It’s tough to buy the perfect gift for some people, but not Laura Tinney. If it’s Elvis-related, chances are good that she will love it.
Tinney’s Evans home is filled with Elvis memorabilia.
“Most of the time people give it to me,” said Tinney, who sported an Elvis t-shirt and Elvis pair of earrings during her interview. “I’m blessed.”
Tinney has loved the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll from the time she was 9 years-old and heard him sing Love Me Tender and on Wednesday, she’ll light a candle in his memory in an Elvis candleholder.
“Elvis was the greatest entertainer that ever lived,” she said.
Tinney remembers that day 40 years ago when she heard the news that the entertainer had died at the age of 42. She’d put her daughter down for a nap and turned off the television. Her late husband, Jerry, who died in 2015 came home from work in the circulation department at The Augusta Chronicle and gave her the news.
“I called my friend, and we cried together,” she said. “I cut the TV on and just said ‘no.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
While he was a great entertainer, there was more to him than that, she said.
“He was such a true gentleman; he was humble, and he loved his mother. He was so generous. He would go to the Cadillac dealership and buy Cadillacs for people,” she said.
She followed his career buying his recordings and going to a couple of concerts in Georgia when she was in her early 20s. She traveled to Macon and Atlanta.
Concert-goers in Macon were urged to keep their seats, but Tinney said she couldn’t do it. She rushed to the stage to stand within five feet of the singer.
“I wouldn’t have cared if I’d gotten arrested. I wanted to get up close,” she said.
In Atlanta, they were stricter, and she had to stay in her seat. She’ll never forget those concerts.
Tinney said her first Elvis record was Hound Dog, and she’s been collecting every since.
Most of the rooms in her house have some sort of Elvis touch.
Her kitchen is lined with Elvis plates and there’s an Elvis clock which was a gift from her husband. He wanted to give her flowers one Valentine’s and she asked for something that wouldn’t die after a few days. The clock is still ticking after 12 years.
She also has her Elvis calendar in the kitchen. On her counter is an Elvis candle holder, which she adds a candle to and lights on the anniversaries of his birth and death.
Her living room has Elvis throw pillows and blankets.
In her dining room, there are more plates as well as a large collection of Elvis-related Christmas ornaments which are on display all year.
She has a bookshelf filled with Elvis books.
The first time she met her son-in-law he brought her an Elvis book.
She has a black velvet Elvis hanging in her hallway. She has framed Elvis stamps and Elvis towels in the bathroom.
One of her prized possessions is a quilt made from material with the King’s likeness on it. The quilt is on one of the beds.
She has a wide selection of Elvis dolls, including a set of Elvis and Priscilla Presley on their wedding day, and few items are duplicates. She has several replicas of Graceland, where she’s visited three times. And Tinney said she couldn’t begin to count just how many Elvis items she has.
She has most of his recordings and almost all of his movies. She has lamps, trays, and lunch boxes. The one thing she doesn’t have is an autograph.
Tinney said someone once asked her husband if he was jealous of Elvis. He said he wasn’t because Elvis was dead, but what really impressed him is how much people loved his wife because they thought enough of her to buy her things she loved.