Sunday, April 21, 2013

She Had a Date with Elvis and Got Col. Parker Instead

From the  John Holly Williams, via the LLF Library Collection

Margaret Ann McLemore Lofton was born to Alton and Mary McLemore on her grandmother's Franklin County plantation outside the tiny town of Meadville, in August 1939.

Times were tough then, but soon, the family moved to Meadville (pop. 550) where Alton McLemore, a college graduate, ran a general store.

Margaret Ann grew up to be beauty queen and head majorette, and it is said that she twirled fire batons while standing on a ladder enveloped in flames and never missed a beat.

Although she was accepted on scholarship to every major college in Mississippi, she opted to attend Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, which featured the high-stepping Collettes and a show-stopping marching band that was garnering a national profile, performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.

She was crowned Forestry Queen of the state of Mississippi and at one point was the guest of honor at a star-studded event in Chicago.  Her date was to be none other than the King of Rock 'n' Roll himself, Elvis, but at the last minute, he was forced to cancel.

He sent his manager, Col. Parker, in his place.  They danced the first dance while the celebrities and others looked on.  The next day, Elvis sent her flowers, candy and perfume and invited her to go to a night club.  Because of her hectic schedule as Forestry Queen and the pageant's morality clauses prohibiting her from night clubbing, she knew she couldn't go, so she declined and never looked back.

It was at Co-Lin that she met her future husband, coach Herman Lofton.  They married in college and he pursued his teaching degree, and she in turn changed her major to education.

The couple wound up in Florida as educators, and in a front page article in the Ledger in 2008, her story is told in greater detail than here.  For more, please see this link.  (The link takes you to the jump. To read the first part of the article, scroll to page A1.)

The above photographs are just three of the 30 taken by Mr. Williams in 1957.

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