Walk a mile in my shoes

How Elvis has a big influence on a boys life                                                      

 15 august 1977

If you would look in my room , a room of a normal 12 year old boy 

A green carpet, a wooden bed in the shape of a guitar , the walls and even the seeling full with Elvis posters , my alarm clock had an Elvis statue on it , on my desk Elvis photos in silver and gold frames . And even my bed covers had an elvis on it .

Yes you could say I was a normal boy with a hobby, and that hobby was of course Elvis.

But for me Elvis was not a hobby Elvis was a lifestyle , his music his personality, he represented all I wanted to be. I want to be Like Elvis Live like Elvis , I wore my hair the same as him , I wore flashy blouses to school and I even tried to sing like him .

So I was leading the life of a normal twelve year old boy.

How did I become addicted to elvis? While you can blame my mother for that , and this  story she told me many times , on one day she went with boyfriend to a concert of Elvis

And from that day on , as she would say , she found her religion.

She even told me I was conceived at that concert, as soon Elvis left the stage she took her boyfriend to the bathroom in the hotel , and apparently there I was made , And I was made for greatness she told me , with the spirit of Elvis in my genes .

After that day she split up with her boyfriend , but they kept in contact with each other and  every now and then he came over to visit us.

I like him. He is relaxed and  a really cool guy, and I know he likes me,

 because when he comes he always gives me presents.

And I knew tomorrow on my birthday he would give me something special.

Something I could use to entertain people he told me.

The next day was my birthday I remember that one good

I woke up and walked into the shower , I grabbed  the chair and put it in the front  closet ,

and there on top of the closet , there  was a silver box with a lock on it.

I took the key form the Elvis chain I was wearing, a chain my mother give to me on my last birthday It had a mini guitar on it and in that guitar  I kept  a key

With the key I opened the box and in the box where two plastic bottles

 each with a photo of Elvis singing

One bottle was body gel and the other one was shampoo.

Today was a special day and I’ve been saving these bottles for special occasions.

While I was in the shower , I tried to memorise some of the lyrics of Elvis songs .

Today I had my birthday party  and my mother told me I could invite ten children.

She already made a cake with chocolate and afourse Elvis on top .

When I finished my shower, I went to work at my hair in front of a big mirow

I put on my new jumpsuit , normally I would never wear that to school , my mother was always afraid that the other children would make fun of me or even worse.

My mother and I spent hours working on this jumpsuit, she had this old sewing machine.

I helped her cut the fabric and choose the colored diamonds for it.

By now on my school and after talking insults and beatings of bullies  for years and years

They all knew I Was not going to change , this was me , and after one day my father visited the school and came into my classroom , and you have to know my father is more than two meters big, and he had the reputation of being some kind of a criminal,

 from that day on the children  well the bullies left me alone.

And then I started to get new friends, friends who didnt care of what I did

and how I looked.

And my mother also knew that today was jumpsuit day , so no use for her to argue,

I Iwas going to wear it no matter what. It was my thirteenth birthday.

By now my mother had a new boyfriend ,  and he would be here in 20 minutes 

to take me to school ,he was a big elvis fan to , no surprise,

It was like a requirement from my mother. If  you want to date me, You have to love Elvis. 

Well this one met all the requirements he had the Elvis hairstyle  big sideburns, big tattoos

of elvis on both of his arms ,he always wore cowboy boots he played the  guitar

 and he was a truck driver.

He was a bit strange but I liked him when came over ,we always played guitar together,

 Well at least he did ,I was still learning how to play .

He use to sit in the rocketchair and I in front of him on the floor,

 trying to repeat what he was playing, and then we sang together while my mother was lying on the sofa listening to us.

The only thing was that when he talked he had this strong southern accent ,

and he always used Elvis lyrics in his sentences,so most of the time

My mother had no idea what he was talking about, but I did ,

it was like we had a secret code between us  

On  those days and moments he made me and my mother happy.

And if felt like we had a family

I was ready to go,I heard my mum yelling Rock is here ,come on down you don’t want to be late for school.

I did one last look in the mirror, pointed my hands sideways and said 

Elvis has left the building

Wow boy you look good Rock said, you look like Elvis at the concert he did back in 1974, exactly the same suit and belt and everything.

Come over here and give your uncle a kiss,  are you gonna TCB today ?

Well honey we ready to go, give your king a kiss.

I kissed my mother and there we went in his big truck , and while we were driving, he put this cassette in of Elvis country music , his favorite Elvis songs .

When we arrived at school ,just before I got out he told me Happy birthday kid, here I hope you like it?

He gave me an envelope inside there where two tickets, two tickets for an Elvis concert  

In October this year.

I didn’t know what to say, I just stumbled  and said thank you, don’t worry kid it’s for you and your mother , now you’re gonna see your king, the king live.

This is the best present ever,this is the best day in my life ever , I almost started to cry.

Listen, get out ,show your friends the tickets and then give them back to me. I will hold them for you, you don’t wanna be a fool, for  losing them.

I jumped out of the truck and saw  my friends were already waiting for me on the sidewalk.

I scream to them I am gonna see elvis, they didn’t believe until Ishowed them the tickets

I climbed back on the truck and gave the tickets to Rock, he looked at  me ,and said 

Today kid you are tigerman ,and don’t you forget that .

The day it self at school I couldn’t pay attention I just want to go home with my friends 

For the birthday cake and the show I was planning to do.

 When we all were sitting in the kitchen eating the cake, I went upstairs ,change my jumpsuit 

For a  leather jacket , put some more gel in my hair.

I was kind of nervous but when I came downstairs and I saw Rock sitting in the rocking chair

Also dressed in a leather jacket now and with his guitar I was ok

All my friends wheres sitting on the floor in a circle and I was standing in the middle 

And then the doorbell rang. It was my father, he said he couldt stay . but he gave me a box , when I opened it I saw a real silver microfoon, a real one , he told me he had to go away for awhile but he would come back., when I walked back in the house 

 Rock connected the microfoon to the hifi system and said go cat go.

and as soon as the music started , I started to sing .

I did two songs from the Christmas special  I was singing. I was rocking and I was happy.

They all liked it  and they gave me a big applause.

It was my best birthday ever.

                                                16 August 1977

I remember that day,mother woke me up crying and told me I didn’t had to go to school

I didn’t understand, so half asleep. I went downstairs and I could hear the TV really loud.

I saw my mother sitting on the sofa crying and crying , I just sat next to her and gave her a kiss, then I turned my head and their it was on the news Elvis died,

 I couldn’t believe it so I changed the channel but no matter what channel  I pressed on the tv

it was all over like there was nothing else on the tv ,only Elvis.

What are we going to do mom I asked her?

Come here sweetheart sit next to me she said  and when we were sitting on the sofa holding each other and both crying she whispered in my ears,Your the King now.

 The next week Rock came to pick us up , we drove for hours but finally we were there, Graceland , we stood there on the sidewalk between I don’t know, thousand tens thousand of people crying and singing Elvis songs .

When the black limousines drove by Rock took me on his shoulder,and I could hear somebody screaming ,Elvis I love you and Sitting on his shoulders I could feel

 Rock was crying and I saw my mother crying .

Then I started to scream Elvis ,Elvis and everybody around us started to scream his name. Elvis Elvis ,Elvis.

On the way back we didn’t talk , we just listened to the gospels Elvis sang.

The  rest of the school year went by and  on my holidays. I was at home and sometimes

 Rock took me with him for a fews days on the road, and we always kept singing 

ELvis songs, but it was not the same anymore, It was like when he died there was 

a piece of us missing.

And it  took me years to come to find that piece again.

Finally I finished school  and went to university, their I shared  a room with a really nice guy

He was a rocker and a blower , smoke weed almost all the time , In the evenings sitting in our room we had long discussions about music,he said rock music has changed the world, Then I answered him that without Elvis there would be no rock music.

Of course at that time I didn’t wear the jumpsuits anymore. I still had my hair in Elvis style and  I wore a big belt with diamonds everyday.

