by Katherine Hawley
dreary day of school! It didn't seem fair. On Valentine's Day a teenage girl's
thoughts turn to hearts, flowers and love ----- not education. Nevertheless I
slowly went about my daily ritual of getting myself together before Jeanne
arrived to walk with me. Gazing at my bedroom walls, or " shrine to Elvis
" as my older brother called them, I heard my mother approaching. She burst
in, morning paper in hand, chattering about something. I paid little attention
until I heard the magic work " Elvis ". I dropped everything,
scrambled over, and scanned the article myself:
February 14, 1964 - Elvis Presley to arrive in Long Beach harbor today. Presley
is coming to town to hand over the 165-foot presidential yacht, Potomac, to
Danny Thomas, who is representing St. Judes Research Hospital in Memphis,
fifteen minutes of pleading my case, mom gave in. I was going to see Elvis live
and in the flesh!
Jeanne was not a true Elvis fan my enthusiasm completely enveloped her at the
door. She insisted on going too.
taxi ride down to the harbor seemed to take forever. We were greeted by a very
pleasant security guard at the gate who told us we were the first to arrive in
honor of Elvis. Since he wasn't due for another four hours our anticipation
would have to sustain us until then.
Thomas was the first to make an appearance. He nodded towards the crowd as he
drove by in his Cadillac. Shortly thereafter we spotted a shiny limousine making
its way towards us. It pulled into the driveway cautiously and paused while our
congregation, which had increased to about 100 people, spread out on both sides.
As Jeanne and I peered into the darkened rear window closest us, it steadily
wound its way down and left us face to face with ELVIS'!! While we teetered on
our toes for a few seconds he mimicked our stare humorously, smiled and said,
" Hi, girls. " I managed a feeble little " hi " while Jeanne
was still gasping for breath. The drive then whisked him past us and parked on
the edge of the dock.
I had given up locating mom, who was hopelessly lost in the shuffle, I revived
Jeanne and we raced over to the limousine. Elvis was already on board the huge
yacht so we stayed glued to the car awaiting his return.
soon emerged from the vessel and started down the gangplank with members of his
entourage clearing the way. He was escorted through the swarming fans and
finally reached the vehicle. He acknowledged us cheerfully and asked how we were
doing. I think I mumbled something about being fine. Actually I was in shock!
Looking around, he modestly commented on the large crowd being as it was a
school day. We agreed while being pushed closer and closer to him by the girls
behind us. Suddenly, Jeanne, who had claimed to be anti-Elvis for so many years,
grabbed his hand, held it up in the air like a trophy and screamed with delight.
Elvis looked as surprised as I was jealous. Embarrassed by her sudden outburst
of courage she finally let go. Being disgustingly shy I found it impossible to
equal her behavior but I did manage to ask him for his autograph. He gladly
consented and teased me with a question, " Do your folks know where you
are? " When I explained my mother had accompanied us, that really tickled
he was signing Jeanne's picture all I could do was stare. I had never seen a
more perfect looking human being. The sunlight on his hair reminded me of black
satin. His sexy eyes, which seemed to demand your attention, had a never-ending
blue depth that was really spellbinding and only rivalled by the longest lashes
ever to grace a man. His flawless complexion was one that any girl would give
her right arm for. His high cheekbones were accented handsomely when he smiled
that special Elvis way. Though he looked very suave his speech and mannerisms
revealed the country boy turned southern gentleman we love so much. Every
impeccable feature was totally masculine, but this man can only be described as
pictures and outstretched arms were coming at Elvis from all directions now. The
crowd sensed his departure time nearing. I had managed to hold my position next
to him, which was no easy chore, so I was one of the first to see the door of
the limousine opened. Elvis slowly edged toward it while accommodating fans with
handshakes and replies to their screaming compliments. I moved right along with
him but suddenly he looked all around, waved and made a swift retreat into the
plush interior. I exchanged glances with him through the window and then he was
gone. We chased after the car until we could run no more. Limp and exhausted we
watched it pull out into the street and disappear into traffic. Our day with
Elvis was over.
treasured autograph is eleven years old now and presently preserved on a wood
plaque under a layer of decoupage. Being an eternal sentimentalist, I consider
it a Valentine gift from Elvis to me. I have a used scarf and other recent
mementoes which are very precious too, but somehow his signature rates highest.
I think it signifies my first love, my youth, and a wonderful but rare
experience. When I see Elvis in Las Vegas, Tahoe, or wherever, I always find
myself reminiscing silently. Even though I am one among the millions of women
who adore him, I know I had a small but special moment with him once and nobody
can take that away from me!
to say, Jeanne has been a devoted Elvis fan ever since that day. I never turn
down the opportunity to remind her who is responsible for it either! And my mom...
........ well, she is still cursing herself for forgetting the camera!!!