Excerpt from “It’s Not a Rumour” manuscript:
The first time I saw Elvis in concert, it wasn’t actually Elvis. When I was still in elementary school in the late 1950’s in Minneapolis, my grandmother (and soul-spirit!) Nanny babysat me after school. Sometimes my brother Doug and I got to sleep over at Nanny’s, and she’d take us to see a variety show at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars community center a few blocks away. Afternoon light poured in through the building’s arched windows, illuminating rows of metal fold-up chairs. White columns scattered around the room seemed to be holding up its roof. A mix of senior men and families, but mostly widows, found open seats. Chatter settled into a low hum. I fidgeted and wiggled in my chair.
“Ricky, sit still, you’re gonna fold yourself up in that thing.” Nanny scolded me, with the kind of smile that told me she was just sayin’ it because she had to, not because I actually had to stop.
The lights dimmed and a teenage kid a few years older than me took the stage. He wore his hair slicked back with a curl in front, his outfit a button down shirt and jacket with wide lapels, baggy pants with pleats, and wing-tipped shoes like Ricky Ricardo.
My jaw hit the floor. It was the hippest costume I had ever seen.
A familiar song I’d heard at Nanny’s called “Heartbreak Hotel” started piping through the auditorium’s speakers. My legs stopped wobbling; I stilled in my chair.
Yesterday I downloaded Elvis essentials and played all those old Elvis songs (Heartbreak Hotel, That’s All Right Mama, Teddy Bear, Blue Suede Shoes and Jailhouse Rock” and Rick and I danced and tried to shake our hips and he remembered! He didn’t remember all the words but he sang every melody and he was doing his own Elvis impersonation and it was great to see him so happy! Thank you Elvis for being so great!