Tuesday, 10 December 2013

J is for June Juanico

June Juanico was a woman Elvis Presley nearly married — they dated for most of 1956. Four decades later, she published a sweet memoir Elvis: In The Twilight Of Memory. The night before I interviewed her about it, I got talking to a man named Bayard in a bar in Oxford, Mississippi. A student at the university, born to wealth in Memphis, Bayard told me his aunt had dated Elvis. Doubtful, I asked him for how long. ‘One night,’ he said. Why only one night? ‘She didn’t enjoy the experience.’ Why? ‘White trash,’ said Bayard.

I repeated this exchange to June over coffee at the Casino restaurant in Biloxi on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, where she was working as a meeter and greeter. She was a good-looking woman, then 59, with a raucous smoker’s laugh and a Mickey Mouse watch. She peered at me over half-moon glasses. ‘He was not white trash,’ she said, firmly. 

I asked her what people did when people they found out she dated Elvis. Mostly, she told me, they asked two questions: Can I touch you? and Did you sleep with Elvis? 

‘I tell
em: yes to the first, no to the second,’ said June. 

Those who read her book will discover that her answer to the second question is both disingenuous and dependent on a definition of ‘sleep with’ as synonymous only with ‘have full penetrative sex with’. For more details, see the section in Essential Elvis on his last great Leiber and Stoller song Don’t.

Tomorrow Ascension Day in Kalamazoo

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