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October Means ‘Rocktober’ The Defenbaughs Meets Elvis, 1957

Teenagers holding a photo of Elvis, 1957.

Back in the spring of 1957, Bloomington teenagers Nancy Defenbaugh and her older brother Jim were vacationing in Memphis, TN, with their family. Nancy and Jim kept pestering their parents Ted and Thelma to take them to Elvis Presley’s new residence, and their perseverance paid off. They visited what would be later known as Graceland (then outside Memphis city limits) and Elvis emerged from his house, got on a lawn tractor, and proceeded to motor on over and say hello.
“His eyes are really dark—it’s not makeup,” a breathless 13-year-old Nancy told The Pantagraph upon the family’s return to Bloomington. “He has really pretty skin.” Nancy’s math teacher at Washington School told her that the hip-shaking teen idol would look better with a buzz cut. Nancy’s reply? “Don’t be cruel.”

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

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