He weren't nuthin' but a hound dog and women absolutely idolized him. He was sole recipient of the kind of adulation that the next generation was to portion out among four Beatles and a Rolling Stone.
Elvis with his sensual mouth and bedroom eyes, hips so bawdy that when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, the cameras refused to venture below his belt, managed to break the hearts of millions of women who never met him.
Imagine, then, what it was like to be 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, an army brat living in Germany, where Elvis was also stationed, spotted by one of the singer's friends and invited to a Presley party. "Nothing seemed dressy enough for meeting Elvis Presley. I settled on a navy and white sailor dress and white socks and shoes. I thought I looked cute, but being only fourteen, I didn't think I'd make any kind of impression on Elvis."
She did, though, and they began a strange love affair that went on for years without ever being consummated: "Someday we will, Priscilla, but not now. You're just too young . . . There'll be a right time and a place and when the moment comes, I'll know it."
And so "Instead of consummating our love in the usual way, he began teaching me other ways of pleasing him. We had a strong connection, much of it sexual. The two of us created some exciting and wild times. It was the era of the Polaroid and the beginning of videotape. He was the director and I his star acting out fantasies. We dressed up and undressed, played and wrestled, told stories, acted out our fantasies, and invented scenes. Whether it was dressing up in my school uniform and playing at being a sweet, innocent school girl or a secretary coming home from work and relaxing in the privacy of her own bedroom, or a teacher seducing her student, we were always inventing new stories, and eventually I learned what stimulated Elvis the most. Almost every night I made quick trips to the local drugstore to buy considerable amounts of Polaroid film. Some of the cashiers knew me, and I wondered if they suspected what we were doing."
Priscilla, by this time, is 16 and she has somehow persuaded her parents to let her live in Memphis, supposedly with Elvis' father and stepmother, while she attends a Catholic high school.
Actually, she is at Graceland living a life that, despite the sexual games, sounds more like Peter Pan than the Marquis de Sade. There is Grandma down the hall, secretly taking snuff and confiding in 'Cilla, Daddy Vernon keeping tight hold of the purse strings, and at all hours day and night there are the boys who make up Elvis' play group. They are on call for the late-night movie excursions to the Memphian, where Elvis rents the whole theater so they can watch their films without being mobbed; they climb into the van for quick trips to Las Vegas, careen around the grounds at Graceland in go-carts, shoot firecrackers at each other on the Fourth of July and, when Elvis is seized with a mania for horses, they trot around Tennessee like a squadron of the U.S. cavalry.
For Priscilla, life at Graceland, with its uppers and downers and constant excitement, is tempered by the fact that she is a schoolgirl; every morning, exhausted, she crawls out of bed, puts on her uniform and goes to class. "I was leading a double life -- a schoolgirl by day, a femme fatale by night . . . Elvis had given me a small pearl-handled derringer and I carried it in my bra or tucked it into a holster around my waist . . . While my classmates were deciding which colleges to apply to, I was deciding which gun to wear with what sequined dress. I was tempted to say to Sister Adrian, 'Oh, by the way, Sister, does gunmetal gray go with royal blue sequins?' "
From their first meeting, Elvis has molded the adoring Priscilla into the woman he wants, someone completely dependent on him -- and devoted to pleasing him. Having created the perfect wife, he finally marries her. And now it is the right time and place. Priscilla becomes pregnant, but with the baby, she grows up; adults don't live in never-never land, and so she leaves.
"Elvis and Me" is a sad, sweet book, and if the writing will win no prizes, the story it tells is fascinating.