Friday, August 16, 2013


Christal Cooper – 1,493 Words

Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper

January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977

Sharon Carlson
Colorado Springs, Colorado

“I was devastated. I was down the street from my house walking home (I was living in Warner Robins, Georgia at the time).  I was walking in front of my next door neighbors house.  My friend Steve was walking down his driveway,  saw me & said "Sharon, did you hear the news"? I said no.  He just blurted it out "Elvis died today." Well I didn’t believe him.  He said, "It’s true Sharon."  I ran across my front yard, jumped on the porch, and flung open the door, expecting my mom to be in the kitchen, my brother Stephen in his room, and my dad out back in his garage; but when I pushed the door open they were all in the living room staring at the TV with a look on their faces of sheer shock. I just screamed, “NOOOO!!!”  I walked in slowly, turned around to face the TV and there was Elvis’s picture, with the date of his birth and the day of his death.  My whole family had tears in their eyes, and I just became inconsolable.  I saw all the hundreds of people gathered on Elvis Presley Blvd in front of his home, people crying, people fainting, the traffic... once I saw that I believed it, but yet I couldn’t.  My brother and I had tickets to see him in concert in Macon in October, just 6 weeks away.   It was going to be our first time to see him in person. I don’t remember how long I cried, but it was days. Even recalling it now I have tears in my eyes. His death affected me like nothing else in my life ever has (except of course the death of my youngest daughter).  

My brother took me to a "tribute to Elvis" concert at the Macon Coliseum that took the place of the real thing.  I’ll never forget that he did that for me as long as I live. In fact that is the sweetest thing Stephen ever did for me.  I was just 2 months shy of my 9th birthday when Elvis died, too young really to be such a hard core fan; however, because of Stephen’s influence, Elvis's music was all I was ever exposed too.”

Tracey Cates-Sinclair
Panama City Beach, Florida
“I remember it very well.  I was living in a hotel in Germany (had been stuck there for 6 weeks in between housing assignments with my father). My Dad played the guitar and I thought he sounded a lot like Elvis, so it seemed like a part of my Dad died when we heard it on the radio.”

Kate Hendrix
O’Fallon, Illinois

“I've never been a big fan of Elvis, but my ex-husband LOVES him.  He bought tickets for us to see Elvis in Macon in 1972, but then he couldn't go because of work, and I went with my younger sister instead.  Elvis was really good, put on a fine show.  In 1977, Elvis played in Macon again, and this time Jerry and I went -- sometime in June, I believe.  You could tell Elvis had aged a lot -- his singing, movements, and overall show were not nearly as good as just five years before.  So that's the background. 
In August 1977, I was living in Warner Robins, GA. It was a Saturday. I was a college student at the time, on summer break, so I was just relaxing, thinking about what to make for dinner.  Jerry was putting a new roof on our house, and his sister called to tell me that Elvis had died.  I was really surprised, since Elvis was relatively young.  But I calmly went outside and asked Jerry to come down because I needed to talk with him.  I knew that if he didn't come down first, Jerry might just fall off the roof at the news.  He finally did get off the roof, and I brought him into the living room, gave him a large glass of cold water, and told him the news.  He was devastated.  We waited for the news to come on -- we didn't have 24-hour news channels then.  Jerry watched everything possible on the television about Elvis' death, and for days that's all anyone talked about, it seemed.”

Belinda Hughes
Lake Charles, Louisiana

         I still remember the headlines on the paper that day: The King Is Dead and I Can't Drive 55. My family was on vacation, taking me to visit Washington, DC for the first time and we had pulled up in my cousin's driveway so his mom, who was helping with the driving, could get in a visit. I went and picked up the paper and those were the only two headlines and they were huuuuge! Elvis had died and the truckers were blockading America's highways with a slow roll to protest the new federal speed limit. Interesting vacation.”

