The woman with whom I had a relationship really wanted to go see Elvis that spring. Her mother and father had been to see Elvis in the late 1950s, and her mother still talked about it. Elvis was very much a favorite of their family.
I begged off going, citing my conflicting time and priority requirements. "Elvis goes on tour every year," I said. "We can go see him next year! It will be so much more fun when I'm not knee deep in work and school."
I bought a year, but turned out I only needed five months. To the shock of the world, Elvis died at home August 16, 1977. He was only forty two years old.
Starting August 16, 1977 until the end of that particular relationship two years thereafter, I heard about the Elvis concert we didn't attend. Not every day. Not every week. Just any time there was a need for that kind of trump card. "You didn't take me to see Elvis!"
I've always been an Elvis fan, from listening to "Love Me Tender" in the mid 1950s until the very end. That voice. That style. That smile. He was all performer. His singing was golden.
Elvis visited East Texas and performed in several small, local venues back in the mid 1950s. A reader by the name of Gordon Reynolds made me aware of that a couple of years ago. There's a website called "Elvis in East Texas" which is full of good information about Elvis and his early performances in our region.
I encourage readers to follow this link to some delightful information about Elvis in East Texas: http://lannymedlin.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?s=0&username=lannymedlin&a_id=2148148&s_id=2310698. An additional source is a book by Stanley Oberst and Lori Torrance, boasting the title "The Undiscovered King, 1954-1958," which chronicles the 1954-1956 period. Elvis was in Texas about forty percent of that time. A good segment for reading is found here: https://digital.library.txstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10877/2735/fulltext.pdf.
The site about Elvis in Texas is by Lanny Medlin. According to the information at the site, Elvis spent about a year in East Texas, where he performed and recorded - particularly KSIJ radio. Elvis reportedly loved to stretch out on the floor of the recording studio there and read comic books. As early as 1955, Elvis performed in Gilmer, Gaston and Gladewater.
Thanks to those who have kept the history of Elvis alive, and especially to those who have kept his East Texas connection alive with their work. Lanny Medlin can be found right here: http://www.lannymedlin.com/about.html, and here: http://lannymedlin.phanfare.com/9999/.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore, All Rights Reserved.