Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE QUEEN of the King

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

THE QUEEN of the King

Article excerpt

Byline: Story and photos by Jon M. Fletcher

You can often tell what people love by what they choose to put on the walls of their home. In Northside resident Norma Williams' case, there is no mistaking where her heart lies.

From floor to ceiling, Elvis Presley is king.

Take two steps into her whitewashed home with "blue suede shoe" trim and you've easily passed more than 100 mementos in Elvis' honor. Coffee cups, record sleeves, paintings (both on canvas and velvet), figurines and posters bedazzled by Williams herself abound in nearly every square foot of the two-story structure.

Williams said she's had a special connection with Elvis since seeing his 1968 action musical film "Speedway," but her collection didn't get its start until she was asked by fellow employees at the bank where she worked in the '90s to plan the decor for an Elvis-themed office luau.

After that, she welcomed anything and everything Elvis. Although she isn't actively adding to her collection unless she finds something that catches her eye, she said items continue to come in through friends and fellow fans who are members of the local "I'll Remember You Elvis" fan club.

"My youngest daughter, Crystal, she says, 'Momma, where you gonna hang the next picture - on the ceiling?' I said, 'If I have to,' " the grandmother of seven said, laughing.

Her collection doesn't stop at inanimate objects. Williams says she knows all the Elvis impersonators and tribute artists in town and makes a point to get to know any new ones. She keeps a framed photo collection running up her stairway of some she's befriended over the years and hosts annual luaus in her home for all the Elvi still active in her life.

"If you're not an Elvis fan, you just don't get it," said Rick Marino, a Jacksonville resident and long-time tribute artist who authored the book "Be Elvis! …

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