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Jones shares memories of music icon
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McMinnville resident Eulalia Jones shows a program from a band concert when she was a student at Humes High School in Memphis. The concert included a high school senior named Elvis Presley. An Elvis impersonator will be at the Standard office this Friday.

As the Southern Standard’s Customer Appreciation Day featuring Elvis is ready to shake, rattle and roll this Friday, McMinnville resident Eulalia Jones has her own personal story about “The King.” 

During her eighth grade year at Humes High School in Memphis, Elvis Presley was a little-known senior. Eulalia was in the school band, and the department held a performance where she played in a xylophone trio. 

Elvis wanted to be a focal point of the production. However, band director Roy Coates didn’t think he had star talent. Elvis still participated, singing “Your Cheating Heart” by Hank Williams Sr. and playing guitar.

“The girls all swooned when he came out on stage,” said Jones.

In the brochure for the production, Elvis’ last name is misspelled. Eulalia said he donned his famous black leather jacket and slicked back hair even in high school and he rode a motorcycle to school, solidifying the image that comes to mind when thinking of a young Elvis Presley.

Eulalia said Elvis wasn’t very popular and he lived in the poorer region of the city where Mrs. Jones was not allowed to go. Acting as a true rebel, she said Elvis was kicked out of ROTC for refusing to cut his hair.

Eulalia, who was once a local piano instructor, remembers Elvis as being odd and said he frequently wore aviator scarfs around his neck.

This wasn’t Eulalia’s first encounter with Elvis. He worked for a short amount of time under her father for Crown Electric Company. 

During one job outing at a Methodist church, her father asked Elvis to get wiring out of the truck, but noticed he was gone for an extremely long time. He found Elvis in the basement banging on an old piano. 

Jones said her father told Elvis, “If you can’t play church music, you need to go back to work."

Elvis Presley ended up becoming one of the most famous musicians in rock and roll history. Still, he had his senior English teacher, Mrs. Allensworth, help him with his speaking when he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

The Standard’s upcoming Customer Appreciation Day, featuring an Elvis impersonator along with food and beverages, is this Friday, Feb. 15 at the Southern Standard office with discounted subscriptions being offered.