with him until he went into the Army. He would call me to “round up” the bunch (about 16 total) to come to where ever he was to perform. He was afraid there wouldn’t be anyone there if we didn’t come.
He is still the only singer I listen to. I own the original Dub along with the music rights to it. I have allowed RCA and Disney to publish the music mainly so the fans can hear the two songs, which I felt, were very good. The record has all the elements that later developed into his personal style. I also still have the first commercial disk out of the labeling machine at Plastic Products on Chelsea Ave. (That‘s All Right and Blue Moon), which Elvis
signed for me after I pulled it out of the collection box. I sold my Humes year book; my class photo and the little pink business card Elvis
gave me ( to get back stage after he began famous) some years back for unbelievable prices. I figured they would be well cared for by Elvis
collectors. I am considering letting the commercial record and perhaps the Dub find new homes soon. I am 70 years old and have no family except my wife to give them to. I have enjoyed them for over 50 years, along with my memories of Elvis