Elvis Fans Scrawl Devotional Messages On Wall Outside Graceland
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Twice a year for the past 13 years, Beth Chandler has made the pilgrimage popular among Elvis Presley fans - to Graceland, the late singer’s estate.
Ms. Chandler, who lives in Santa Bruno, Calif., says she was often among the fans who waited for hours by the stone wall surrounding Graceland in the hopes of spotting Presley.
″He came out,″ she said with a sigh and a smile.
Ms. Chandler is in Memphis again, along with many of the 50,000 other tourists and fans expected to tour Graceland this month during a nine-day celebration commemorating Presley’s death 10 years ago on Sunday.
The wall by which Ms. Chandler patiently waited now serves as a billboard of devotion to Presley.
Presley had the five-foot wall built in 1957, leaving it low enough for the white-columned house to be seen from the road, say Graceland officials.
The wall’s smooth stones bear the messages of hundreds of fans who have visited Graceland, many apparently confident of meeting the king of rock ‘n’ roll someday in heaven.
″Elvis - if you knew Christ then I hope to see you in Heaven,″ wrote G.J.D. of New Jersey.
On the adjacent boulder, Linda, who left no address, wrote simply ″Love ya.″
″Although we lost a special friend, we must remember we were the generation blessed by the KING, ELVIS,″ another fan penned.
″Elvis, we miss you always,″ two fans named Lisa and Dorrie wrote on May 4, 1987.
Nearby, an anonymous fan scratched out: ″Elvis: I AM your love child.″
Adoration for The King, as he’s acknowledged on the wall, spans generations other than that said to be blessed by him.
″Elvis, I was only turning seven when you left us, not old enough to understand the loss ... but you’re always on my mind. I love you always, Love, Krista.″
Mike McGregor, a former Presley employee who often worked in the guard booth at Graceland’s entrance, recalls that fans would crowd the fence and the front gate at all hours of the day or night, whenever they thought Presley was at home.
″He’d come down, sign autographs,″ McGregor said. Often, Presley would sign belongings that were tossed over the wall by fans and then toss them back, he said.
But not all messages on the Graceland wall are as reverential as the ″Dear, dear Elvis, I miss you so much″ note left in pencil.
″Elvis who?″ wrote one visitor. Another message said, ″Elvis: Just Say No,″ referring to his drug abuse.
Another fan counters skeptics with this thought: ″Those who did not like Elvis, did not know Elvis.″
When not referred to as ″The King,″ Graceland’s former owner is always addressed on the wall as Elvis - never Presley. Or in the case of the message from Diane, ″To my hunk-a-hunk of burning love,″ from the words of a Presley song.
But the anonymous message left sometime in 1986 may best express the sentiment of Presley’s determined and devoted admirers who can’t seem to get enough of him: ″Elvis in Excess 3/8″