Excerpts from JoAnna’s story in the book BLUE STAR LOVE . . .
Elvis is very special to me. My memories are treasured, as are the cards, letters, poems and gifts he gave me. He was a generous, loving man. Always kind and so very funny. I miss him so much, every day, but I know he is always with me.
Wanda, I so vividly remember those great days in your old home. We had so much fun. Laughing, sharing stories, watching movies and eating vanilla ice cream with some kind a cherry topping (yum yum). The laughter stopped on August 16, 1977. Elvis tried to reach me that morning.
He called my home phone and left a message and called my work and left a message. I was on the freeway, driving to work (no cell phones back then). I never got to talk to him again. I got a call at work and was told the news. I left work. I remember driving, it was August in California, but it was raining. I was crying so hard, so between the rain and my tears, it was hard to drive.
We shared an incredibly close, tender, intimate friendship… I know it’s hard to believe or understand, but I felt blessed just to have him in my life. I did not have dreams of marrying him or living with him. He was my friend. I know he loved me, he told me and showed me often, and I loved him dearly and still do. We had very intimate times and conversations. I believe that because he knew he could trust me, he could be intimate with me, and confide in me.
From the card Elvis sent to JoAnna, dated two days before he died. She received it after his passing.
August 15, 1977
My dear Joanna, I am trying not to get to emotional about this thing an I guess I have been neglecting you sorta. But really I love you an I’m trying to protect you, from me. It seems I don’t have much time left to go on an I don’t want to hurt you more than I am going to. What I want to say baby, is please remember my love for you as this tree shading, sheltering in the strong branches of love (picture on the card). You have so much to offer a man but don’t hurry, take time. Think, be happy. Life’s so short, so hard to know what’s right to do. Don’t brood, and stay shut up being blue. And don’t cry for me. I’ve lived so long, so many life times in these 42 years an I’m ready to go home to God and my Mother. It comes as a blessing. Honey I know I am dying. I can feel it more each day as time goes on by. I welcome it. I will miss you as you miss me. But I will always be near. I’ll try to help. I hope I have in some way been half the comfort you have been to me. If I didn’t have you to remind me of what I could have had I think I would not have got thru this as well as I did. I loved you in my dreams. I held you in my heart, you comforted me when I was lonely an cheered me when I was blue. No other girl did for me what Joanna did for me. An I love you always. I shall but love you better after death. Do not grieve for me, you hear me now. I want to see you smile with those sexy dark eyes. Oh Lord what a woman. I love you always, Elvis
[Maia’s note: Joanna made it clear to Wanda that her relationship with Elvis, while emotionally and spiritually intimate was never physically intimate. She was very young, and Elvis was far too much a gentleman to have ever taken advantage of her. The hand-written card from Elvis is re-printed in my book.]