‘At first, I was nervous. But then it was like talking to my sister!’
“I love your dollhouse. It’s amazing. Such details–even the jewelry’– Priscilla Presley
Lida Keijzer almost didn’t answer her phone. It was 8 p.m. July 13, 2017, in Zaandam, Netherlands. She was spending a couple of weeks, about two hours southwest of her home town of Veendam, to visit her sister, Caroline Gebben.
“I was looking at pictures on my phone with my sister” when her cell began to ring. She didn’t recognize the number and missed the call.
“Someone is calling me,” she looked at Caroline. “I can’t see who is calling me. I will answer if they call again.”
About five minutes later, she received the second call.
“Hello Lida? It’s Vikki. Priscilla would love to talk to you.”
“Oh my God, really?” was the only thing Lida could say. One of the most famous women in the world came to the phone and spoke:
“Hello Lida. It’s Priscilla. I want you to know that I received your book and I love the pictures. I love your dollhouse. It’s amazing. Such details–even the jewelry.”
Lida was stunned and tried to hold back her tears. It didn’t work. The tears flowed. She was actually speaking with Priscilla Presley, the former wife of Elvis Presley. In May, Lida intended to present an album of photos of her Graceland Dollhouse to Priscilla while touring with the “Elvis in Concert with Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017.” Priscilla was unavailable but her assistant, Vikki received the album to give to her later.
Her dedication to the King of Rock n’ Roll through her work has caused Lida to be recognized among the Elvis world of fans. She has created arguably one of the most unique personal tributes—a very detailed miniature Graceland. Lida began constructing her miniature Graceland since May 2015.
“Your dollhouse is so beautiful and it needs to be standing in Graceland,” Priscilla told her. “When we go on tour again next year and come to Holland, I want to meet you in person. I want to come to your house and see your dollhouse for real.”
“Yes. Yes,” Lida kept repeating.
Later, Lida said, “at first, I was nervous. But then it was like talking to my sister. And you know, my English is not so good. But when I was talking to Priscilla, my English was so good. It was just like someone was helping me find the words.”
“People ask me if I will make the upstairs to Graceland,” Lida told Priscilla. “I tell them no I won’t. I have a lot of respect for Elvis’s privacy.”
“Oh, Lida. Thank you for saying that,” Priscilla responded. “There are so many pictures on the Internet that we don’t like.”
Lida told Priscilla she had went to see the Elvis show in Holland.
“Did you like the show?”
“Yes, I loved it.”
“I am feeling sorry that I was unable to meet you then.”
Since the concert, Lida had not heard anything from Vikki, so she emailed her a couple of days prior to the phone call.
“I asked her if Priscilla had seen her (photo) book,” Lida explained. “I didn’t get a response. And now they called me. Unbelievable!”
What was Lida’s reaction after the phone call?
“I screamed,” Lida laughed. “And when I was talking to Priscilla, I cried. All the time I said ‘yes…yes…yes.’ Oh my God. I was talking to Priscilla!”
“My sister didn’t know who I was talking to,” Lida continued. “I looked at her and screamed, ‘Oh-My-God! Do you know who that was on the phone?’ She was so happy for me.”
It was an emotional and historical moment for Lida. Caroline’s husband, Marcel Gebben, sawed all the big pieces of the miniature-Graceland when she began its construction over two years ago. Just before she received Priscilla’s call, Lida had been talking to her brother-in-law about sawing new pieces for the Pool House she wants create.
Graceland has been described as a Classical-Colonial Revival architectural style. Keijzer house includes such features as the traditional entrance portico with four Corinthian columns on the exterior and faithfully fabricated interiors. One room in the house includes mini Elvis jumpsuits and guitars enclosed in show cases and gold album plaques hanging on the walls. A small piano plays Elvis’ famous romantic song, “Love Me Tender.”
A Go Fund Me account has been set up by Mississippi Elvis fan Kathy Savelio to send Mrs. Keijzer and her husband to Graceland from the Netherlands. Please donate what you can to help this wonderful Elvis Presley fan make her dream come to true.
More photos of the Graceland Dollhouse