Elvis Presley, Did Your Kiss Mean Any Thing At All?
I wondered how Elvis felt when he finally got home. I wondered if he’d remember me. I’m Patricia Willert and I’m the first girl that Elvis hugged and kissed when he got back to the United States. Boy, I still can’t believe it.
I’ll never forget it! It’s all very confusing, though. Let me tell you about it . . .
It all started when I read that Elvis was to land at McGuire Air Force Base. Since I live only 25 miles away in New Jersey, I planned to be there for his homecoming. A photographer-friend of my family, from a Trenton newspaper, offered to take me with him.
On Thursday morning, at four o’clock, my alarm sounded, waking me up. I jumped out of bed and hurriedly washed and dressed. It had taken days for me to decide upon the pink sheath dress that I finally wore. The snow was already six inches deep, when we arrived at McGuire at six-thirty that morning. One hour later, Elvis finally arrived. One poor girl was so flustered that she fainted. I’m surprised that I didn’t. Two other teenagers managed to get in and, when they discovered that I had already seen Elvis for a moment as he got off the plane, they began asking me questions about him. “Was he cute?” they whispered. “What happened to his crewcut?” Pretty soon a crowd of people were gathered around listening. I told them he was much cuter than in his pictures, and had et his crewcut grow out. Soon Elvis came through the back door—which I thought was pretty sneaky of the Army—while we were all waiting at the front entrance. Flashbulbs flashed as the photographers crowded around him. Then I ran up to get an autograph.
I said “Elvis, will you please sign this?”
“Certainly,” he replied, smiling warmly. From that moment on, I never once took my eyes off his face. He must have given me back the autograph book, because I was holding it—and I suddenly realized that his arm was around me!
I somehow mumbled, “Welcome home.”
“Thanks, it’s good to be home,” he replied. “I’ve really missed this place. It’s been a long, long time.”
“Hey Elvis,” somebody yelled, “that’s the first American girl you’ve hugged here in two years.” At that moment, I looked around and saw that we were being photographed.
Elvis was a little nervous. “What’ll we talk about?” he said. “I tell you, my mind’s a complete blank.”
I finally said something about the weather. Can you imagine that! For five years, I’ve thought about meeting Elvis; I’ve planned what I’d talk about and how I’d say it—and then what happens? I talk about the weather! It all turned out all right, though, because we somehow got off that subject.
I’m a bit hazy as to the exact sequence of events after that. At one point, I remember saying, “You don’t know what I went through to get here.”
And Elvis replying, “Honey, you don’t know what I went through to get here.” We both laughed. I could tell he began to feel at ease then, because he moved much closer to me. I remember his cheek touching mine—and the smell of shaving lotion. I was so pleased to find he was taller than me (I’m 5 feet 9 inches); he must be at least 6 feet. And he seemed so kind and friendly.
At about this time, he kissed me. I must confess something, though. I don’t remember it! This is really terrible because it is, of course, the most important thing that ever happened to me. He must have kissed me though, because lots of the reporters said they saw him do it. I only remember that, over the microphone, a captain was pleading with everyone to get off the stage so the conference could begin. Dutifully, I took a deep breath and said “I . . . I guess I’d better go.”
Elvis nodded. “I’m glad I met you, Pat. I’ll see you in a little while.”
As I walked from the stage, I looked back and so did Elvis. He waved and I tried to be brave about the whole thing so I just smiled and waved back. One lady asked me if Elvis and I had planned the whole thing. I only wish we had!
Actually, I didn’t get too much of a chance to talk with him after that, since the conference soon began. Just before he left, though, he took my hand and squeezed it real hard. Then they began asking him if he were going to continue singing. And he said, “I’ll never abandon rock ’n’ roll as long as people want it.”
And he told us he was going to grow back his sideburns—but a little shorter than before. And he’d be on TV in May and make new records and films. He looked so tired (he’d been answering questions for two-and-a-half hours) and sad, too. I think he must have been thinking of his mother. Just before it all ended, I quickly placed a crumpled piece of paper in his pocket containing my name and address. I hadn’t planned to do that, but I just couldn’t leave that room without any hope that I’d ever see him again.
Putting his hand into his pocket, he smiled. He must have known, without even looking at it, what it was. “I’ll see you again,” he assured me.
“I hope so,” was the only thing left for me to say. “Good luck, always.”
Then, as quickly as he came in, he left. Every eye in the room watched him climb up on the stage and walk out. He didn’t look back. He just didn’t look back.
For the weeks after, I wondered how El did feel, coming back home to Memphis after so long. A lot had changed for him. As I said, I wondered about it for quite a few weeks. I wished I could call and talk to him, but I didn’t know if that would be the right thing to do. I didn’t know how he felt about a girl calling up a boy.
Then I decided to tell the editors of Photoplay about it. They said, “Well, we’ll call him and Colonel Parker and find out.” So, the next day, they did. And for what they found, click.
WATCH FOR ELVIS IN “G.I. BLUES” FOR PAR. DON’T MISS HIS OLD FILMS WHICH ARE BEING RE-RELEASED NOW. HE SINGS FOR RCA VICTOR.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JUNE 1960