Elvis was my first crush.
There. I said it.
I hesitate to broadcast it because I'm not an Elvis groupie. I've never been to Graceland and I don't have his birthday marked on my calendar...in fact, I didn't even realize he would have celebrated his 75th birthday this past week until CBS Sunday Morning featured some early Elvis photographs by Alfred Wertheimer.
Just a glance at those photographs...the dark hair, full, passionate lips and soulful eyes...(sigh...!) and I was back in the Pasadena Capitan Theater, walking down the aisle to my seat as Elvis sang the intro to "Viva Las Vegas"...staring up at him, falling in love with him and the song.
I was 5 years old.
Five years later, in 1970, he performed at the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. By sheer luck, Daddy and I scored free tickets - we were walking around the Livestock Show and someone gave us theirs...I can't remember the exact details or circumstances, but those tickets enabled me to share a moment in history with Elvis himself. Granted, we were only a few rows shy of the very top of the Astrodome - Elvis was a little doll dancing and singing far below us - but I was there! I remember seeing him...and I also remember the teenage girls squealing all around us.
I didn't feel compelled to squeal, despite my earlier crush. Maybe I was too young. Maybe I'm just not a squealer. But I think it's because Elvis wasn't Elvis to me anymore...he was already into his white jumpsuit days. His face was a little puffy and he had those sideburns...
I still loved some of his music, but he just wasn't...cool. Let's face it - he was middle-aged! No longer crush-material. I had moved on to Bobby Sherman.
I still loved some of his music, but in the Astrodome...especially near the very top...hell, all we could hear were those squealing girls!
Still, I was there! I shared that space, that bit of time with Elvis, and a wonderful memory with Daddy...but when I think of Elvis, it's not that Elvis...Elvis of the long sideburns and white jumpsuit. It's young, fun Elvis in "It Happened at the World's Fair", "Fun in Acapulco", and "Kissin' Cousins" (featuring Elvis in a blonde wig!)...it's Elvis making me want to dance, singing "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Teddy Bear"...it's my passionate, sexy Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas"...
Happy Birthday, Elvis...Let's dance!