ELVIS INTERVIEWS BY JOE KREIN

NANCY ROOKS INTERVIEW

THE FOLLOWING WAS A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH NANCY ROOKS APRIL 15 2006.

 

JOE KREIN: CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF ,WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND RAISED?

NANCY ROOKS : MY NAME IS NANCY ROOKS , I WAS BORN IN MASON, TENNESSEE  IN TIPTON COUNTY.

WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS DO?

MY PARENTS WERE FARMERS , AT THAT TIME THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO BUT FARM . THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS IN THE THIRTIES AND THE FORTIES .

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING FOR ELVIS?

I STARTED MAY 1967 ,

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING FOR ELVIS PRESLEY?

WELL IT WAS PRETTY NICE , IT WAS REAL NICE WORKING FOR HIM. IT DIDN'T REALLY RING A BELL FOR ME AT FIRST , BECAUSE I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW MUCH ABOUT HIM. WHEN I FIRST STARTED WORKING FOR HIM , I HAD HEARD SOME THINGS ABOUT HIM , HIM BEING A YOUNG BOY GOING TO SCHOOL . BUT I DIDN'T KNOW A WHOLE LOT ABOUT HIM.

SO YOU DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS A FAMOUS SINGER AND ACTOR?

NO I REALLY DIDN'T .BUT LATER THE EMPLOYEE  TOLD ME THAT HE WAS A MOVIE STAR . THEY TOLD ME TO GO AND FIND THE MUSIC NOTES ON THE GATE SO I WOULD KNOW WHERE TO GO TO WORK AT. SO I WENT OUT THAT EVENING , SO I COULD BE TO WORK ON TIME THE NEXT MORNING . SO I FOUND THE GATES WITH THE MUSIC NOTES . THE NEXT DAY I MET THE COOK UNDER THE CAR PORT , SHE SAID YOU MUST BE THE NEW MAID . SO SHE TOOK ME IN TO ME HIS GRANDMOTHER , AND I MET HIS DADDY ABOUT TWELVE OCLOCK THAT DAY WHEN HE CAME IN FOR LUNCH. I MET ELVIS ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE OCLOCK THAT EVENING . BECAUSE HE WOULD GET UP AND EAT BREAKFAST ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE THIRTY .

HE HAD HIS OWN TIME , HE HAD ELVIS TIME .

(LAUGHING) YEAH HE HAD BREAKFAST IN THE EVENING TIME. AND LUNCH TIME HE WOULD HAVE ABOUT TWELVE OR ONE IN THE MORNING . THERE WAS ANOTHER MAID THERE THAT WOULD FIX HIS LUNCH FOR HIM . IF HE WAS LEAVING AND WAS GOING OUT OF TOWN , OR IF HE WAS GOING TO LAY OUT BY THE POOL . HE WOULD SOMETIME GET UP EARLY. BUT THAT WAS NOT VERY OFTEN.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF GRACELAND THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW IT?

WELL , IT WAS PRETTY NICE , BUT THEY DID A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS AFTER I STARTED THERE . THEY DID A LOT OF DECORATION OUT IN THE DEN AND THE JUNGLE ROOM ,WELL ALL PARTS OF THE HOUSE . BUT IT WAS REAL NICE.

ITS A BIG HOUSE .

YEAH ITS VERY LARGE ,ITS GOT LIKE TWENTY THREE ROOMS , SOMETHING LIKE THAT .

SO YOU SAW IT BEFORE A LOT OF THE CHANGES WERE DONE TO IT .

YES I DID ,

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF VERNON AND THE REST OF THE PRESLEY FAMILY?

I COULD SIT DOWN AND TALK TO HIS DADDY . I WOULD FIX BREAKFAST FOR MR. VERNON. HE WOULD COME IN EVERY DAY FOR LUNCH . HIS DADDY WAS NICE BUT HIS DADDY WAS TIGHT . HE WAS TIGHT ON THAT MONEY . HE WOULD NOT REALLY GIVE YOU ANYTHING .

