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An Amazing Friendship

Most of the quotes of Elvis' given on this website and in my manuscript, Blue Star Love ~ From Elvis' Heart to Yours were gathered from a group of 25 persons who, when they knew Elvis, lived in Orange County, California. They were ordinary people, from all walks of life–housewives, doctors, lawyers, their spouses, children, mothers, in-laws, etc. Elvis put many of them in touch with one another saying, "You ought to call...."

How did Elvis develop these friendships? One at a time in various ways. As an example, one lady became his friend when he called the office of a doctor he had put through medical school and she was substituting for the receptionist. This woman had no idea who he was, but by the time she finished talking with him, she had told him her whole life story and given him her phone number! After she hung up, she told the regular receptionist about her long conversation with a total stranger, who now had her phone number. When she described the conversation to the other receptionist, the latter exclaimed, "Oh, that was Elvis Presley!"

Another Elvis friendship came about for two ladies who received a phone call from a man answering an add in the paper. These women were selling Elvis key chains. Elvis called them, asking to buy several jars full of the key chains! He gave his name as "Walter Goolick" -- the name of his character in "Kid Galahad" (these ladies were not die-hard Elvis fans, even though they were selling the key chains). Eventually, after several conversations the woman talking to him became suspicious, and asked him, "Are you Elvis Presley?" To which he replied, "Yes Mam." She asked him what he was doing with all these key chains, as he had ordered another few jars by then. Elvis answered, "Oh, I give them to friends." Elvis was really just wanting to make some new "phone friends," and he did!

There are many other stories, each person meeting him in a different way--usually by Elvis reaching out to THEM. He apparently had other groups of phone friends as well. Only some of the Orange County group actually ever visited with him in person. He would more often call them or once in awhile, they would call him, since he gave most of them the phone number that rang in his bedroom. He kept these friends private--not telling his family and Memphis Mafia that he had made numerous personal friends this way. Although there were those, like his father, who did suspect it as his phone bill was enormous.

As loving and friendly a man as Elvis was, it should really not be surprising that he reached out to people in ordinary walks of life this way. These were the people that he identified with--not other superstars. And yet because of his immense fame and the seclusion that was enforced upon him for nefarious reasons by those who had much to gain in doing so, he was shut away from what he considered to be his "peer group." His phone friends helped to fill that need for Elvis. He not only called these friends, he sent them birthday and Christmas cards which sometimes had little poems he had written in them; and gifts--often his own books, which contained comments scribbled my him in the margins. These special friends kept his confidences and he honored this with his devoted friendship that lasted for years. Wanda June Hill's friendship with Elvis began in 1963 until his death in 1977. He allowed her to tape certain conversations she had with him in order that these could be shared with his other friends in the Orange County group.

Elvis and Wanda

Wanda: I haven't got that many friends - I mean real friends. I know quite a few people, many of them I met because of you, but I don't say they are friends. They're acquaintances. 

Elvis: I know what you mean - I don't either. I mean, most of my so-called friends are hired employees doin' a job for me, you know? I don't have many people who are actual, true friends, someone I can talk to about things. It's different - they-they look at me as a-a boss, a person they have to please, or lose their position if they don't. It's not easy dealin' with that all the time - I-I get so I don't know for sure how to-how to act with them. What they expect of me, you know? You know honey, you-you understand more than-than just about anybody 'n yet you aren't here. You amaze me at times.

 Wanda: I listen well. And I know you pretty well, too. You've been open, and the things you don't say sometimes are more revealing that what you do say. You know that, don't you?

Elvis: I've learned that too. It pays to listen. Yet-yet I feel like you'd understand me 'n if you didn't, you wouldn't harp on me about it. That's nice to know - it's nice to have a friend who listens. You-you don't know how badly I need that at times. Just-jus' someone to listen - to bounce ideas off of an' to-to-to let it out, kind of, you know? It's one thing to remember things, its another to actually talk about them, understand?

Wanda writes about Elvis' friendship with her neighbor, Emma:

"We used to live next door to a wonderful widow lady named Emma. She had lives alone for years, worked hard all of her life and had retired about the time we moved next door. Emma didn't do well in retirement, she was lonely and after I got acquainted with her, she told me she had planned to take an overdose of pills, and in fact saved up enough to do the job but the day she planned to do it, I came over to ask her to help me sew an outfit to wear to see Elvis in Las Vegas. My sewing efforts were so funny, and she enjoyed my visit so much, she decided to live In a way, Elvis saved her life through me...but there is more to the story. I began telling her about Elvis, she wasn't a fan and I wanted to share him with her. I asked him to call her on her birthday...and he said if he had time, he would. A few days later in was in my kitchen and heard Emma in her house, laughing delightedly. A little later, she came pounding on my door, out of breath and very red-faced. "Wanda!" she exclaimed, "I'm going to have to lie down! I just talked to Elvis Presley!" She went on about how wonderful he was, how funny, and so polite! after that, Emma was a fan! Elvis enjoyed talking to her and though the calls were far between, I could always tell when she was talking to him--I could hear her laughing all the way to my house."

Wanda relates how Elvis aided a friend of her daughter's, who was then just a child:

"Our daughter often gave Elvis as a birthday present (meaning she would ask Elvis to call her girlfriends, and he would, but she only gave him to special friends...that's how (Elvis and Sherry got) acquainted. After that, Elvis sent gifts and often phoned Sherry on her birthday. Sherry loved him, listened to his advice and grew up under his influence. A few months before Elvis' death (when she was 13), Sherry was walking home from school with two girlfriends who lived in the same housing tract. Sherry stopped at her home to drop off her things before meeting them at their house. Hardly had she got inside when she heard an awful crash on the street. She ran out and saw her two friends crushed by a truck which had been driven by a drunk driver. Sherry was terribly upset. She had been seconds from a horrible death and had lost her best friends. Her mother was at work and she was pacing the floor and crying with no one to talk with. The phone rang and it was Elvis who had no idea what had happened, yet Sherry told me he had immediately started talking about life, death and what happens when you die, and how it is not to be feared. She said he saved her sanity. He spent more than an hour talking about the purpose of life and death. How did he know she needed him? He told me (later) that he had a strong urge to call Sherry--he just knew he had to call her and talk to her. The choice of subject--well, something had told him what to say. The ironic thing about all this is that he told her that if he got to heaven first, he'd look up her friends and say hello for her and tell them she'd be coming too. Less than a year later Elvis died, and less than two years later, Sherry had a terrible headache, lay down to rest and died in her sleep. Did Elvis prepare her? I believe that he did."




The book We Remember, Elvis by Wanda June Hill
(2nd Edition includes additional transcribed sections of the "Interview Tapes")
We Remember, Elvis - Book Reviews

This is a website created strictly as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Elvis, Elvis Presley, Graceland and TCB are all registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises. I make no claim to Elvis Presley Enterprises, Elvis Presley, his music, videos or voice.

All flash presentations, creative art and text is copyrighted by Maia Nartoomid (and in some instances with text and documents, Wanda June Hill) - all rights reserved.