and the new ginger replaces the old ginger

Priscilla was worried when she got word that Elvis had been admitted into the hospital and called him right away. It was just what Elvis needed. They talked for a while and then Priscilla asked him when he wanted to have Lisa come to Graceland. Usually Sam Thompson or Dick Grob would fly to Los Angeles and bring Lisa back on a plane, but this time Elvis asked Priscilla if she would bring Lisa to Memphis. She could tell that something wasn’t right, so Priscilla enthusiastically agreed that she and Lisa would be there within a couple of days. Elvis told Dr. Nick to arrange to have him discharged from the hospital on the same day that Priscilla and Lisa would be arriving.

Ginger Alden had not accompanied Elvis on his last tour and she was not around too often. He had only known her for five months now, and it appeared that Elvis and Ginger spent far too much time arguing to ever enjoy one another. I knew Priscilla was curious about Ginger from the conversation that she and I had had recently, while having lunch at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills. I had told Priscilla then that none of us felt that Elvis had any intentions of marrying Ginger or, for that matter, even being with her much longer.

It was not uncommon for Elvis to find a quick replacement after a breakup, and Elvis and Linda had just broken up back in November. It became apparent to most of us that this new replacement had a resemblance to Priscilla when she was 20 years old. How could Priscilla not have noticed the resemblance between her and Ginger?

And now there was a ring that was supposed to be an engagement ring on Ginger’s finger?

Priscilla and Lisa arrived at Graceland. This would be the first time that Priscilla would meet Ginger in person. Elvis was upstairs. If you ever saw Elvis waiting for the arrival of Priscilla, you would know how he got when she was coming by, like a teenage boy waiting for his high school sweetheart. There was always anticipation, as he tried eagerly to impress her somehow. It was no different than how he had acted before back in Beverly Hills, when he had claimed to be coming over to show Lisa his new Ferrari, knowing perfectly well that it was a school night and that Lisa was asleep.

When Priscilla and Elvis were together, it was easy to see that they enjoyed and understood each other’s needs. This is why it was useless for Elvis to try to hide that he was still upset about the book. Priscilla could see right through him, and she did her best to try to console him. When Elvis proceeded to the dressing area of his bathroom, Priscilla heard him calling her name. Priscilla told me that that is when she knew he needed help. He was standing in front of the mirror, and kept saying, “Can you hear that? Listen to that, Cilla, can you hear it?” Priscilla moved her head toward the mirror to listen. There was silence. Priscilla heard nothing. “He seemed to be delusional,” she told me, then he turned to Priscilla and abruptly said, “I’ve never planned to marry Ginger, Satnin (Elvis’s pet name for Priscilla).” “I’m miserable. I want my family back. I miss the family times we had, and Lisa needs her mom and dad together.”

I believe that Elvis wanted to stop the merry-go-around and settle down, and it was obvious to him, as well as the rest of us, that it was not going to be with Ginger. Elvis and Priscilla spent quite a bit of time upstairs talking, then decided to go back downstairs to visit with Elvis’ Grandma. Priscilla learned that Grandma was wise, and could see right through most of the women around Elvis and anyone else who graced the rooms of Elvis’ home. She told Priscilla that she didn’t trust Ginger and that she believed “That girl is up to no good. Just a matter of time,” she told Priscilla. Then Elvis entered Grandma’s room and gave her a hug. The three of them enjoyed a little more time together, then hugged each other as they said goodbye.

Priscilla had to return to Los Angeles, but Lisa remained at Graceland. Within the week Elvis would begin his plan of departure from Ginger. He contacted a young bank teller in Memphis by the name of Alicia Kerwin and asked her to accompany him to Las Vegas, and then to Palm Springs. It appeared that Elvis was laying the groundwork that would soon end the relationship between him and Ginger.

The next tour was approaching and Elvis had already asked Alicia to join him. This was Elvis’ exit from Ginger. She was quickly informed that she was not going to be going on the next tour. Bringing a new girl on tour for Elvis was no different than most peoples’ taking a girl out for a hamburger. Even though he was with hundreds of women, he was not always intimate with all of them. In many cases, these women were more like traveling companions.

When Elvis made it known to everyone that Ginger would not be going on what was going to be the next tour, we were all thrilled to hear it. All of us just wanted him to have the happiness that he deserved. We all wanted that. Why wouldn’t we? After all, that is what he wanted for us.

Shirley Dieu, Memphis Mafia Princess