1. When did you first become an Elvis fan? Tell us about that.
I was seven in 1956 when I first heard Elvis. I only heard him on the radio and fell for him. I'm a fan for life.
2. What was the first record and/or song you bought or heard?
I was too young to buy my own records. My dear parents bought my HEARTBREAK HOTEL. I still have my 45'S. I treasure them to this day.
3. How was it being an Elvis fan as a teen?
Best times of my young life. Most all girlfriends I had loved Elvis. We shared his movies & records together. As a girl scout when we earned money for our kitty, we had a choice of naming him King Kong or Elvis. Needless to say Elvis won Big! Being a teen and being an Elvis fan was the best!
4. Tell us about you, where you grew up, your other interests & hobbies etc.
I was born in Bemidji, Minnesota. Lived on my Daddy's farm til I was two or so. Moved to Washington State for a short time, then headed to Illinois in 1954. Been here ever since.I have always loved traveling, photography, & animals. I'm not crafty, but love making latch hook rugs. I love music. Elvis of course, but also country and Hawaiian. Also music from the 50's and 60's. I am also a Beatles fan. I got lucky and saw them in Chicago in 1965.
5. Did you see Elvis in concert? If so, Tell us about that.
That was my biggest dream of my life. I never got to see him. My dream died August 16, 1977.
6. When did you start your fan club. Tell us about how your fan club evolved through the years.
My club, ELVIS' TEDDY BEARS started in 1992. I have a small club with members around the USA & England. No one local is in my club. So we never had meetings or get togethers. When other clubs need help, we did and do all we can to help out. It has stayed the same all these years. I am ok with that because I do all the work. It's a work of love!
7. Did you ever meet Elvis?
NO, I never met Elvis. That would of been the icing on the cake for me!
8. List your favs.....song- album- movie- era.
OH BOY! My fave two songs are, ANGEL & JAILHOUSE ROCK . I really love them all. My fave movies are BLUE HAWAII, KING CREOLE, TTWII, ALOHA, COMEBACK..ELVIS ON TOUR.. I don't know how to pick a fave album. I love all the eras but I'm a 50's girl!
|MY SISTER EDIE,LEILA,MARILYN MOLLY|
MY FIRST VISIT TO MEMPHIS MAY 1978
My first trip to Graceland was May of 1978. My sister and two girlfriends from work went down with me. We stayed at the HOWARD JOHNSONS ON ELVIS PRESLEY. The one Elvis used. I walked into the desk,"WHERES GRACELAND"? She told us we could walk, we threw our stuff in the room and took off! Once we saw the gates, two of us ran for the gates! And I held on and didn't want to let go! Thank God I got to see the area the way Elvis saw it. I was blessed!
|Leila @ Elvis' grave '78|
Yes, I have been to every one and plan to keep going. I love it!
|Leila & Carl Perkins @ Elvis Week|
11. How has Elvis Week changed? And the fans? You see a change?
Oh yes, it has changed and not for the better. How EPE took over the plaza, closed all the stores. It's all about the money and Elvis or his fans. Fans have changed. I noticed many on the Insiders have cut Elvis down. And to me, that isn't being a fan. I just don't like the attitude of how some fans cut other fans down for their opinions. I don't like it at all.
Fans are getting younger which is good. We need them for the future. But to tell you the truth, it really changed when Patsy Andersen quit. It all fell apart. They now do less for the fan clubs and do more for the Insiders. It makes me mad!
12. What do collect? What's your Elvis collection consist of?
For years, I collected magazines, newspaper clippings, records, Lps and 45s. I also have some plates, movies etc. What fan doesn't have tons of photos! I like them all.
|Nan & Leila on board a plane headed to Hawaii!|
13. I know you love Hawaii, share a little of your love affair of Hawaii with us.
You know me too well Megan! Hawaii has my heart for life. My Daddy was a boxer in the Navy during the war and his sparing partner was a local guy, David Kui Kong Young. They remained friends for life. So I heard about Hawaii all my life. I took my first trip in 1970, stayed with the Youngs. I fell in love with Hawaii. I fell in love with Hawaii. They had six boys and I was the only girl. It was fun!
Anyway, I love their culture, laid back ways, just the friendliest people on God's earth. I fell for their music big time! I felt I was home there. ESP when I go to Kauai. That is my island. I got to stay at Coco Palms a few times. I tell you I could feel Elvis there. If I keep talking about Hawaii,
I could write a novel. It's like Elvis' song, Home is where the heart is...and my heart is there!
14. Do you think Elvis Week, EPE has gone too commercial since CKX took over?
EPE has gone too far! Elvis would not be happy the way they treat us. He would have a fit. Prices are unreal!
15. What is your personal feelings on the ETA's?
I have seen many through the years. Some good, some just plain horrible....some take it too far. Go for attention. I know they aren't Elvis and never will be. But I enjoy them. I am picky who I see! But I don't go to all those contests. Just not into that. Besides it costs too much!
16. Where were you when Elvis died?
I was at home watching the local news. I was ready to turn the tv off, when they said, a special report from Memphis, Tn Elvis Presley The King of Rock & Roll has died in his home. I fell apart at the seems!
17. Did you go to the funeral?
No but I wanted to. I was a mess!
18. What do you think of Priscilla & Lisa?
I always loved Lisa. In the early years, I didn't like Priscilla but now I adore her. We can't put all the blame on her for their break up. We weren't there. She has done a lot and I admire her for it.
19. Do you like the new Viva Elvis album?
I just got it,not crazy for it. I like maybe a couple of songs. Not enough Elvis for me.
20. What do you love the most about Elvis?
The way he loved his God, his country, family, friends and his fans. He cared so much for others and helped so many. He had a big heart.
21. What makes you the proudest to be an Elvis fan?
For all he did while here. The way he treated everyone he met and how he would just help no matter what, he was there for them.
22. Tell us one of your best memories of being an Elvis fan?
Going to Graceland for the first time. Never thought I would be able to go there and go to his home. I could always feel him in the mediation gardens. Even today I can feel him.
|Leila & UK Friend @ Hickory Log|
23. Tell us your best memories of Elvis Week?
The old DAYS INN in the 80'S hanging at the gates when Harold invited us behind the gates, just my group, sitting on his car and he told us so many stories. One night at Graceland, we got mooned and Harold missed it and was so mad! I laughed so hard I almost fell off his car! He was a dear!
24. Anything bother you about Elvis Week, being a fan?
I think it's the way EPE sees us now. As fans, all they see is $$$. It's not the same at all.
|Buttons, Ceil & Leila - Elvis Week Memories!|
25. Anything you want to say?
I am so proud to be an Elvis fan because of him, I have met so many wonderful friends. I have memories for a life time. We share a deep love for this special man. You can't beat that. Because of Elvis, I got to meet Megan. God Bless you! You really do Elvis proud. He would love you for it.
*BIM Note: Thank You Leila! I'm proud to call you friend! God bless you!
This will be a new weekly feature where we will feature one of our fellow Elvis friends. If you have a friend you think should share their story with us, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. These interviews are copyright Backinmemphis.com - Megan Murphy. When referencing our stories & interviews, please use the direct link only.