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Elvis definitely still in De Peyster

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Today is Elvis Presley's birthday...he was born on this day in 1935. But for some, every day is about celebrating the King.

Shirley Gagnon is one such fan. She's the owner of the "Memories of Elvis" museum in De Peyster. The museum got its start as Shirley's personal collection of Elvis memorabilia, but when the collection got too big for Shirley's family home next door, she and her husband bought a mobile home and "Memories of Elvis" was born.

The museum opened to the public in 1997, and since then people have come from as far as England to see Shirley's collection of Elvis plates, dolls, clocks, tapestries, and much, much more.

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Reported by

Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News


arts · elvis · music · stlv

One of Gonyea's most prized Elvis possessions is a hand-written letter her high school classmate received from Presley in 1960. She'd invited Elvis, Connie Francis, Bobby Darren and some other singers of the time to their high school graduation - he was the only one who wrote back.

Gonyea says she has 20-some sets of Elvis plates, many more than she can display. "Some make a guitar, some are clocks, some are calendars…out in the other room there's some shaped like the one-armed bandit, you know, the slot machine?"

Among the rooms full of kingly stuff, Gonyea also has two Elvis lamps, one made before and one after his death in 1977. She says you can tell when the lamps were made by feeling Elvis' eyes - if the eyeball is "etched in", it was made after 1977. If it's marble-shaped, it was made before.

Another prized possession is a drawing Gonyea's granddaughter did when she was about two. "She was just scribbling and stuff, and I looked at it and I said 'oh my gosh, she drew Elvis', so I colored it in, and my daughter said 'only you, ma, would see Elvis in her scribbling.' But, you know, is it not?" 

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