As a youth, I lived in Memphis and I went to East High. You could say I really wasn't crazy about school and looked forward to the Summer when it was over, I loved my free time in the Summer, so I was a bit sad when my father asks me
to go yo work with him one day in Jun darn! My dad owned a furniture store he named Golden's in midtown Memphis. He was popular because he not only sold furniture, carpets, drapes but would go to individual homes to see if it looked just right. Anyway, with my eyes looking down, I ask him "ok. where are we going?"
He said "He is a singer called Elvis Presley and we are gonna work on his new house.
I was dumbfounded !! Elvis Presley!! Yes, you can help clean up after the workers finish an area. Wow! a "throw out the trash Boy"
at Graceland!!. This is gonna be a great Summer! My father was a pure country music fan who loved Eddie Arnold. I don't believe he was quite ready for rock and roll, but I sure was. I was always glued to Dewey Phillips, Red hot and blue show I, believe on WHBQ at that time. All the Memphis kids were turned in to
Red Hot and Blue as the soon to be new King exploded on the airways.
Elvis was not there when I started my job. I followed some of the carpet layers upstairs to what looked like a bedroom.
They were laying a beautiful white carpet. My job was eas,y as all I had to do is clean up the trimmings. I was a happy camper -
I'm at Graceland and I'm cleaning up for Elvis Presley. Was this really happening!! It was!!!
And so the work went on until one day a car pulls up the long driveway and Elvis waS HOME! He met with my dad and was happy with the work.
Actually, it was Gladius, Elvis's mother who originally approved the decorating contract for my dad. Her approval came after she was overwhelmed by two professional interior decorators brought in for out of state. They were showing her all kinds of blueprints, pictures, and fabrics. My dad was on the other side of the room, small talking with Vernon, Elvis's dad. At one point Glayds said in a large stern voice "Mr. Golden is going to do the work" . It was a done deal. No more negotiations!
Elvis and my dad hit it off really well. My dad was original and he had ideas that Elvis liked.
Let's put a soda fountain over there next to the pool table. In the living room, we can make a custom sofa that goes across the whole room.
Yes, let's put three TV's together so you can them all at the same time. My dad was not a college-trained interior decorator, but a regular guy with ideas and good with his hands. They were buddies and my dad 's first name was George. but Elvis alway,s respectively. called him Mr. Golden.
The one time I got in trouble on my fantastic job was with carpet trimmings I cleaned up. I put the trimmings in my pockets and sold them for 50 cents apiece. You can imagine they sold well especially with the girls!! My business career ended swiftly when one of the gird's father called my dad and I was given a stern talking-to to cut it out. ha! I never have been good at business since that learning experience.
There was a time when Elvis pulled into the garage. He stopped and opened the trunk and he pulled out BB guns! He handed me one and I couldn't
believe, I was walking around the back of the house shooting rocks and stuff with Elvis! I'm a lot older now. I sure wish I had held on to that BB gun!!
So as I've said my dad and Elvis hit it off even though musically my dad like Eddie Arnold tunes.
My dad and his worker's worn brown jumpsuits with Goldens printed on them. they also drove brown Vam trucks in amd out of Graceland.
Elvis had a great idea and my dad agreed to the following plan. If Elvis put on the brown jumpsuit and pull a cap over his head and srive one of the brown vans he could sneak out of Graceland without anyone knowing! Brillant and he did!!! My dad said later to enjoy the trick escape more he removed the cap
when pulling through the gates so the flabbergasted guards could see his face smiling like a mischevious boy!!!!
Then came the day that became surreal for me. Elvis wanted to pick up some mail and items from his previous smaller house in East Memphis.
He needed to move to Graveland because of his East Memphis house neighbors couldn't get to their homes as the fans were blocking the flow of traffic as Elvis's fame grew. My dad said "Tommy do you want to ride with Elvis on a trip to his other house.
So there the pickup trash kid -me- found myself riding with King in a white continental down Lamar Ave. Surreal !!!
Like in a dream, I look to my left. Yes, it was Elvis Presley for real!! I'm sitting shotgun Elvis driving. Just me and Elvis! He was calm just looking ahead and crushing. The windows were up. I believe the AC was on. I was in a daze. I was in a dream!! I noticed we had stopped at a Lamar Ave, stoplight. A nervous
kid, I relax a bit, but as the light was almost ready to turn green, a car with teenage girls pulled up beside us. I was back in a surreal dream. I could see them screaming face, pointings pulling at their hair, but it was silent. The Continental with windows up and air on.I was in a dream again.
We were in Popular Ave. when Elvis spoke. " "What school did you go to". East High I managed to say. Oh, I know East High he said began to tell me how he had a job during electrical work. Electrical work I ask Yeah mainly in the auditorium he said. Later I read he did work for CrownEelectric.
We pick up the mail and a few teddy bears fans had sent and then drove back to Graceland. The mail and teddy bears were put in a small storage house in the back. What an amazing day!
That's my Summer with Elvis Story
I wrote this story while listening to George Finn and his fantastic music and Memphis talk show on WMPS!brian