My Treasured Memories of Elvis

My Treasured Memories of Elvis


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My Treasured Memories of Elvis by Judy Palmer Bendewald, Betty Harper

I was 9 when I became an Elvis fan in 1956. My mom loved music and the radio and used to buy all the movie magazines. She took me and my sister, Vicki, to see Love Me Tender in the theater. I was a little bewildered by all the girls standing up on the seats, screaming at Elvis. Mom said she'd better never see me doing that! I soon understood what all the screaming was about! \ \

We had a console with a record player in the middle and a radio you "dialed in." You had to reset the record each time you wanted to hear it again, which I did hundreds of times with Love Me Tender. We had recently moved to Spokane and I didn't have many friends. Elvis and the new rock and roll music filled that lonely time for me. His music, look and personality were so exciting. \ \

By the time Loving You hit the theaters, Vicki and I went to see it over and over. But back then, there was a co-feature so you had to sit through another movie to see Elvis again. Mom got on us for staying all day at the theater. Seeing Loving You was like seeing Elvis in person. And wow was he ever wild, sexy and gorgeous. After that, I started saving babysitting money, or asked for Elvis records for every Christmas and birthday until I acquired them all. In 1957, Elvis came to Spokane and I didn't get to go. I remember seeing the photos in the newspaper and feeling so sad. Maybe this was the beginning of my desire to actually see Elvis perform and meet him in person. \ \

The dream was pushed aside for a long time after Elvis was drafted into the Army and then went on to make movies for 10 years. Any extra money I had went to magazines, records and movies. I was so glad I had the opportunity to see all the movies in the theater as they came out. Most of us remember life events by a particular song that was popular at the time. For me, that was especially true with Elvis' songs and movies. \ \

In 1960 I got a transistor radio and it was with me all the time. I couldn't wait to hear a new Elvis song. When Elvis returned from the Army, Mom brought home Stuck on You b/w Fame and Fortune. My loyalty as a fan deepened when I saw him on Frank Sinatra's TV show with his beautiful grin and delightful laugh. By the time It's Now or Never was released, the older generation started to accept Elvis and didn't give us much flak about him being a rebel and a bad influence on the youth. They started to appreciate Elvis for his first 'gift' — his incredible voice. He could get you so excited in a rock and roll song, melt your heart in one of his ballads, or lift your spirits higher in one of his moving gospel songs. He really sang from the heart! He made 'style,' which you can really appreciate in the movie That's the Way It Is. I think the movie showed how Elvis designed every song, every beat, where the backup singers came in and added drama and showmanship to draw the audience in to his performance. When he came on stage, the interaction of Elvis with the audience and vice versa made the concert explode! \ \

I joined the "Kissin Cousins Fan Club" in 1965 and became its president in 1966. I kept the club until 1972. \ \

I started traveling to see Elvis in 1965, and attended his concerts until November 1976. I saw 10 out of 14 his Las Vegas engagements and nine of his concerts in the Pacific Northwest. I received my last scarf from Elvis in Portland, Ore. in November 1976. \ \

Along the way I met and formed life-long friendships with fans the world over, and even met my husband through an Elvis connection. Elvis has been such a part of my life for so long that my little sister, Susie, said she was 10 years old before she realized that Elvis wasn't a relative. \ \

I now understand that Elvis had a way of making each fan feel special and appreciated, as if they were the only one inside a bubble with him. A crows of people could be with Elvis and everyone would come away with their own unique experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780963227416
Publisher: Memphis Explorations
Publication date: 05/26/2009
Pages: 106
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

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