FRAZIER: My longtime love for Elvis Presley
Published 4:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2022
Dancing has always been my love.
Not that I have ever been good at it; I only took lessons for a very short period in my life, but that never deterred me from envisioning life on stage.
Obviously, that never happened. However, I did live my dream vicariously through my three daughters, whom I enrolled in every dance class I could persuade them to take.
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I relished every recital, competition and performance they were ever in and have the photographs to prove it.
I’m not sure how it came to be that at an early age I felt the beat of music surging through my soul. Maybe it was something that occurred before memories can take hold.
Who knows, and quite frankly it really doesn’t matter. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, dancing has struck a chord with my spirit.
And while I don’t have the answers as to why, when and how I came to love dance, I do remember the first song I used to choreograph a dance I would later perform in front of my mother and my best friend’s mother in our one-car garage in Marion Park.
It was on a 45 record — one that belonged to my best friend, and it was entitled “All Shook Up.”
Yes, it was sung by no other than the King of Rock and Roll — Elvis Presley.
“All Shook Up” is not one of Elvis’s slow classic ballads like “Love Me Tender.”
No, this tune allowed a young diva darling to twist, turn and use an inordinate amount of sassy facial and body expressions. Goodness, if there had only been a cell phone for recording!
I loved that song and still do to this day because it was not only a favorite for me to dance to when I was performing on the concrete garage floor stage. It was also my introduction to Elvis.
While Elvis was technically the icon of my mother’s era, “All Shook Up” had ignited a burning love for the King, so-much-so, that I was caught in a trap with his charisma.
I was determined to watch every movie he made. I recall on one occasion when I was staying with my grandmother, I had persuaded her into taking me to see “Jailhouse Rock” at the drive-in theater.
I still remember that warm and balmy evening. Not because the musical was entertaining, but because I was literally eaten alive by mosquitos.
The car door window had to be rolled down just enough so the speaker could rest on its edge, which gave those little pests ample room to snack on me while the show was playing.
The sacrifices I made for Elvis.
I never owned my own copy of “All Shook Up,” but I did manage to save enough money from my babysitting wages — back then you only made 50 cents an hour — to buy a copy of “Elvis’ Christmas Album” that included “Blue Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
I held on to that record for a long time. It was probably sometime in the 90s before I finally let go of it at a garage sale.
Records were no longer in vogue. Eight-tracks, cassette tapes and CDs had long taken their place.
There is, however, one piece of Elvis Presley memorabilia that I have not parted with.
It is a 4-by-6 glossy photo of Elvis taken when he was young along with a piece of stationary that he signed, “To Terrie, Good Luck. Love Elvis.”
So, who cared he had spelled my name wrong? I had an authentic genuine for-real Elvis Presley autograph.
It was signed aboard Mr. F.L. Cappaert’s jet sometime in the 70s. Elvis had rented the aircraft from Mr. Cappaert and because my dad was Mr. Cappaert’s private accountant at the time, he had gotten the pilot to get an autograph of the King for me.
Unfortunately, Elvis died before I ever had a chance to see him in concert, but that has never quelled my love for the King.
In fact, just last Friday, an Elvis impersonator performed here in Vicksburg at the Strand Theatre during the Sampler Antique Club meeting.
I was there to take pictures. And while I was standing in the back of the theater, waiting for a good shot, I couldn’t keep still.
It was just like when I was a little girl, dancing to the music sung by the King of Rock and Roll.