I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT .

WAS HE THE ONE THAT TOOK CARE OF THE MONEY OVER THE HOUSE HOLD?

YEAH HE DID , THAT'S WHY WE GOT VERY LITTLE PAY HARDLY . ELVIS DIDN'T KNOW HOW MUCH HE WAS PAYING US. SO THAT'S WHY WE DIDN'T GET ANYTHING . WE GOT LIKE 46 DOLLARS A WEEK . IT WASN'T VERY MUCH . WE DIDN'T START GETTING A HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK UNTIL IT BECAME A MUSEUM.

THAT'S BECAUSE ELVIS DIDN'T KNOW.

ELVIS DIDN'T KNOW , I WAS GOING TO QUIT IN 1975 BECAUSE THE PAY WAS SO LOW . I HAD ANOTHER JOB . I TOLD MR. ELVIS THAT I COULDN'T CONTINUE TO WORK FOR THAT . HE SAID THAT HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW MUCH HIS DADDY WAS PAYING US . HE SAID THAT HE WOULD TOOK TO HIS DADDY , AND ASKED HIM TO GIVE US FIVE DOLLARS AN HOUR ,THAT'S IN 1975. VERNON SAID HE COULD GIVE US THAT , I WILL GIVE THEM STRAIGHT PAY . SO THE STRAIGHT PAY WAS ABOUT ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS AND AFTER THEY TOOK THE TAXES OUT IT WAS LIKE NINETY EIGHT DOLLARS A WEEK .

HOW COULD YOU LIVE ON THAT?

(LAUGHING) WE MADE DUE, A LOT OF PEOPLE FIGURED WE MADE A LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE OF WORKING THERE BUT WE DIDN'T.

YOU know SOMETHING I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT TOO.

YEAH A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT WE WERE MAKING A LOT , BUT WE DID,NT, WE MADE MORE MONEY AFTER THEY OPENED IT UP TO THE PUBLIC THEN WE DID WHEN WE WERE WORKING FOR MR. ELVIS.

WHEN DID YOU STOP WORKING FOR GRACELAND?

IT WAS SOMETHING LIKE JUNE OF NINETY THREE. I FELL AND HURT MY BACK AND HAD TO HAVE SURGERY . SO I RETIRED .

DO YOU MISS THE HOUSE?

YES I DO MISS THE HOUSE . I GO OUT THERE EVERY NOW AND THEN AND LOOK IN THE HOUSE. TO SEE WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE. SO THEY HAVE IT REAL NICE NOW , IT BEAUTIFUL INSIDE .

BUT IS IT LIKE IT WAS WHEN ELVIS WAS LIVING THERE?

NO ITS NOT.

ITS NOT?

NO, BEEN A LOT OF CHANGES.

HOW WAS DODGER?

SHE WAS SWEET, SHE WAS LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER TO ME . SHE WOULD TRY AND KEEP US ALL STRAIGHT. SHE WOULD TELL US WHAT WAS RIGHT AND WHAT WAS WRONG , TELL US WHAT WE SHOULD DO AND WHAT WE SHOULDN'T DO . SHE WAS A VERY SWEET PERSON . HIS AUNTIE SHE WAS KIND OF MEAN. (LAUGHING)

REALLY?

AUNT DELTA, SHE WAS MEAN . BUT HER AND I WE MADE IT OK.

WHY DO YOU SAY SHE WAS MEAN?

SHE WAS TOUGH , WHAT  I MEAN IS SHE USED A LOT OF MEAN WORDS . SHE WOULD CUSS. BUT THAT WAS TO EVERYBODY .

SHE WAS A CUSSEr.

YES ABSOLUTELY ,SHE DRANK QUITE A BIT TOO. (LAUGHING)

 

HOW WAS ELVIS TO YOU ?

