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  • Writer's pictureMark Howitt

Elvis Forever: 2

The Plain Speaker newspaper was first published in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1888. After various mergers and name changes, in 2024 it still publishes in paper form seven days a week under the name the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.

The edition of the Plain Speaker published on Wednesday 7th August 1957 contained an interview with Jimmie Burns, age 63, and a postman - “but not just an ordinary postman. And as such, he is one of the few outsiders entitled to admittance behind the closely guarded walls of Graceland, Elvis’ Whitehaven mansion.”

The article goes on to explain how although Elvis has a mailbox outside the double gates of Graceland, he gets so much mail - “At least 500 or 600 letters a day and usually two or three packages, anyway.” - that Burns has to take the mail in his red, white and blue truck, through the gates, past the assembled teenagers hoping for a glimpse of their idol (“they’re always there”), and round the back of the house where he is usually met by Elvis’ father. “Mr. and Mrs. Presley are wonderful people. He’s got as nice parents as you’ll find anywhere.”

At our last house, our previous house I mean, I really hope our current house is our last house. At our previous house, our regular postman was - and presumably still is - a massive Elvis fan.

I can’t recall the circumstances in which I learned this nugget of information. He was always wearing headphones so perhaps one day when he rang the doorbell to deliver something that wouldn’t fit through our letterbox, I just straight out asked him what he was listening to, not anticipating a 10 minute doorstep discussion about Elvis bootleg CDs. It was a live recording from the 1950s which his daughter had given him, he said he would get me a copy if I wanted. And he rounded off that segment of the conversation by saying that his daughter was about the same age as mine.

He was mistakenly referring to my wife who he might have seen crossing behind me at the far end of the entrance hall and then only fleetingly. Although Andrea is younger than me, under no circumstances could she be confused with my daughter, not that I have a daughter. Well, there was the one occasion when we were on holiday in Saint-Malo, but that French woman had clearly been certifiably insane. It was unfortunate that she later recorded her hope that monsieur et sa fille had enjoyed their stay in her apartment in the comments section on the booking website, but what can you do.

Priscilla was 14 and Elvis 24 when they first met and started dating in Germany in 1959. Even though she was a child at the time, it’s doubtful that she was ever mistaken for his daughter.

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