Ginger finally tells her story about Elvis!
Who is Ginger Alden? Ginger Alden was Elvis’ last love. She spent the last nine months of his life with him. You can read about the love affair in her new book, Elvis and Ginger Elvis Presley’s Fiancee’ and Last Love Finally tells Her Story.
She, like all of the other Memphis Mafia (people around Elvis), was starry-eyed and overwhelmed by Elvis’ persona and “apparent” wealth. Ginger was only twenty years old when Elvis came into her life. He was in his forties. According to Ginger, there was a great distance of years but it did not seem that way when they were together. Elvis gave her jewels, automobiles, fur coats, and a credit card of her own. He showered presents on the rest of her family, and promised to pay for her mother’s home. (Elvis died before this was accomplished. When he died, he had little money in his estate. Vernon (Elvis’ father) contested the promise and he won in court also.)
Unlike other books written by his entourage, Alden does not damage the image of Elvis. She writes about a tender and needy side of this bigger-than-life performer. From all of the stories written about him in the book, Ginger believed that Elvis was in search of a new family. His old associates and family were increasingly becoming dysfunctional. She and her mother and sisters, for a few months, provided a welcoming and appreciative place to go.
Throughout her recollection of her time with Elvis, she told stories of how they would read books together, almost every day. They discussed all sorts of religions and religious books, talked about world news, and meditated together. They were soul mates. In her book she lists many of the books that Larry Geller also mentions as favorites of Elvis.
Here is an excerpt, “While I was packing, Larry Geller had flown in and given Elvis more religious books. Elvis gave some copies to me when I returned to Graceland, and I was happy to be included. I had begun to enjoy our ritual of reading together and talking about the various ideas that we found intriguing in these books.” (p. 155)
Certainly, Elvis never wanted to reveal to the public that he was an intellectual. That would go against all of the bump and grind and fabulous notes he hit on stage. But, secretly, most of his spare time was spent in reading. He did not like parties, did not drink alcohol, and did not like anyone to see him in a bathing suit. He was shy!
Elvis was also very ill at this time. Ginger does not seem to be fully aware of his problems, even today. She did not know that he had “bone” cancer. She knew that he would often gain water weight, and thought that his diet had something to do with it. The truth was that Elvis had experienced a few heart attacks. Along with the heart condition, he had high blood pressure, diabetes, a liver disease, and glaucoma. At one point he almost went blind in one eye. (Remember the cloudy sun-glasses he wore.) He had broken so many bones studying Karate, that it was difficult for him to perform without pain killers. There is more, and I address these problems in my book, For the Love of Elvis.
While Ginger is now in her fifties, the book is written from the point of view of someone who is barely out of the teen years. There is evidence that she kept a diary, or kept notes about her activities with Elvis. Many of the stories have more detail in them than most people would remember. And while she is telling her story, she does very little, if any, analysis of Elvis’ career. She assumes that it is normal for a teenager to be swept off her feet by an entertainer. From almost the first moment she met Elvis, she joined his tours and lived with him at Graceland.
When Elvis died, there were many rumors floating around about Ginger. Some in Elvis’ entourage blamed her for his death. Questions were asked, “Why did Ginger have her makeup on when she came downstairs to report that Elvis was lying on the floor in his bathroom?” Some said that she had phone calls with publishers before she informed the staff that Elvis was sick. No one knows the truth. And Ginger does not answer these accusations head on. What she does do, in the book, is to claim that Elvis wanted her to wear her make up to bed, so, she always had eye makeup on when she went to sleep.
We are not allowed to know much more about Alden. She had great grief, but somehow she was offered parts in movies and modeling jobs. She, like so many of the members of Elvis entourage, went on to garnish a living because they knew the “King.” His legend helped feed her career.
This book is very important because it is another source that makes reference to books that Elvis loved to read. Eventually, I will discuss many of those sources in a new book on Elvis.
Please forgive me if I am too critical.
When I was seventeen years old, I was dating a handsome and apparently wealthy sailor. He drove a Cadillac like the one that was given to Ginger. He wanted to marry me and even asked my father if he would give him permission to marry me. I was only seventeen years old and had not seen the world. I wanted to make my own way in life. I did not want someone to take care of me. The chances were that I was going to be very poor for the next few years in my life. I had been accepted into several colleges and had no money. My parents could not support me.
As Evita sings, “I chose freedom.” Ginger chose the opposite. She became the handmaiden of Elvis, with a gorgeous diamond ring and the promise of marriage some day. Don’t Cry for me Argentina
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge