The Girl Who Jilted Elvis Presley!
One of Elvis Presley’s close friends starts telling you one day, “You know . . . I don’t think I’ll ever forget those hours I spent with Elvis hiding in ie shrubbery in front of Dixie’s house, waiting for her to come home—from a date with someone else. Man, we were waiting, no matter how long it took. I got so danged hungry and tired I just about died. But old Elvis . . . he jes’ crouched there in the shadows, misery and pain and sort of jealousy torturing his face. And somehow, well, you just couldn’t leave him there . . . alone like that . . .”
It’s a strange story, a sad one. It explains the Elvis you don’t see on stage, except ‘maybe when he’s singing “Heartbreak Hotel”—the Elvis with a far-away look staring out of train windows . . . playing a piano backstage . . . sitting alone in a hotel room with only a phonograph and some records for company. This is the Elvis Presley that few people know, the boy with the sadness in his eyes and the sullen droop on his lips. The boy who’s so much older than twenty-one, who wants desperately to be alone to think . . . Dixie . . .
Dixie Locke was a fun-loving girl.
She wasn’t quiet or shy—or over-romantic. She talked a lot and she laughed a lot, this dark tiny girl with the dimples and the captivating smile. And she found and captured and finally threw away the heart of Elvis Presley, idol of idols, dreamboat supreme.
What happened to such a love?
How did it start?
Down in Memphis, Tennessee, in the year 1953, a boy named Elvis Aaron Presley was attending L. C. HUMES HIGH SCHOOL. Humes is in the older and poorer section of the city, and Elvis was just one of the kids who came to school in well-worn clothes and ‘home-made’ haircuts.
It didn’t bother him. He was no different from his friends, his classmates. And it didn’t bother him when he first noticed Dixie Locke, because Dixie was way out of his class and it wasn’t even in his day-dreams that he ever thought of the Beery of “that purty little one” ever being his.
But they did meet, and they clicked, and the way he felt about her was pretty wonderful.
They talked a lot and they laughed a lot, and those who double-dated with them say that to see her and Elvis together was to really envy them. One minute they were laughing and in utter hysterics over something ‘clever’ one of them had said—they were always trying to outquip one another, and everything seemed funny—and in the middle of a great big joke, in the middle of a coke, if their eyes suddenly met and held, the laughter would stop . . . and, well, you just didn’t look when they kissed. It was like intruding where you didn’t belong.
By the time Elvis was graduating from high school there wasn’t any question about who was going to the prom with him. Because Dixie was already wearing his school sinks And down in Tennessee, a girl doesn’t wear your ring just because you’re dating; you give your class ring to the girl who’s going to be your wife.
Elvis graduated and got a job at the CROWN ELECTRIC COMPANY, and during holiday seasons Dixie worked at GOLDSMITH’S department store. So one of the first things Elvis did with his spending money was save it up and buy an old beat-up Lincoln—so that he could drive Dixie home from work.
He was always there, waiting for her.
They were going steady and some day they’d get married and life was wild fun—and quiet happiness.
Until Elvis made his hit record.
He never changed
But this isn’t the story of a boy who forgot all about his hometown sweetheart as soon as success hit him. Even today, down in Memphis those who know Elvis will tell you, “You just don’t love very often like Elvis loved that Dixie.”
Elvis made his hit record “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and he hired a manager. He hit the personal appearance tours into Louisiana and East Texas.
Then Elvis bought his first Cadillac, a used pink and black one, and he was the happiest kid in the world. To be in love, and have a hot record, and a Caddy all at the same time!
Dixie was with him when the car burned up. And the people who know Elvis and Dixie will tell you, “No wonder it got all burned up—with Elvis and Dixie in it. They were so wrapped up in each other that the car was almost completely on fire, and passing cars were honkin’ and trying to warn them. But they were so wrapped up in each other they kept right on riding. They almost lost their lives in that accident.”
Elvis still says, “No other car will ever be as precious to me as that one.” Because Dixie rode in it? And hasn’t ridden in the newer ones?
Elvis Presley and Dixie Locke went together and were considered engaged by all their friends—for over two years—when success came.
But Dixie was still in high school, and there were lots of school activities—and Elvis was always away on tour.
Dixie loved him, but she was fun-loving. This was the very thing that had endeared her to Elvis, Dixie reasoned to herself, so he shouldn’t mind if she dated other boys while he was away.
The stories drift back
While he was on tour, and then back in Memphis, the stories started to drift in to Elvis. At first he couldn’t believe those stories. Because he did mind. He minded very much.
So he asked around and checked and watched, and when he finally knew for sure, he went to her.
What they said to each other no one but Elvis and Dixie know. Except for two things. Elvis told a friend of his, “When she offered me back the ring . . . that’s when I died . . .” And Dixie’s closest friend will tell you that Elvis took the ring, put it on his own finger, turned to walk away and said, “All right, Dixie. I’ll take the ing. But I’ll never love another girl again . . . ever . . .
Maybe Dixie wanted to make up, maybe she knew that Elvis was more important to her—so much more important!—than any casual date. But by then Elvis was looking at her from her ty screen; and maybe she was afraid that he’d think it was only because he was a big star.
And maybe Elvis figured that she was the one who had rejected him—so it was her place to tell him if she wanted him back.
The big news about Elvis started to be his dates with girls. “Girls he took out while he was on tour, girls he brought home to visit his parents, girls to ride with him in his Cadillacs and his motorcycle.
The people in Memphis who know Elvis say it’s his way of burning up the torch he’s carrying, and they’ll tell you there’s no doubt about it, he’s sure as shootin’ carryin’ a torch for that Dixie.
Because whenever he hit Memphis, he’d always ask about Dixie, and who she was dating, and how she looked.
That was how it was . . . month after month. Until one time when Elvis hit Memphis, and ran into somebody who knew Dixie, and asked how she was. And the girl sitting over a hamburger in the GRIDIRON, Elvis’ favorite restaurant in downtown Memphis, looked out of the plate-glass window because she couldn’t stand the way Elvis’ face just sort of collapsed when she said, “Why, Elvis, didn’t you know? Dixie got married last week.”
So down in Memphis now there’s a girl named Mrs. Benny Mulberry who once loved and was loved by Elvis Presley.
“And he still loves her”
And Elvis’ mother shakes her head with sorrow for her son and says, “That Dixie Locke is the only girl that Elvis ever talked of marrying, and he still loves her.” And the mother of one of the girls Elvis has been seeing sort of often, worried about her own daughter’s heart, says quietly, “He’d go a-runnin’—even now—if that Dixie Locke so much as crooked her finger at him.”
And Elvis? Well, when they ask him—the reporters and the fan magazine writers—if he’s ever been in love, Elvis always answers the same way, “Yes. I’ve been in love. Once. But I guess that’s all over now.”
Yes, perhaps someday it will be all over for Elvis. Perhaps . . .
—BY NED POLSKY
Elvis can be seen in the 20th Century-Fox film Love Me Tender. Watch for him soon in Hal Wallis’ Paramount Running Wild.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE APRIL 1957