That enticing title graced the cover of the August issue of the Ladies Home Journal. As soon as I read the first line of the subtitle, “Very Private Confessions,” I knew this was prime material for an Elvisblog article. Unfortunately, it came at a time when Elvis Week was front and center in my consciousness, and it had to wait a month until all that had run its course.
A good many Elvisblog readers probably missed the LHJ article by leading Elvis writer Alanna Nash. It featured seven lovely ladies associated with Elvis in a variety of ways. June Jaunico was Elvis’ girlfriend for over a year in 1955/56. Wanda Jackson sang in concerts on tour with Elvis (And was his girlfriend in 1955/56. Hmmm.). Raquel Welch had a bit part in the 1964 movie Roustabout. Mary Ann Mobley appeared in Girl Happy and Harum Scarum. Jo Smith was the wife of Elvis’ very close cousin Billy Smith. Linda Thompson was Elvis’ girlfriend from 1972-76. Kathy Westmoreland recorded and toured with Elvis in the 70s.
The subtitle “Very Private Confessions” turned out to be quite a stretch. I looked specifically for them and have listed below my best guess at each woman’s “Confession.”
June Jaunico: “We got so wrapped up in kissing on our very first date – nothing too sloppy, it was marvelous – a little pecking here and there, a little nibble here and there, then a serious bite.” (This one is very nice, but wouldn’t a real confession have been about what she and Elvis did on date number five or six?)
Wanda Jackson: “In the early part of ’56, he gave me one of his rings… We stood by his car and he asked me to be his girl… I had a crush on him, and being able to know him and know his heart made me admire him a lot. So, I said I’d be his girl.” (What a revelation. Can you imagine anyone saying ‘no’ to the chance to be Elvis’ girl?)
Raquel Welch: “One of his guys came over and said, “Elvis is having a little party at the house, and if you’d like to come up…” I had a very strict upbringing, and I didn’t like the setup, so I didn’t go.” (Big mistake. Bet you wish you had that one to do over again, Raquel.)
Mary Ann Mobley: “Elvis and I felt a common bond, coming from Mississippi. He thought I understood him… This is an odd thing to say about Elvis Presley, but it was like I was working with my brother. We never dated.” (Sorry, but there is nothing else remotely approaching a confession in Mary Ann’s section.)
Jo Smith: “He loved you to talk babytalk to him, and we had to take care of him and cater to him like a small child… He liked to be put in bed and be told good night.” (You have to assume this took place in the time after Priscilla and before Linda Thompson. Can’t see Jo Smith tucking Elvis in bed when either of them was around.)
Linda Thompson: “But I think it’s wonderful if you can be all things to each other. And he and I were. He called me ‘Mommy.’ And he was like my father at times. And we were like brother and sister at times, and we were like lovers at times.” (She could have confirmed or denied that persistent story about that first night they were lovers.)
Kathy Westmoreland: “My last in-depth conversation with Elvis was just a few weeks before he died. I remember he said, ‘Kathy, what’s it all about?’ And I said, “I think that is for you to find out for yourself.’” (Kathy’s section in the article was very short and mostly about sad topics. This is about the most upbeat thing she said.)
Here is a selection of other interesting quotes by some of the ladies.
June Jaunico didn’t hear from Elvis for a while after that first date. “It turned out he was calling and my older brother wasn’t bothering to tell me. Finally, he said, ‘Some guy with a hillbilly accent called.’”
Wanda Jackson and her dad were backstage on the first stop of a tour with Elvis in 1955. “All of a sudden my dad and I started hearing screaming. My daddy said, ‘I wonder if there’s a fire or something. Let me go look.’ I started getting my things, and he came back and said, ‘No, relax. But you’ve got to see this foryourself.’ He took me to the wings, and there was Elvis singing and moving and gyrating, and all these girls standing at the foot of the stage, screaming and reaching for him.
Raquel Welch had a revelation about what a sexy guy could be when she saw Elvis in concert for the first time. “Like many adolescents of the 50s, I had been completely gaga over Elvis. I saw him live in San Diego in one of his early shows. It was my first rock ‘n’ roll concert ever.”
A Linda Thompson quote seems to dispute reports that Elvis knew he would die young. “I think it’s terrible for people to say they couldn’t imagine Elvis growing old. Everybody has that right, even if they are a sex symbol. He wanted to live to be an old man.”
And, we sure wish he had.
© 2007 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.elvisblog.net