MR ELVIS WAS REAL NICE , HE WAS A VERY NICE PERSON . HE NEVER HAD HARD FEELING WITH US. IF WE DID SOMETHING THAT HE DID NOT LIKE HE WOULD JUST SAY NOT TO DO THAT ANYMORE BECAUSE I CAN TAKE IT OR I CAN'T STAND IT . BUT HE WOULD NEVER REALLY HURT OUR FEELINGS. ONE TIME HE CALLED DOWN STAIRS AND HE CALLED THE WRONG ROOM , CAUSE HE WAS READY FOR HIS BREAKFAST . IT WAS SO LONG COMING TO HIM BECAUSE HE DIDN'T CALL THE KITCHEN . BUT HE DIDN'T CALL THE KITCHEN HE CALLED ONE OF THE BODY GUARDS ROOM . SO IT WAS SO LONG FOR HIM GETTING HIS FOOD THAT HE FINALLY CAME DOWN STAIRS AND HE WAS ANGRY . HE STARTED BEATING THE TELEPHONE UP WITH THE CHAIR . SO I KIND OF JUST WENT UP THE STEPS , I SAT UP THERE UNTIL HE GOT DONE. THE OTHER GIRL FOLLOWED THE DOG THAT RAN OUT IN TO THE HALL WAY. THEN AFTER HE GOT DONE HE WENT BACK UP TO HIS ROOM . HE SAID THE NEXT TIME YOU WILL HEAR ME WHEN I ASK FOR MY BREAKFAST . BUT HE DIDN'T KNOW HE CALLED THE WRONG ROOM. HE THOUGHT HE HAD THE KITCHEn.

OH MY GOODNESS.

BUT IT DIDN'T TAKE US LONG , IN ABOUT TEN MINUTES WE HAD HIS BREAKFAST READY .

SO IF ELVIS WANTED SOMETHING TO EAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT , OR HE HAD TO DO WAS RING THE PHONE?

ALL HE HAD TO DO IS BUZZ, THE OTHER GIRL WOULD BE THERE TO FIX IT FOR HIM . SOMETIMES HE WOULD GO OUT TO THE MOVIES AND HE WOULD BE LATE COMING IN , SHE WOULD ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING READY FOR HIM WENT HE COME BACK

WOULD ELVIS EVER JUST SIT AND TALK TO YOU SOMETIME?

OH YEAH , HE AND I WOULD SIT , OR WHEN I TOOK HIS FOOD UPSTAIRS , WE WOULD JUST SIT AND TALK ABOUT LIFE AFTER DEATH . HE WOULD TALK ABOUT HIS MOTHER A LOT . HE WOULD SAY HE WANTED TO GO WHERE HIS MOTHER WENT . HE DIDN'T WANT TO LIVE LONG . HE SAID THAT HE WOULDN'T LIVE MORE THEN WHAT HER AGE WAS . HE JUST LOVED HIS MOTHER , HE KEPT HER PICTURE BY HIS BED ALL THE TIME. THEN HIM AND I A LOT OF THE TIME WOULD SIT IN HIS OFFICE UPSTAIRS , HE HAD AN ORGAN IN HIS OFFICE AND HE WOULD PLAY AND WE WOULD SING TOGETHER .

I DIDN'T KNOW HE HAD AN ORGAN UPSTAIRS IN HIS OFFICE. I,VE SEEN SOME PICTURES OF ELVIS'S BEDROOM . IT LOOKS PRETTY FANCY .

HE HAD NEON LIGHTS THAT WENT AROUND THE CEILING . HIS BED WAS LIKE EIGHT FEET LONG AND WIDE. I MADE IT EVERY DAY .

THAT HAD TO BE A HARD BED TO MAKE.

I WOULD RUN AROUND FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER (LAUGHING) TO MAKE IT UP. I WOULD PICK UP BEHIND HIM ,MADE SURE HE HAD CLEAN TOWELS . WOULD STOCK HIS HAIR COMBS AND ANYTHING HE NEEDED. I WOULD MAKE SURE HE HAD SOCKS AND I WOULD PUT HIS JUMPSUITS IN HIS DRESSING ROOM . SOME OF THEM WERE PRETTY HEAVY ,MUST HAVE WEIGHED TWENTY FIVE POUNDS OR MORE.

