SECOND NIGHT VISIT - I Don't Know What to Call This One Yet - PRINCE CHARMING?
Tossing and turning in distress after the night before's developments, I drifted all night in a twilight sleep which causes one's dreams to be very vivid. When I neared waking, my dream was extremely colorful and real, but also laughable. Honestly! I kid you not! I am telling you this embarrassing dream because it is relevant to things that happened later that night. Yes... go ahead and laugh. I really don't mind. I'm still laughing at it myself... if it makes you... the reader... feel any better.
I became conscious as I was dreaming a Disney Cartoon! And the cartoon sound-track was "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella. What was to soon wake me though, while in that dream state, was my consternation that Jiminy Cricket was in it and he didn't belong there! ("Pinocchio"). "You're supposed to be singing "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide!" I was sternly telling him, "and you should know, Jiminy, that Ilene Woods had sung it and it really was a Franz Lizt Etude"... (true, but go figure why I was yelling at Jiminy about this, as he was busy floating towards me with his umbrella which was on the verge of collapsing! (I thought it weakened because his "too-toothy" smile was too heavy for it). All of a sudden the Seven Dwarves were urging me to rush to makeup as they shouted, "We Are Late for the Parade!" in unison. (Uh Huh! late for the parade!?)
Let me attempt an explanation for this one?
Now... Nightmares about being late for showtime, forgetting one's costumes, missing a plane etc. are very common with entertainers or minstrels. Ask anyone in show business.These fearful nightmares recur often. I had worked at Disneyland as "Snow White" once, and during the Christmas Parade was in a large wooden, electric, sparkling, gem-filled cart pulled by a mule, while surrounded by the dancing seven little ones, as I sang "Some Day My Prince Will Come". In this dream I was reliving a real moment that actually occurred involving a tiny friend of mine,"Ana"the elephant. (Well, she was tiny...for an elephant). The Dwarves and I followed the "Jungle Book" characters, and I had made friends with Ana, a four year-old Asian elephant, by feeding her my powdered-sugar doughnuts every night. I was unable to share with her only once...as her trainer was bathing her in soapy sudsearlier than usual...before the sun was to set... because it was about to snow. Yes, this was the one December that anyone can recall ever when it actually snowed in Anaheim, Ca. It didn't stick, but it was freezing. Little Ana became a bit perturbed at my refusal to share my snacks with her during her bath. She stuck her trunk in that tub of soapy water, filled it to capacity, and sprayed me from head to toe. Yes... ahem. "Snow White" for the evening was blinded by soap suds, and her makeup, wig, costume completely drenched in water and bubbly foam. This would never happen in the "real" Disney "Snow White" story! I had ten minutes to rush back to makeup/wardrobe and begin the long process all over again, knowing I could not possibly make the parade in time. This panic, this struggle to know it was impossible but hurry anyway, woke me up...not at Disneyland, but in Las Vegas.
I shot straight up,wondering where I was, and was I late? "Oh, no. Now I remember... Last Night... Oh, no... Elvis!"... and I flopped back down on my pillow trying to get my bearings.
I'm telling you this nonsense because it illustrates how disturbed I was, and later in the evening this 'so-real' dream just may have been a bit prophetic.
"Friends. Hmmm. No... I don't see how it's possible to even be friends! Well...I am leaving the show shortly, though, "(I was scheduled to head back to L.A. on closing night there in Vegas), "so maybe?... maybe for a few days at least we could visit somehow?" I volleyed back and forth.
"No! This just isn't possible. I will tell him that I just think it's best if we don't meet again."
There! All settled! Now I faced the dilemma of somehow seeing him in person to tell him. "I think I should do this face-to-face. I can't just not show up if he's expecting me."
I wanted to call my Mother, my confidant, best friend, who always had the answers to any unusual"life" situation, and tell her about this development, but changed my mind and decided to wait at least until I had tried to solve my problem alone.
Someone called. I can't remember who, but It was one of the guys who worked for Elvis that I didn't know well yet, I suppose. He just called for Elvis to check and see if I was going to come upstairs after the shows. Now... I couldn't tell him either. What would I say? Have you a pencil and paper ready? Write this very long personal message down and give this to Elvis?" No... couldn't do that. So after hemming and hawing I just said, "Yes,I think so." while my mind was considering grabbing Elvis' ear somehow after one of the shows and explaining my feelings,thoughts directly to him.
