"I gave up my life for Elvis"
by: GERI PARLIN / La Crosse Tribune, 4 Sep 2007
Read EIN's interview with Patti Parry
Patti Parry met Elvis Presley when she was 17, and it was just as you might imagine it. The year was 1960 and it was a sunny day in California. She and her girlfriend were driving down Santa Monica Boulevard in an old Buick on their way to a fraternity party and they spotted a fancy black Rolls Royce.
|It’s Elvis, they realized, and Parry pretended not to recognize him.
“You look familiar. Do I know you from somewhere?” she coyly asked.
Pretty soon, she was living with Elvis — not as a girlfriend but as a member of the Memphis Mafia. She was a little sister to the men who hung in a tight circle around Elvis and she gave up her youth and a chance at romance so she could hang with The King.
“Our personalities just bonded,” said Parry, who will attend the Elvis Explosion Sept. 7-9 at the La Crosse Center.
“He was gorgeous, he was 25,” but Perry knew she was not meant for a romance with Elvis.
“So he adopted me. I didn’t leave for 17 years. I gave up my life to Elvis.”
Her parents weren’t happy. She stopped dating, gave up life as she knew it, and traveled with Elvis and the gang. And because of that, she said, she never had children.
“Where he went, I went. I have no children because I gave up my life for him. Where he went, I followed.”
Maybe you had to know Elvis to understand. But 30 years after his death, Parry said she still misses him. She’s almost 65 and has just retired from her work as a hair dresser. And it’s only recently that she’s gotten on the Elvis circuit to talk about her time spent with Elvis.
|Parry said Elvis was probably attracted to her honesty and the sense of family she gave him.
“I told him the truth, and he loved me for that. I looked after him. He trusted me. Those guys, they adopted me.”
She enjoys the tribute shows, she said, because they keep Elvis’ memory alive.
“They have wonderful, wonderful tribute artists. I do not have any problem with tribute artists as long as they don’t think they’re Elvis. They love him and they honor him.”
At the Elvis Explosion, she will share stories of life with Elvis and what it was like to live the life. “We shared the life of a millionaire. This is to honor Elvis. This is about my friend. I love to talk about it and people love it. That’s what it’s all about.”
IF YOU GO
What: 10th annual Elvis Explosion, hosted by Ronny Craig with convention, competition and benefit, featuring more than 25 impersonators and Patti Parry, a member of the Memphis Mafia.
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday for semifinals and 1 p.m. Sunday for finals
Where: La Crosse Center
Tickets: $23 to $30 in advance, $2 more at the door; sold at Quillin’s IGA stores, WLFN Radio Group, Mirage Sports Bar, Salon Medusa, Lenny’s Boot and Shoe Repair, Glory Days Sports Pub, Visual Changes in La Crosse and West Salem and Crazy Horse Saloon in West Salem, or (608) 386-7809.