WOw!

THEY WERE HEAVY , BUT I WOULD CARRY THEM ANYWAY .

DID YOU SEE THAT ELVIS WASN'T FEELING WELL TOWARD THE END?

WELL, YES THEY KINDA KNEW HE WAS SICK , THEY WOULD FLY HIM OUT AND THEN FLY HIM BACK , THEY HAD THERE OWN PLANE. HE WOULD GO AND COME BACK ,MOST OF THEM KNEW HE WASN'T FEELING VERY WELL.

THEY SAY HE SPENT MOST OF HIS TIME UP IN HIS ROOM, IS THAT TRUE?

MOST OF THE TIME HE DID , YEAH YOUR ABOUT RIGHT . HE SPENT MOST OF HIS TIME IN HIS ROOM .

WHY WOULD HE DO THAT ?WAS IT BECAUSE THERE WAS PEOPLE ALWAYS DOWN STAIRS?

IT WASN'T THAT HE JUST LIKED IT UPSTAIRS. HE LIKED HIS ROOM KIND OF DARK . HE HAD EVERYTHING UP THERE THAT HE NEEDED. HE HAD A LITTLE REFRIGERATOR UP THERE. WE MADE SURE HE HAD PIES AND BOWLS OF FRUIT ,WATER, JUICE .HE HAD HIS TV AND EVERYTHING UP THERE. HE HAD A TV IN THE CEILING AND ONE ON THE FLOOR . HE WOULD LAY IN BED AND LOOK UP AT THE TV.

WOULD HE PLAY THEM BOTH AT THE SAME TIME?

HE DIDN'T CARE , SOMETIMES HE WOULD HAVE ALL OF THEM ON . LOOKING AT DIFFERENT CHANNELS.

JEANNE LAMAY SAID TO ME , SHE COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT THE LIGHTS IN GRACELAND WERE ALWAYS ON. SHE WONDERED WHAT THE POWER BILL WAS.

(LAUGHING) YEAH THEY WERE , MOST OF THE TIME. I WOULD CUT THEM OFF DOWN STAIRS AFTER I GOT THOUGHT CLEANING .I WOULD TURN OUT THE LIGHTS IN THE ROOMS I WASN'T GOING IN LIKE CHARLIE'S ROOM . BUT THE OTHER LIGHTS STAYED ON MOSTLY 24 HOURS. SO A THOUSAND DOLLARS WAS NOTHING FOR A LIGHT BILL.

SO IN THE LATER PART OF HIS LIFE , HE WOULDN'T GO DOWN STAIRS IN THE DEN AND THE POOL ROOM?

YOU MEAN ELVIS?

YEAh!

HE WOULD GO DOWNSTAIRS AND LISTEN TO RECORDS IN THE TV ROOM . HE WOULD DO THAT QUITE A BIT . HE HAD A LOT OF RECORDS FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE. LIKE BIG FAT DOMINO , A LOT OF OLD SINGERS.

DID YOU HAVE TO GO OVER AND CLEAN UP IN THE RACKET BALL COURT?

YEAH I CLEANED THAT ALSO , I CLEANED ALL THE ROOMS . EVERY ROOM THERE WAS A CLEANED IT. I WASN'T EVEN MAKING A HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK.

IS THERE A SUN PORCH NEXT TO THE MUSIC ROOM?

THAT'S A HALLWAY THAT USED TO LEAD OUT TO THE POOL. BUT ITS CUT OFF COMPLETELY NOW. IT DOESN'T GO ANYWHERE. YOU COULD GO TO THE TROPHY ROOM BUT THAT'S ALL . BECAUSE ITS ALL BEEN BOXED IN .

AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS BEHIND THAT CURTAIN , WHAT'S UP THERE?

THAT LEADS TO ELVIS'S ROOM

NO I MEAN AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN IS NOTHING BUT GLASS TILES .

