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Email Interview With Bev Caldwell

Nov 22, 1999
Can you share a little about yourself with us?

I am Bev Caldwell, I was born in Fresno, California and have lived here all my life. I stay here because we do have good weather in my parts of the world and all my family is here. I am a mother of two married sons and a grandmother of 6 (now that makes me feel old) . I am a bookkeeper/office-manager of a machine shop, but still hold a valid cosmetology license. I use to spend my spare time sewing, but as of 5 1/2 years ago I spend it on the computer doing Elvis related things.
How did you become an Elvis-fan?
In 1956 (not yet a teenager) I was sitting with my family watching the Ed Sullivan show. When Elvis appeared on the screen and he started to sing, I inched my way to the TV until I was just a few inches away. I was glued to the TV. I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing. Words can not describe the thrill or how I felt. I have always loved music and always admired someone who could sing, but this was unlike anything I had ever heard or seen. From that second on I have been a avid Elvis fan.
Elvis livened up a bored generation, (my generation) and he gave us something of our own to identify with. We no longer had to listen to our parent’s music, we had something new and exciting of our own.
What’s, in general, your favourite Elvis-stuff?
Definitely the music, that is where it all started. Without the music there would not be Elvis. I have a lot of things in my collection and love it all, but I treasure the photos, especially the ones I have acquired from Sandi, those have a lot of meaning to me. I could also say that Sandi's personal journals are one of my favorite things to read. I love seeing things that Elvis once owned, that is why it was such a thrill to be able to work with the Elvis auction in Las Vegas and be back stage seeing and touching everything as it came up for auction.
Name your favourite Elvis-song, -movie and -album.
It is very difficult to pick a favorite Elvis song, it all depends on how I feel at the time when I choose what to listen to. I really love them all, but if I had to pick, I have to say that "Hurt" and "How Great Tho Art" would be at the top of my list because there is so much power in his voice and so much feeling that pours out of him when he does those songs. As for a movie I have always been partial to the Hawaii movies, and "Change of Habit". He just looked so good in those movies and in "Change of Habit" I loved the end because it left me with a smile wondering "did she, or didn't she?".... I love all the albums as there is something special on each of them , but I am really enjoying the heck out of the rehearsals, hearing him be so playful and having fun really puts a smile on my face.
What is your favourite Elvis site?
Anything Elvis related that is done in good taste. There are a lot of good sites out there, that it would be hard to pick just one. I like sites with a lot of pictures and personal stories and experiences. T name a couple, I enjoy Lex's site and the Jumpsuit Junkie's site and tend to go there often.
Is it okay to place your picture with this article?
Yes, the one I am attaching is one that was taken at one of our Palm Springs events at Elvis' Ladera Circle home a couple years ago.
The question Sandi wanted you to answer: What is your opinion on books about Elvis?
I buy books, I read them and I take most of them for what they are worth. Some have been very good and some are just ridiculous. One of my favorites was written by Mike Freeman, "The Best of Elvis, Recollections of a Great Humanitarian", a very heartfelt book.
As for books that the so-called Memphis Mafia have written, that is another story. I think what some of them have written is disgraceful and in very poor taste. There is nothing that has ever left me with a good feeling after reading their books. Why read a book written by what appears to be nothing more than just some bitter old men who have nothing better to do with their life but trash someone they called a friend , not to mention, none of their information was new or earth shattering, in spite of what they may think.. Their books leave me feeling angry and depressed and after 22 years of constantly hearing the same 5 stories told over and over, I can't help but feel it's time for something new and something that shows the other side of Elvis.
After all, there was more to Elvis than his stage presence (Elvis the performer) or the Elvis as remembered by a handful of the Memphis Mafia. Elvis was a complex man-he lived a complex life and he was one of the kindest, most generous men of our time and one of the few who related so closely with his fans. It's time to hear about that side of Elvis. So I guess you could say it is not so much what they say in these books, it is HOW they say it and the tone that they say it in.
If I may quote something Mike McGregor told me once at a party that says it all and is how I feel. He said something like this, " Ignore the ones who write trash about Elvis who never knew him, for they do not know any better, but what is really unforgiving are the ones who write trash that knew him, because they do know better"!
For the past 22 years we have heard the same trash stories over and over again just worded differently. I am ready to hear the other side of Elvis, so lets spend the next 22 years letting new and old fans know that he was a human just like anyone else and tell the good that he did and that he was in fact a genuinely good person. There are a lot of great sotries to be told.
We think we knew your answer pretty good, so in combination with the previous question: Why the crussade against the Memphis Mafia? It's obvious they do it to gain money, but they have a first hand story to tell. Not the positive part, but it is a part of the legacy. Even without them all negative stories would be around, because people, even fans, are interested in it.
This is a very difficult question and I have strong feelings about this. I do not have a problem with any of them making money and yes they do have a story to tell, if they feel the need to tell the negative part of the story then they should also tell the positive. Yes it is part of the legacy but I believe there is a right and a wrong way to tell it.... Telling it with some respect and maintaining Elvis' dignity would not be so bad. Others have told similar stories but they have done it with respect. Many of you already know how I feel about this, I have said it all on the Elvis Newsgroup and what I haven’t said others have. I am not on a crusade against the Memphis Maffia, I just do not believe in betraying friends. It is very hard to put into words strong feelings that are inside, I will explain the best way I can and I hope in a way that is understood.
I think the word here is RESPECT. I value family, and friendships, without them we have nothing. Many times I put myself in Elvis' place and ask would I want my friends to tell the world my private life. WOULD YOU? WOULD THEY? No, none of us would like that! We all are entitled to privacy whether we are a fan, a family member, someone's friend, a celebrity or just another human being. Lets take away the singing and the entertainment part of Elvis for a minute and realize that Elvis was a man with faults like we all have, No, he was not perfect, that is what makes him a human being.
Elvis is no different than us, he had feelings as we do and is also entitled to respect from the people he loved. It boils down to RESPECT. Would you not want that same respect? I also dislike how one of those members is constantly discrediting fans who knew and became friends with Elvis, there is no reason for that. These people have interesting things to share with other fans and that is also part of the Elvis story.
Elvis brought more joy and happiness to millions of people in his short lived life than millions could do in a lifetime. He generously shared
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