Margie Stephens will never forget where she was the morning of Aug. 16, 1977.

“I was walking to school. We lived in a mobile home park. A lady came out her front door and she was screaming and hollering. So we went over to see what was wrong.” Stephens said the woman cried, “Elvis is dead! Elvis is dead!”

This week it will be 35 years since the death of “The King.”

Margie’s husband, Harry Stephens has been an Elvis Presley fan most of his life and has been collecting memorabilia for over 40 years. “I grew up with him,” Harry said.

Stephens has collected thousands of pieces of Elvis merchandise.

If you go into his store, Harry’s Appliance & Service, Inc. located on 302 N. 10th Street in Orange you can see his large offering of not only Elvis, but Marilyn Monroe and Coca Cola items. “Anything from the 50s and 60s,” said Margie.

Harry said he did get to see Elvis perform live in Lake Charles, not long before his death. “He was already getting sick then. He wasn’t looking good,” said Harry.

Even in death, Elvis is still a powerhouse performer that has a national following.

“We’ve collected all his music and as you can see we’ve got his statue in the window. It gives us something to do,” said Harry. “I’ve been accumulating this for a long time.”

He bought a chest at a garage sale that had “Elvis, Elvis, nothing but Elvis” written on it that was full of one fan’s memorabilia. “We’re about to run out of room,” said Harry.

“Me and my wife went to Tennessee the other day to Graceland to see his old house. It was pretty neat!”

Margie said that trip was three years ago and Harry had to go through Graceland twice. She said they went through the house then went across the street for a root beer float. When they finished, Harry asked her if she was ready to go back. When she asked him what for, he answered, “So I can make sure I didn’t miss anything.”

Margie said they paid twice, VIP tickets at that, to tour the house. She said the VIP tickets let you go in two other rooms where more personal items were housed. She said they got to sit in Elvis’ chair and hold his cell phone. Back then the cell phone came in a huge bag and was very large compared to today’s phones.

She was wanting to go to Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Miss., but Harry was ready to go home. That will be another trip for another day.

Presley continues to live on in the hearts and minds of his fans with 33 movies and countless hits to his name.

Had he lived, Elvis would be 77.

Pictured: Margie and Harry Stephens pose with their life-size statue of Elvis Presley. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.