But during my time there  I basically  had no problems , everybody was just too busy with themself or their studies .

Than In my last year two months before I graduated , I saw her for the first time

On one day we all got visitors My mom and Rock came over and we did a picnic in front of the campus in the grass, Rock had this little cassette player that was playing Elvis songs 

My mother looked tired but I just thought it must be the long ride over here 

Behind us was my roommate sitting  and next to him I saw the most beautiful woman

 I’ve saw in my life, and when she saw me looking at her she gave me a smile,

At that moment Rock looked at me and said to my mother,

 look honey the Hound Dog is on the loose

But then I knew  there sitting in the grass, one day I would marry her.

Later that evening my roommate and me where sitting on our beds , when suddenly he said, 

You like Tammy don’t you? I saw you looking at her, well she asked me if you had  a girlfriend , then he started to laugh, I didn’t know what to say.

One the day of graduation Rock was there to watch me , he told me my mother was not feeling well , and the trip would exhaust her more.

He gave me a present for my graduation , a first edition white bootleg album of Elvis, with his signature on the back

The day later I moved to a little house together with Tammy her brother my old room mate helped us move with his car

It was a perfect little house, it even had a little office, well it was the old garage,  together we rebuilt it into an office space and on the door a golden plaquette with my name .

I was now an official psychiatrist, it didn’t take long before I got the reputation as the village King shrink, because  also one of my ways to put people at ease in my office was to find out what kind of music they liked, and then I looked for a similar song of Elvis

and played that for them.

And it worked every time because I knew  there is a Elvis song for everybody

Not long after we moved  Tammy got pregnant, and by now we were settled down

I had to give up my room where I kept all my Elvis stuff , but I didn’t mind  , together we build a beautiful baby room , and one thing she allowed me to do , was to build a baby bed in the form of a guitar , it was the same guitar bed I had when I was young.

We were  living the life as a family now I could not be more happier .

MY baby grew up so fast, and I didn’t push it but he definitely likes the music from Elvis .

Then one  day I got a call from Rock , my mother had passed away. 

He said please come over, I don’t know what to do here.

The same we took the car and drove to my old place , when we got there in the morning

Rock was sitting in his rocking chair. He had his guitar on his lap and didn’t say anything. 

He was just staring at the sofa, and I knew what he was seeing.

Later he told  me my mother already was sick for a long time , but she didn’t want Rock to tell us that, she didn’t want to worry nobody.

Rock gave me a letter my mother wrote before she died, he said  that I should read the letter after the burial.

Wel left Rock alone and went to a nearby hotel I could not stay in the house now,

too many memories, too much pain.

The next morning when we woke up  first we went to the house to pick up Rock, 

The ceremony was  intense and beautiful the same time  Rock  had his old cassette player with him and it was playing Elvis gospels.

After that we went back to the house with all the people who were there.

At one time I went up to my old room, and saw everything was still the same: the bed, the mirror, the posters I was now tall enough to reach on top of the closet , and reach for  the silver box,it was still there.

I opened the closet , and I saw my white cape . I put it around my neck

 and stood like that in front  of the  mirror.

I took the letter from my mother and started to read.

Dear son 

I never regret the day I met your father 

When you where a baby I knew you would be a signal a light in the darkness

Someone to change things 

To change people lives and the  the way they think

Like Elvis There must be peace in the valley.

I hope your child will never feel the pain you did 

But I’m sure you will teach him right from wrong.

And you know the King never dies

I love you 

Pss take care of Rock for me bit , that old hound dog 

you know the reason he and me never had a fight?

He was the first who didn’t care, all he saw was a boy who needed a father 

And besides that I could never understand one word what he was sayin to me 

Xxx Mom

When I looked in the mirror I heard somebody came into the room

He honey you’re alright ?  my wife said while  she laid  her arms around me.

I just started to cry, and she said look,look in the mirror you know what I see

I see a big black proud man ,who has everything he always dreamed of

A family of his own, a family  who loves him.

Your mother will be proud of you.

                                                THE END

Copyright Coenraad

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