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Leeza was twelve years old before she found out who Elvis Presley was .
Oh, she knew exactly what he looked like, all of his moves, knew the lyrics
to all of his songs, she could even play some of them on her harmonica;
the harmonica her father had won for her at a cheap country carnival
when she was a little tacker.
She knew first-hand how the women went crazy over Elvis . Knicker
throwing was nothing new to her, in fact, it seemed more normal than her
current normal. Back in the late seventies, her mother was a go go
dancer who shimmied all night long in a cage, dressed in a fringed bikini.
Leeza would watch from back stage, proud and mesmerized, so she
thought nothing of the men looking adoringly at her mother. It also made
perfect sense that women cried, screamed, pelvic thrusted, and yes,
threw knickers at her father.
She adored both of her parents and had a most magical childhood. Her
parents were small town famous and they travelled the country, driving
long days, working nights and playing like runaway kids.
The year that Leeza turned twelve she was booked into a temporary
school term. She was almost delirious with excitement, until that time, she
had been home schooled, or as her father used to say, she was life
taught. Her mother taught her reading and writing with the aid of the
wireless radio but mostly she learned through singing Elvis songs. She
learned about maths by counting money and handing out tickets at
whatever venue her parents worked. Actually, her mother wasn’t working
too much anymore; it was her father they lined up to see.
On the second day of her first school term, she sat watching the boys and
girls being taught rock and roll during the lunch break. Over the loud
speaker she heard, “well I bless my soul, What’s wrong with me? I’m
itching like a man on a fuzzy tree." She almost ejected from her bench as
she exclaimed “That’s my dad, that’s my daddy’s song.” Everyone
stopped and stared. “Who is that?” someone asked and the class captain
giggled and said, “It’s the new girl, Leeza Presley.”
You mean Lisa, Lisa Marie????
No, she says her name is Leeza, Leeza Presley.
Leeza was a bit more than, “all shook up,” as they laughed and stared. It
was the most embarrassing, confronting and confusing day of her life.
The more she insisted her father was Elvis and she was Leeza Presley
the more they scorned and ridiculed her.
That was nothing compared to the real story, the story which took away
her identity, made a lie of her life and exposed the phoniness of everyone
she had ever met. She was shocked to the core and cried for days when
the truth revealed itself. Her life was a stolen life, an imitation of someone
else’s life, a vicarious string of experiences under the name, or indeed,
the alias of Presley. Her father was an Elvis impersonator!!!!
Her father, whose real name was Mervin Macklin, changed his name by
deed poll in 1967. They deliberately named their daughter Leeza -
stealing the real Elvis’s daughters name, but not quite. Maybe a Jungian
psychologist could make sense of that. It took a lot more than a
psychologist, ink blots or sand paintings for Leeza to deal with her
After many tears and fears, tantrums and silences, life managed to go on
as before. She loved her parents; she always had and always will, but her
betrayal still runs deep. For years, she watched movies with the real Elvis,
who she had never seen previously. He was the spitting image of her
father, his voice, his smile, his clothes, his every gesture, it screwed with
Leeza was born the same year as Lisa Marie.
For some years, Leeza was obsessed with Lisa Marie; she felt they were
kindred spirits, even though she rationalized that Lisa Marie didn’t even
know she existed. She believed that her soul knew Lisa Maries soul, they
had lived the same life in many ways. She often read that Lisa Marie didn’
t have a ‘normal’ childhood, but to Leeza, it was not only normal, but it
was, unlike hers, genuine.
Leeza kept the Presley name until the day she married Joel Travis. Mrs
Travis is real. Sometimes for a most fleeting second or two she will hear a
song, see a picture or a late night movie comes on the TV and she finds
herself thinking about her dad, there is no bitterness, no regret, just
memories of a remarkable life and she smiles to herself, a star on a
Christmas tree is just as valid as a star in the sky.
© sonya green 2013 reinventingmyself.com
|Elvis: The story of Leeza Presley
by sonya green
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