ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Fans of Elvis Presley who can't make the pilgrimage to Graceland can get a taste by driving past Kim Epperly's front yard.

She and her husband, Don, have put together a model of the mansion that Mrs. Epperly illuminates every night with Christmas lights as she plays Elvis records to serenade the neighborhood.

''I built it for the love of Elvis,'' she said.

It was a year ago in July that Mrs. Epperly had her husband began work on the 3-foot-tall Graceland. The model is 25 feet wide and 12 feet deep, surrounded by 46 small, live bushes trimmed to look like trees.

''I would get homesick for Graceland. Going to Memphis is like going home,'' said Mrs. Epperly, who has made the trip eight times.

''When he died, you couldn't go see him in concert anymore. You had your records and your Elvis room,'' which in the Epperly home is a basement full of thousands of Elvis items ranging from an Elvis mannequin to real hair from the star's head.

''But you need to go to Graceland, where you've got something in common with the Elvis fans,'' she said.

Mrs. Epperly and her husband spend hours keeping Graceland up. There are four Elvis dolls, each roughly the size of a Barbie, that take turns standing on the front porch. Mrs. Epperly is on call to move Elvis under the tiny porch when it rains.

Mrs. Epperly says she knows Elvis would approve of his little home in Roanoke.

''I think God lets him peek down from time to time and see it,'' she said.

Don Epperly has never been to Graceland, because he ends up taking care of the kids and the house whenever Mrs. Epperly goes.

''All I've seen is pictures,'' he said. ''I like him. I like his music and I think he was great. I don't scream and fall over.''


DALLAS (AP) - Texas children picked the gender-neutral Pogo Ball over a water pistol that looks like an Uzi submachine gun and Barbie dolls in a survey of the toy they'd most like to receive for their birthday.

The survey by a Dallas-based marketing research company also showed that pre-teens in Texas are influenced by sexual stereotypes instilled by their parents.

About 58 percent of the girls said their parents would not approve of G.I. Joe or Rambo, while 82 percent of the boys said Barbie would be an unpopular choice with their parents.

''The survey shows that children favor toys that generally correspond with their impression of what is acceptable based on sex,'' said Pete Bogda, corporate executive vice president of M-A-R-C Inc. ''The Pogo Ball, an athletically oriented toy which is not gender-sensitive was the only exception.''

Bogda's company coordinated and compiled the results of the survey, in which 403 boys and 403 girls 12 years of age and younger participated last Saturday at 18 malls in seven Texas cities.

About 39 percent of the respondents favored the Pogo Ball as their first choice for a birthday gift - 33 percent of the boys and 44 percent of the girls, Bogda said.

About 25 percent of the girls selected Barbie and 21 percent chose Pound Puppy, while 26 percent of the boys preferred the Uzi water gun and 16 percent liked a baseball bat and ball, he said.