CAN YOU SEE THREW THEM?

NO ,THEY ARE REAL THICK .

NOW WHAT'S THAT DOOR AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS ON THE LEFT.

THAT'S ANOTHER STAIRCASE THAT LEADS UP FROM THE KITCHEN

HOW DID YOU HEAR THAT ELVIS HAD PASSED AWAY ?

WELL I WAS SITTING IN THE KITCHEN AT THE TIME. ONE OTHER MAID WAS THERE AND THE OTHER HAD GONE HOME. I WAS WAITING ON ELVIS TO CALL DOWN STAIRS FOR HIS BREAKFAST . AUNT DELTA WAS GOING TO HELP ME FIX IT . GINGER CALLED ME ABOUT TEN MINUTES TO TWO , SHE ASKED ME IF ANY BODY WAS DOWN THERE. I SAID NO ITS JUST ME, AND GRANDMA IS IN HER ROOM . EVERYBODY ELSE WAS GONE. THE OTHER BODY GUARDS WERE OUT TO PICK UP SOMETHING FOR ELVIS BECAUSE THEY WERE GETTING READY TO LEAVE. SO THEY WERE TRYING TO GET EVERYTHING TOGETHER. SO WHEN SHE CALLED DOWN TO ME , SHE STARTED CRYING , I ASKED HE WHAT WAS WRONG? SHE KEPT CRYING , SHE FINALLY SAID SOMETHING HAD HAPPENED. SO I FIGURED I BETTER GO UP STAIRS AND SEE WHAT IT IS , SO I WENT UP THE KITCHEN WAY , AND WENT DOWN THE HALLWAY . I WENT INTO THE DRESSING ROOM AREA , SO WENT I LOOKED AND SAW HIM IN THE BATHROOM , I CAME ON BACK OUT , BECAUSE OF THE CONDITION HE WAS IN . BY THAT TIME THE OTHER BODY GUARD WAS COMING IN THE DOOR , I TOLD HIM TO GO UP AND SEE WHAT WAS WRONG , I TOLD HIM TO GO NOW , IT CAN,T WAIT GO NOW! SO HE GOES UP THERE AND THEN COMES DOWN ON THE STEPS AND LOOKED AT ME . I SAID DON'T LOOK AT ME , DO SOMETHING! BY THAT TIME GINGER HAD CALLED THE ROAD MANAGER TO COME IN , SHE HAD CALLED THE BACK OFFICE . SO HE WENT ON UP STAIRS , AND A LITTLE WHILE LATER HIS DADDY AND HIS COUSIN CAME IN . THEY WENT ON UP STAIRS , THEN CHARLIE HAD GOTTEN UP , HE WAS LAUGHING BECAUSE HE SAW THEY WERE CRYING . HE FIGURED IT WAS SOME KIND OF JOKE. I TOLD CHARLIE THAT THIS WAS NOTHING TO PLAY WITH , THAT THIS WAS NOT NO JOKE. THIS WAS SINCERE . SO HE COULD SEE THE EXPRESSION ON MY FACE , SO HE WENT ON UP TOO. HE WAS GOING TO TRY AND GIVE ELVIS MOUTH TO MOUTH , BUT HE WAS ALREADY GONE.

THAT MUST HAVE BEEN TERRIBLE.

IT WAS A SAD DAY . I CANT NEVER FORGET . BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE CALLING FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. THEY WERE JAMMING THE TELEPHONES LINES . IT WAS A SAD DAY BECAUSE IT WAS KIND OF UNBELIEVABLE.

WHERE YOU THERE WHILE THE FUNERAL WAS GOING ON?

YES , THERE WAS FOUR OF US THERE , WE WERE FIXING FOOD . WHILE THEY WERE ALL IN THERE . WE HAD A SPEAKER IN THE KITCHEN SO WE COULD HEAR THE SERVICE. BUT WE HAD TO KEEP THINGS TOGETHER .