I have no recollection of those shows except noticing that Elvis was full of extra energy, and just killed the audiences and the show members. I am pretty sure I must have been wishing that somehow I could see him before or after the usual crowd of visitors descended upon him in his dressing room.
As expected, it was not only hard, but it was impossible. Just too many people were in there waiting to congratulate him on his new success.
After the second show,seeing how many friends he had visiting with him, I resigned myself to, "I'm going to have to go on upstairs to the suite to tell him personally."
I arrived before he did, so I walked to the bar area and made a cup of hot tea with lemon and honey, sipped it to soothe my throat, and talked to a few people. I decided to stay right there, rather than go sit on the sofa, in hopes that I'd be able to speak with him as soon as he walked in the doors.
When he arrived he came straight over to me smiling, eyes sparkling, and I as I was trying to say, "I really need to talk to..." several people began tugging at him to introduce him around. He didn't say much but a quick hello to all of them at once, and just grabbed my hand and led me over to the sofa to sit next to him again.
The room was quickly filling up with more people than the night before and everybody was talking and laughing all around. From the kitchen to the front room where we were, and off to the side section of the living room, people were sitting all over the floor. More and more girls were being brought in to sit in front of Elvis. The television was blasting away where large groups of people were visiting with Charlie (Hodge) at the far end of the living room. Elvis began talking to the girls in front of him and enquiring about each one personally. His arm was now around my shoulder again, and this night...he held me closer to him. I remember thinking I needed to be patient, and when there was a lull in the conversation I'd ask to speak to him. Also, I it occurred to me I should leave so that he'd be free to talk to anyone he might find interesting. Although I do not recall specifics, I do remember that the verbal exchanges had to be funny. There was boisterous laughter by all... especially by Elvis, and yes... even by me. Everybody was very happy, well-behaved, and just enjoying fun conversations when the special event of the evening began.
Something "not -so-good" occurred.
Due to the noise level of the good times by all, the group watching television had turned the volume up because they needed to! Elvis nudged me gently and whispered loudly (does that make sense?) directly in my right ear. I would never have heard him,otherwise.
"I can't hear, can you? It's loud in here!" Now, this made me laugh. "No! I can't! You're right. It is noisy!"
He scanned the room and elevated his voice calling out to Charlie who was about... oh...40 or more feet away, buried in a sea of people sitting right in front of the large tv screen so that they could hear it. "Charlie! Turn the tv down a little, would you?" No response.
Charlie couldn't hear him so Elvis waved his hands to all in front of him indicating his plea for them to talk a little quieter for a moment.
Elvis then raised his voice a little louder repeating, "Hey, Charlie? Can you turn that tv down a little? I can't hear over here!" This got Charlie's attention and he smiled, replying "Sure!" and the room became tolerable at last.
One of the girls sitting in the group in front of Elvis, in the second or third row hollered out rudely, "Why don't you do it yourself? You think you're too good to walk over there and turn the tv down?"
Dead silence e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.
I felt Elvis twinge, jerk back stunned, and I turned to him only to see that he was shaken. He was gulping, grinding his jaw muscle, and his eyes were blinking quickly. Staring straight ahead, he took short yet deep breaths, and was clearly struggling emotionally here. He was deeply hurt.
I placed my hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him down, wanting to assure him,sensing his shock. I leaned closer to his ear and just as calmly as possible said, "She's just trying to get your attention! Do you understand? She doesn't even know what she's doing. She wants you to notice her."
I glanced back down at her and saw her smiling smugly, as she seemed to be thinking, "There! I just put him in his place!" She was most proud of herself. She appeared pathetic. It was all very clear to me. It was not clear to Elvis.
He did not respond to her angrily. He took a deep breath, looked at me in questioning disbelief, and continued to grind his jaw, but braved a little smile."Shall we go, Kathy?"
Well, there went a happy evening for all those invited up that night, and there also went my plans to not visit with him at all. This was an interruption in everyone's plans. One that revealed an Elvis I had not yet seen, a man in an earnest attempt to please people, only to have some mis-guided and sick person get a thrill out of hurting him.
When we reached his room he didn't sit down immediately, but while still clinging tightly to my hand turned away again, not wanting me to see his watering eyes quite yet. He was embarrassed now.
(To be Continued)