Posted August 16th, 2020
I am often asked who my first interview was. I always chuckle to myself as I answer, “Col. Tom Parker.”
Here’s the story:
Mom and Dad raised me listening to Elvis Presley. The first records I ever owned were hand-me-downs 45 rpm records from my mom that consisted of “Were My Ring Around Your Neck”, Dontcha Think It’s Time”, and “Blue Christmas”, and “It’s Christmas Time”. I have those records safely stored and will never sell them. The first movies I ever was taken to as a kid were Elvis movies but I don’t remember which ones they were. I just know that he was cool, got in fights, won, and always got the girl. Even at a pre-school age I knew that those were important accomplishments. The first albums I bought on my own were “Let’s Be Friends”, “Flaming Star”, “On Stage”, and a little later, “Aloha From Hawaii”.
Shortly after watching the “Aloha From Hawaii” broadcast on TV, I learned that Elvis was coming to town (Phoenix, Arizona).
I’ll stop right her to give you a little more context to what led to me meeting the Colonel.
My mom had my sister and I in church every time the church doors were open. My sister and I weren’t allowed to do much on Sundays because we were supposed to “keep it holy”. It was also supposed to be a day of rest.
So, with that as a backdrop, when I learned that Elvis was coming to town, I was excited beyond my teenaged ability (I was thirteen at the time) to contain myself. Then I saw when the show was taking place: April 22nd (1973).
Not just any Sunday but . . . Easter Sunday.
I had never attended a concert before. And though my mom adored Elvis, I knew there was NO WAY my mom would allow me to attend the concert. I mean NO. FREAKING. WAY! Still, I asked, knowing what the answer was going to be. I mean, after all, what would the people at church think and say? We might even be run out of the church if she allowed me to go. But, still, I asked.
I was wrong.
She said I could go under two conditions. One, I still had to go to church Sunday morning and Sunday night (the concert was being held in the afternoon). Two, I had to by the ticket myself.
Huh? Mom said I could go?
I bought the ticket and as soon as church was over that Easter Sunday, Mom drove me to Veterans Memorial Colosseum . . . two hours before the start of the show. The photos on the right are of the incomplete report I wrote for a school project. It memorializes the events that day better than I remember them. The short version of it all is that is where I met the Colonel and asked him three short questions.
That night, I wasn’t met with derision by my fellow church goers. In fact, they acted a little envious. We didn’t get run out of church, either. In fact, the only “problem” (if you want to call it that) I encountered was my friends at school laughing at me because they didn’t think Elvis was cool.
All these years later, I still think about that momentous event. What it took for my mom to allow me to go to the show in the face of possible criticism from our small congregation. I actually got to see ELVIS! I still can’t believe it. And though I don’t know for sure if that influenced me thirty-six years later to launch Boomerocity (which I did in 2009), I kinda think it did.
What do you think?
R.I.P., Mom . . . and tell Elvis I said “Hi”.