Rena Jones
Bigfork, Montana

“My mom took me to several Elvis concerts as a child in the 70s. One was in Los Angeles, but the others were in Las Vegas at the International Hilton. I had to have been under 10 years for all of the shows, but I remember them vividly. I can't even explain the feeling I got when "2001: A Space Odyssey" began ... it sent chills.
One time my mom tipped the maitre'd a hundred dollar bill and he sat us front row center. We were sitting with a bunch of Japanese girls and they tried to get me on the table to get up to Elvis. Being shy and the only kid there, I fought them off. I remember waiting through the entire show just for Elvis to sing "Fever". It was my favorite and the ladies went insane when he did his moves.
At one of the shows a woman went to the stage (they allowed this) and gave Elvis a kiss. As he let go of her hand, she had a grip on one of his massive diamond rings. He slipped it off and gave it to her.
I remember standing in the audience clapping and clapping for an encore. And then there was the famous, "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building" announcement, followed by the lights coming on.
Another time I was walking around outside the hotel when a helicopter landed and I saw Elvis step off. I ran inside and told my family, but none of them believed I had just seen him.
I remember the day he died. I was at a friend's house and my mom called me in tears. I asked her to pick me up. Seeing those shows, usually on a spur-of-the-moment deal, are the best memories I have of my childhood.”

Douglas McDaniel
Sedona, Arizona

      I was in a Mexican Food Restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, about to go home after a day at the job. I was a busboy at a place called Macayo's.”

Mark Miner
Albany, Oregon

“When I was six I went to Hawaii with my aunt, to Honolulu, and one morning we went down and walked on the beach before she headed to work, we were the only ones, until a group of guys started walking towards us...we were a little frightened, until they got closer, then my aunt started acting weird. When they got to us, my aunt hugged the dark haired guy in the middle and introduced him to me as Elvis Presley...he was a nice guy.”

Glenn and Dawn Richard
Spokane, Washington

“I don't have a lot to share other than the fact that Glenn swears Elvis held him when he was a baby.    Don't know if that's true or not but Glenn was born in Memphis and I think his mother told him that story.  Sadly, the thing I remembered about Elvis' death was that I thought it was such a shame. He was saddled with the same tragic legacy that so many stars experience - a dependence on drugs - more than likely an attempt to cope with the pressures of living a very public life.”

Cindy Shelton
Winter Springs, Florida

“I was at work at BellSouth in Dyersburg, Tennessee and we all thought it was just a rumor.  I remember his last song, Moody Blues, had just been released!! A very sad day.”

Maverick Wilcox
Pontiac, Michigan
“I got to see "the king" in Pontiac at the Silver dome New Year’s Eve when I was about 12! Most awesome experience of my life!!!!”

Judi Williams
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“I still am a fan of Elvis. I remember where I was when the news came that he had died. I lived in California at the time and was visiting in North Dakota. OH my goodness such a horrible shock.  I still love his music.  I was going to marry Elvis and then he met Priscilla.”


1.  Elvis in Jailhouse Rock 1957.  Public Domain.

2.  Sharon Carlson with pet kitty Bella.  Copyright by Sharon Carlson.

3.  Sharon Carlson and Stephen Talley, who passed away on April 13, 2012.  Copyright by Sharon Carlson.

4.  Sharon Carlson's Elvis Monopoly game. Copyright by Sharon Carlson.

5.  Elvis performing his 1968 Comeback Special on June 29, 1968.  Fair Use Under the U.S. Copyright   Law. 

6a. Kate Hendrix.  Copyright by Kate Hendrix

6.  Belinda Hughes.  Copyright by Belinda Hughes.

7.  Rena Jones.  Copyright by Rena Jones.

8.  Elvis meeting President Richard Nixon at the White House Oval Office on December 21, 1970.  Public Domain.

9.  Elvis performing his Aloha From Hawaii on January 14, 1973.  Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law. 

10. Glenn and Dawn Richard.  Copyright by Glenn and Dawn Richard.

11. Daughter Jennifer (left) and Cindy Shelton (right).  Copyright by Cindy Shelton.

13. Elvis's last album to be released while alive, Moody  Blue jacket cover.

14. Elvis's resting place at Graceland's Meditation Garden.  Attributed by Daniel Shwer.  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

15. Child Bride by Suzanne Finstad jacket cover of Elvis and Prisclla on their wedding day. 

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