Nothing puts more of a sparkle into Norma Blosser’s eyes than to talk about Elvis Presley. The 72-year-old Marion woman was born on Jan. 9, 1949, one day after Elvis’ fifth birthday. He died in 1977.
Blosser grew up in Marysville and was 13 years old when Elvis produced his first record. Along with Pat Boone, he became her teenage idol.
“The boys had John Wayne and we (girls) had Elvis,” she said.
Every six years, when the late rock star’s birth date falls on a Sunday, Blosser gets to celebrate her birthday on the same day that Marion Senior Center celebrates Elvis Day.
This year, she celebrated the special day by displaying an Elvis DVD collection from her son, Robert Padgett.
Blosser came from a large family. As a teen-ager, she worked in a café and used some of her earnings to purchase four 45 rpm recordings by Elvis. She later accumulated five or six LP (long-playing) records.
One of her favorite LP albums is a recording she purchased at an auction. “The King is Gone” was a tribute to Elvis by Ronnie McDowell after his death in 1977. The album package included two front-page reprints of The Tennessean, a newspaper in Nashville, Tenn., containing articles written about Elvis after his death. The album launched McDowell’s career as a country singer.
The next best thing
This past summer, Blosser learned that Elvis tribute artist Donny Edwards of Las Vegas performed at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita.
She learned that Edwards, who has an uncanny resemblance to Elvis, is a performer who began his career as an Elvis impersonator in 2002 after he won an Elvis contest in Las Vegas. He performs all over the world, and frequently performs with Elvis’ band members.
This excited her. On Dec. 20, as her birthday drew closer, she decided to try to contact Edwards’ production company to inquire about getting a DVD of one of his performances.
Through his website, she found a telephone number and contacted the Las Vegas company. No one answered, so she left a message. That same day, the phone rang, and Edwards himself was on the line. Blosser said his voice was electrifying. She could not believe that he had called her personally.
When he asked what she wanted, she told him she was a 72-year-old woman from Marion, Kan., had always adored Elvis, and wanted a DVD of an Edwards performance. He told her he would send her several items.
Blosser was disappointed when the promised package didn’t materialize. She called Edwards the day after her birthday. He told her he had sent the items on her birthday. She received them Jan. 13.
“I hate Friday the 13th, but I’ll never forget this Friday the 13th,” Blosser said.
She was thrilled to discover the package included a DVD, a CD, three autographed 8x10 photos of Edwards, and a key chain with the words: “The next best thing to the King.”
“I called to tell him I got them and that I will treasure them for the rest of my life,” she said.
Edwards will give a repeat performance at the Orpheum Theater Saturday, but Blosser won’t be able to go because she and her husband, Larry, don’t drive at night.
Blosser said she has always lived to have fun.
“I needed this,” she said. “It is for young people and the young at heart like me. I wanted something very, very special, and the good Lord gave it to me with the help of my son and Donny Edwards.”