A HELICOPTER CAME AND BROUGHT FOOD DOWN INTO THE BACK YARD. WE WOULD GO OUT THERE AND GET IT .

DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO PAY YOUR LAST RESPECT?

YES , I PUT MY HAND ON HIM , WHILE HE WAS IN THE CASKET . WE MISS HIM . I KNOW I REALLY MISS HIM . I KNOW A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT DO TOO. I APPRECIATE ELVIS'S FANS FOR KEEPING HIS MEMORY ALIVE. THEY STILL LOVE HIM , AND I ENJOY TALKING TO THE FANS.

I HAVE A NEW BOOK OUT CALLED INSIDE OF GRACELAND.

YES I HAVE IT , ITS VERY GOOD .

I'M GLAD YOU LIKE IT . I WILL BE AT THE 30TH SELLING MY BOOK AND TALKING TO THE FANS DOWN AT THE COOK CONVENTION CENTER

DOES IT UPSET YOU WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT ELVIS IS REALLY ALIVE?

(LAUGHING) IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME , BECAUSE I KNOW THE TRUTH . I KNOW HE'S NOT HERE . I KNOW HE'S GONE . I GUESS THEY BE WANTING HIM TO BE ALIVE. BUT HE'S GONE ON .THEY CAN STOP EVEN SAYING THAT . ANYBODY THAT THINKS THAT IS JUST COMPLETELY WRONG. CAUSE HE'S GONE .

DO YOU SEE PRISCILLA AT ALL?

NO I DON'T , I WOULD LOVE TO . I DON'T SEE THE BABY , AT ALL. I LOOKED AFTER THE BABY ALL THE WHILE THE BABY WAS AT GRACELAND. I WAS WITH HER WHEN HER FATHER PASSED AWAY AND I WAS WITH HER WHEN SHE FIRST GOT MARRIED. I WAS WITH HER WHEN SHE WAS FIRST PREGNANT . SHE WOULD COME TO GRACELAND AND I WOULD COOK FOR HER .I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HER AND HER MOTHER . BUT THEY DON'T CALL OR TRY AND GET IN TOUCH WITH ME. IT KINDA BOTHERS ME SOME TIMES.

DID YOU EVER SEE ANYTHING AT GRACELAND THAT WAS STRANGE LIKE GHOSTS?

YOU MEAN SPIRITS?

YEs

YEAH , THERE WAS A LOT OF THAT AROUND THAT HOUSE. I WAS LAYING DOWN IN THE TROPHY ROOM . I WOULD CLEAN IT SOMETIMES AT NIGHT , THE LIGHTS WOULD START BLINKING .ONE NIGHT I WAS TRYING TO TAKE A NAP AND SOMEBODY PULLED MY FOOT . BUT THERE WASN'T ANYBODY THERE. I JUMPED UP . THERE WERE TIMES YOU COULD HEAR FOOTSTEPS UP STAIRS . BUT THERE WASN'T ANYBODY UPSTAIRS. WE WOULD ALWAYS SAY IT WAS HIS MOTHER . THERE WAS A LIGHT IN THE KITCHEN , IT WOULD SOMETIMES SWING . OTHER TIMES THE DOOR BELL WOULD RING , YOU WOULD GO TO THE DOOR BUT NO ONE WAS THERE.

DID THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN AFTER ELVIS HAD PASSED?

YES . I WAS IN THE HOUSE AND THE DOOR SLAMMED , IT WAS SO HARD I RAN OUT OF THE HOUSE (LAUGHING) I RAN INTO THE BACK YARD. I TOLD THE YARDMAN THAT SOMEONE WAS IN THE HOUSE . HE WENT IN AND CHECKED BUT IT WAS EMPTY. I SAID MR ELVIS WAS PROBABLY UPSET ABOUT SOMETHING SO HE SLAMMED THE DOOR.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR DOING THIS FOR ME.

THANK YOU FOR CALLING.

This article © Copyright Elvis2001.net : No part of this article maybe re-printed for public display without permission.