Rockin’ with the King

by Andrew Batten

Nancy Moore and Elvis stand on the patio of her Pleasant Grove Road home. Moore could be the singer’s biggest fan.

If you’ve ever taken a ride down through Coulwood near Pleasant Grove and Plank roads, then you’ve undoubtedly seen the Elvis signs and memorabilia at Nancy Moore’s house.

But if you passed by Saturday, Jan. 8, you saw one of Elvis Presley’s biggest fans celebrating the King’s birthday.

“He would have been 76 years old,” Moore said from a rocking chair on her front porch.

Moore baked Elvis a cake and made a special batch of his favorite sandwiches – grilled peanut butter and banana. She’s been celebrating the singer’s birthday since at least 1997, but her love for the singer’s life and career doesn’t just come around once a year.

“I try to sit out on the porch and listen to Elvis everyday. And I pick up new Elvis fans everyday,” Moore said. “Of course I’ve got the regulars who drive by and wave and honk their horns.”

Inside, Moore’s love for Elvis is more obvious. Right when you walk through the door, a cardboard stand-up Elvis greets you. There are two rooms full from the floor to ceiling with Elvis memorabilia. Pictures of Elvis from different stages of his life adorn the walls. An Elvis phone plays “Jailhouse Rock.” Next to it, an Elvis lamp sings “All Shook Up.”

There’s a huge replica of the singer’s postage stamp released in 1992 and a mini-juke box that plays a number of Elvis’ greatest hits songs.

The Mountain Island woman has been a huge Elvis fan all her life, she said.

“I grew up listening to Elvis. The first song my dad brought home was a 45 (rpm record) of Elvis’ ‘All Shook Up.’”

She was nine years old at the time.

“I just took Elvis on as a big brother because I never had a brother.” She even remembers where she was when she heard Elvis had died. “Aug. 16, 1977. I was in our kitchen and had the radio on. I remember that day well. It was hard because he just felt like family to me. It hit me hard,” she said.

Then, just as she does now, she would spend hours on her front porch rocking in her rocking chair, and rocking to Elvis. She rocked so much that she broke her first rocking chair that her mother gave her. It’s now in her bedroom, holding all her Elvis T-shirts.

Elvis’ music has even comforted through the tragedy of losing a son. Moore’s son, Jeff, died in 1996 at the age of 21.

“That’s something you never really get over, but you just live and go on,” she said. “And I know the good Lord can deal with you and find something in your heart to draw him close to him. The Lord has used my love of Elvis. I really do believe that’s what happened in this situation. I miss my son dearly, and I hope to see him on the other side.”

The walls in Moore’s home are covered from floor to ceiling with all sorts of Elvis memorabilia covering the singer’s entire career.

But through the bad, Moore found the good. Before Jeff’s death, she wasn’t going to church and instead was hitting the bars every weekend, she said.

“I wasn’t living the life that I should have been living,” Moore said.

And so she started attending the Charlotte Gospel Chapel, paying the Lord more attention and focusing a bit more on her Elvis collection.

“If I hadn’t of lost my son, I know there wouldn’t have been an Elvis corner,” she said, referring to her favorite collection, which includes a model of the singer’s pink Cadillac that her mother gave her.

Throughout the rest of the house Moore can point to other Elvis things that people from all over have given her. The Elvis impersonator Davis Taylor, from Fort Mill, S.C., gave her autographed pictures of himself. Every once in a while, Moore will find Elvis things on her front porch and in her mailbox, sent anonymously by Elvis fans. One such fan even left her a bust of the singer in front of her door a few years ago.

She took a special trip to Graceland, Elvis’ home in Memphis, Tenn. in 1997.

“That was a trip that I’ll never forget,” she said. “I really felt the presence of Elvis there.”

And every birthday and Christmas, Moore said she can expect at least a few Elvis gifts.

And although the King of Rock and Roll’s face adorns her walls, it’s really his voice that’s brought her comfort over the years.

“I always say that he could have been an ugly man but with that voice he had, it wouldn’t have mattered. But he did have the looks and the talent. He had it all,” she said.

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