LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Elvis Presley died 36 years ago Friday but for his legion of fans, he’s never really been gone.
Every year on this day, thousands flock to Graceland, Presley’s Memphis home.
Local author Patricia Bunin doesn’t have to go to Memphis to honor the king — she just has to travel down a memory lane.
Bunin tells CBS2′s Amy Johnson about her first kiss — with Presley no less.
“In 1956,” Bunin says, “I met Elvis.”
She was only 13 at the time.
Back in those days, Bunin was headed to North Carolina for the summer to babysit for her cousin.
It was the same summer Elvis was performing in Charlotte.
“I read it in the paper in the hotel he was staying in. I thought, ‘This is my chance. This is it.’”
Bunin, now an author who also writes the weekly newspaper column “Senior Moments” told Johnson she had to take two buses to get to the hotel Presley was staying.
Not only that, she and her cousin climbed 20 flights of stairs just to stand outside his room.
A man was outside the door, likely a Presley bodyguard. “I lept out of the staircase and I said I was waiting all of this time, can I just say ‘Hello?”
Bunin says, “The man said he was sorry. ‘We are packing.’ And then I heard this very familiar voice from behind the man and … here is Elvis.’”
She recalls that Elvis had apparently just gotten dressed.
“He was buttoning the top part of his shit. He said, ‘What can I do for you young lady.”
She said she dragged her cousin out of the stairwell and the two joined Elvis in his suite.
The king asked the young women what they wanted to hear. Bunin replied, “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.”
Bunin beams, “And he sang!”
The magic did not end there. He walked the young women to the door and gave them a memorable goodbye.
“It was an on-the-lips kiss. Not inappropriate,” says Bunin of the quick peck.
It was truly my first kiss. It was wonderful,” Bunin says, “You know, it was so exciting.”
Bunin first wrote about the chance encounter in 1996 for the Pasadena Star-News.
She revisits the story of the kiss on his birthday in January and on the anniversary of his death in August.
“To me, he will always be the very courteous young man from Tupelo, Mississippi,” says Bunin.
The author tells Johnson that despite the fact that she is happily married, Elvis will always hold a special place in her heart and she will always happily tell the story of that first kiss.