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
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."
MORE...WANDA JUNE HILL REMEMBERS ELVIS