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KINGSTON – Anyone who’s driven down Division Street in Kingston over the past few years has probably noticed the house.
It’s hard to miss it, as it features what WILK News Radio once called a display “fit for a king.” Or, more specifically, The King of Rock and Roll: Elvis Presley.
“The Elvis House,” as some call it, is owned by Addie Bearde. Its front porch is lined with posters and photos of Presley. There are also Elvis items on the front door and in the front
window. There’s even an Elvis Presley flag waving in the wind. After dusk, the porch is lit, year-round, with holiday lights. And inside, the home serves as a virtual shrine and
museum to Presley, where Elvis memorabilia can be found in each and every room.
“The stuff is neat,” says Bearde, when asked what inspires her to collect so many Presley items. “I like it all.”
Bearde’s collection includes everything from Elvis posters to plates, clocks, busts, lamps, throw blankets, magnets, books, photos, magazines, VHS tapes and DVDs. And, of course,
an expansive collection of albums, 45s and CDs. It is, after all, the music that Bearde loves the most. She says it’s Presley’s songs and his singing voice that have made her such a
big fan, adding that it’s the love songs and ballads that tend to be her favorites. She names the hit “Are You Lonesome Tonight” as one of those favorites, along with lesser-known
gems such as “For The Good Times” and “Starting Today.”
Though pieces of Elvis memorabilia can be found throughout Bearde’s neatly kept home, it’s the furnished and finished third floor, which she jokingly refers to as the “museum,” that
is the most striking, as it is entirely dedicated to The King. Even the side walls of staircase leading up to the room are covered with Presley items and you’d be hard-pressed to find a
more impressive display of Elvis collectables anywhere – even the gift shops at Graceland.
(When this reporter first asked Bearde if she’d like to do a story about her Elvis collection – simply based on what I saw on her front porch – she quipped, “Honey, you ain’t seen
Bearde’s late husband, Rodger, who passed away in 2000, was a basketball coach at Wilkes College and Lake-Lehman High School. She has two grown children: Billy and Deanna.
Another son, Rodger Jr., has passed. Bearde says it wasn’t until after her husband passed and her children were grown that she began to really start collecting all-things-Elvis.
“I always liked him, but it wasn’t until after my husband died that I really started collecting everything,” she says. “When you’re raising three little kids, you don’t have much time for
Surprisingly, Bearde is not as a fanatical of an Elvis fan as one might assume. She can’t name all of Presley’s movies and admits she was never a big fan of his films. She recalls, as
a teenager, watching his landmark 1956 breakthrough performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and his famous 1973 “Aloha From Hawaii” show, which was the first ever satellite
concert to be broadcast around the globe. But she has no specific memories of August 16, 1977 – the day Elvis died at the age of 42. Though she never saw Presley perform live in
concert, she has visited Graceland several times. As for her ever-growing collection, she says she picks up many of the items at flea markets, community auctions and yard sales.
“I never bought anything I didn’t like,” Bearde once told WILK News Radio, which also did a profile on her a few years back. She jokingly refers to herself as “Mrs. Presley,” a
nickname she says she’s been given by those that have come to know her at flea markets and auctions.
She’s read countless books about The King and, based on what she has read, she – like many others – believes Presley was mismanaged. She feels it was his manager, Colonel
Tom Parker, that got Elvis tied into lengthy film contracts, forcing him to make substandard movies that he didn’t want to make, and that it was Parker, due to his own questionable
immigration status, that prevented Presley from performing overseas. She also, like many, has marveled at stories of Presley’s incredible generosity.
“I think he was used and abused,” says Bearde. “I think he really helped people, but people took advantage of him. He was just a really nice guy and a sweet person. Nobody made
him give to people what he gave them.”
This year will mark the 42nd anniversary of Presley’s death. He has now been gone for the same number of years that he lived. Each year, on Presley’s birthday (Jan. 8) and on the
anniversary of his death, Bearde places an ad in the newspaper as a way to remind fans that they are significant days in the world of Elvis. She does this as a way to pay him
respect and as a way to honor his golden voice which lives on through his recordings.
“I just enjoy his singing,” says Bearde. “He was too young to die.”
In some ways, at least on Division Street in Kingston, he hasn’t.
Originating Source - Alan K. Stout For The Times Leader
|KINGSTON HOME PAYS HOMAGE TO ELVIS