MONROE, La. (AP) - At one of three concerts at the Monroe Civic Center in 1974, Elvis Presley gave one of his necklaces to a local 5-year-old. A documentary from Elvis historian and fan Bud Glass traces how the King of Rock ’N Roll traces the history of the piece.
Glass has produced books and DVDs about Elvis and is co-owner of King’s Ransom Museum, which currently owns the large cross pendant.
In Episode 2 of his “Elvis: Behind the Image” series, Glass found a group of young women in Atlanta who gave the necklace to Elvis in Atlanta in 1973.
He then traces other shows and tracks photos showing it being worn on stage and in meetings up until the March 1974 concerts at the Monroe Civic Center.
Rhonda Boler Williams sold the necklace to Glass in 2008. She still lives in West Monroe and said it’s been fun to grow up her whole life as the girl Elvis gave his necklace to.
Williams said she knows the story but doesn’t remember the events very much because she was so young. She’s heard the story time and time again.
She was on her aunt’s shoulders on the second row, center aisle of the Monroe Civic Center concert on March 8
After Elvis died in 1977, her mother Glenda Boler told The News-Star about her daughter getting the necklace.
“For some reason, Elvis saw her and motioned for his guards to bring her to the stage. His top security man held her at the foot of the stage for the entire concert.
“Then during his last song, he had them take her on stage and he kneeled and held her and sang the last few bars of the song to her. Then he kissed her and put his scarf around her neck.”
Williams said two teenager girls started trying to pull the scarf from her.
As the security guard started to remove Rhonda from the stage, a woman ripped the scarf from the child’s neck, despite the guard’s efforts.
Boler said the scarf was getting tight around her child’s neck during the scuffle.
“Elvis turned around to see what was going on and I will never forget the look on his face. It was a look of utter torture and disgust - a look of pain.”
“Elvis had his guards put him down; he came back and picked Rhonda up, jerked this cross off his neck, kissed Rhonda and gave it to her and said, ‘Here, Darling, this is yours and nobody can ever take it away.‘”
The family tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully to return the necklace, which a guard told them had special significance to Elvis.
Williams joked that her mom was just trying to meet Elvis, “She knew he wasn’t going to take that back.”
In 1989, the family considered selling and the story got attention from national media, but Williams said the right offer didn’t come along until Glass’ museum several years later.
She’s glad the jewelry has been displayed through the King’s Ransom. If she had to part with a piece of rock history that’s exactly how she wanted it to be.
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