Inspired by trip to Presley’s birthplace
Her Graceland replica recognized by Priscilla Presley
Super Elvis fan Lida Keijzer from Netherlands has done it again! Her dedication to Elvis Presley has earned her special recognition among music and entertainment fans across the world because of her unique personal tribute. She worked for years on a very detailed miniature ‘dollhouse’ of Presley’s Memphis, Tennessee home, Graceland.
Her lifelong dream came true with a visit to the real Graceland in January 2018. A side trip to Elvis’s birthplace in Tupelo inspired her to construct a miniature replica of his childhood home.
“It started when I was in Tupelo sitting on that swing,” Lida said. “I thought, I can make this house too. If I can make Graceland, then this house is no problem for me. I love this house. It’s tiny but its lovely.”
“It was another challenge,” she laughed, “And I did it. I started two months ago. I ask my brother in law to saw the pieces because he has a big sawing machine. I took the pieces home with me and built it–All the furniture I built myself, even the stove.”
In July, 2017, Lida’s sister handed her the phone from someone she never dreamed she would speak with.
“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 that year, 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.
“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.”
During his trip to Memphis earlier this year, Lida was welcomed by Graceland officials and fans for her dedication to Elvis and his legacy.
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.”
In order to add the Tupelo home next to her Graceland, Lida’s husband had to “create a bigger room for me so I can build those things.”
“The stove I made out of clay,” she said. “I am always amazed by myself that I can do this, to make something so beautiful.”
When people tells her she has talent, she doesn’t “feel like I am having talent. I think that God gives me this gift so that I can let Elvis fans enjoy my creations.”
“Elvis touched each of us in a special way,” Keijzer told a group of Presley fans whose names she inscribed on her Graceland model. “We all love and miss him dearly. I am honored that each of you allowed me to write your names on my Graceland wall. Your names are forever written in the stone on my Graceland wall and in my heart. Thank you again my friends from around the world.”