Like a lot of people older than I remembered what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot, I can remember what I was doing when Elvis died.
It was summertime, I was ten years old and Mom and I were in Winchester, Ohio, just getting out of the car to go into the drug store when a flash came across the radio. Mom stopped dead in her tracks, tilted her head closer to the radio and listened intently as the announcer broadcast the awful news. Mom shook her head in sadness, gave me a weak smile and shut off the car. "Come on, we better go inside," she said.
We were outside on the sidewalk when someone we knew stopped for a quick chat and was totally surprised to hear a 10-year-old blurt, "Did you hear? We just heard it on the radio; Elvis died. The King of Rock-and-Roll is dead. That's what the announcer said anyway."
Complete shock! The lady's eyes widened, her mouth dropped open and she clutched her hand to her throat. "NO! That can't be true! Are you sure? We're the same age. NO!"
"I know, it's just awful," said Mom.
"Are you sure?" asked the lady.
We walked back to the car and flipped on the dial. WLW, 700 on your AM dial was broadcasting the same report that we had just heard. The lady stood there in complete shock listening to every word. At some point she began to sniffle and then weep silently. "I'm so sad. Tom and I saw Elvis down in Biloxi before he shipped off overseas. Since then he has always called me his teddy bear. I've gotta go home and tell him; this shopping can wait."
"Mom, why was that lady so sad?"
"Well, sweety, Elvis Presley was loved by a lot of people. You know how you love to run around the house yelling, "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog, cryin' all the time?"
"Well, Elvis sings that song."
"He does? I didn't know that. But why does Mr. Tom call her teddy bear?" I asked.
Mom gave me the classic over-the-glasses-look as only she can and said, "We'll talk about that later, we got to get home so I can tell your father. He saw Elvis in Germany, you know?"