A devoted conversation with Sandra Ann Falcetta
Readers learn much about a person’s life who writes an autobiography just by reading his or her words; however, it is so much more enriching when one hears about the writer’s life from the writer himself or herself. Sandra Ann Falcetta wrote an autobiography titled Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers and shared personal stories about her life. “There were three things I wanted to do,” Falcetta said. “I wanted to write a book, to become a missionary, and to meet Elvis.” Writing her autobiography helped her accomplish all three of her goals and just to sit down and talk to Falcetta, one will hear the stories told in her book and more, witnessing first-hand how devoted she really was and is to both God and Elvis.
Actually writing her book was a long, but rewarding task. The very first diary entry she wrote in her autobiography when she was ten was the very first diary entry she ever wrote. She had the diary for years and wrote in it all the time, but she said her diary was taken when her purse was stolen. Even though she lost her diary, she could remember her entries and worked off her memory to write parts of her book. She still writes in diaries today, even though she took a break in 2008, but that break did not last long. “I had to write something down because I wanted to remember,” Falcetta said.
A fascinating fact about Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers is how Falcetta came to write it. In 2008, she stopped writing in her diaries and basically stopped living when her mother passed away. She didn’t want to live, but she wouldn’t commit suicide. She prayed to God and begged him to take her life, but God had another idea in mind for her. “A voice in my head said, ‘Write a book.’ And I said, ‘But you’ve already written the greatest book, the Bible. How can I compare to that? What am I going to write about?’ It said, ‘Write a book about Elvis,’” Falcetta said. She doubted the voice in her head, but when she was met with silence, she began to talk to God again, asking for an answer if this is what He really wanted her to do. The next day, she went to her Facebook page and the first message she received was from another writer friend who told her that, as well as she writes, she needed to write a book. That message was her answer.
Falcetta’s memories include good times, happy times, and sad times, but she shares all of them in her book as well as in person. “Sometimes it seems like yesterday and sometimes it seems like forever,” Falcetta said. She watched every Elvis movie and listened to every song he sang while growing up. Her favorite songs are “Love Me Tender” and “How Great Thou Art.” One of her favorite movies of Elvis’ is Jailhouse Rock, for that movie was when she realized something very important. “I had seen it about four times and that’s when I realized that I had fallen in love with him,” Falcetta said. When she bought her first ticket to her first Elvis concert, as she was walking away from the ticket booth, the man selling the tickets said to everyone else in line that the concert was sold out. Falcetta was very far from the stage, but knowing she was one of the last to receive a ticket, she said it was worth it.
Falcetta likes to tell people, “Don’t put him on a pedestal. He was human just like the rest of us.” A fun story she likes to tell is the first time she saw Elvis in the movie theater. He opened the door of the men’s room and nearly hit her with it, but all she thought was, “He actually uses the washroom! He’s gotta be human!” She also said that when Elvis did talk to her, she thought he was reading her mind. “He had this aura about him and when he looked at you with those eyes, you had his full attention [while] talking to him, always,” Falcetta said. Elvis was a great man, but he was also sad. He really wanted to do gospel singing and be a preacher, but he was terrified to do so. Falcetta said he had colon cancer, problems with his heart, and other medical problems that he took a lot of medications to treat. It got to a point where one pill was good, but two were better and he just started taking too many and that was his downfall. “The sad part is that nobody really tried to help him to get off them,” Falcetta said. “He just wanted friends. He just wanted people he thought he could trust. Towards the end, he just got so tired and sick and tired of being Elvis Presley. It’s so sad.”
Falcetta admitted that sharing her memories, about Elvis and more personal memories, was not difficult; however, sharing the memories of when Elvis died were very difficult. She even had doubts as to if she should even put her diary entries about his death in her book, but she wanted readers to know about everything. “I just couldn’t believe he was gone. I kept looking down [at his grave] and waiting for him to come out. It just didn’t seem like it was possible,” Falcetta said. “Of course, a lot of people think he’s still alive. I tell them, ‘He is alive in my heart and in my mind.’”
Many people who pick up Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers cannot stop reading it. Falcetta said, “[People] respond to me and tell me, ‘I couldn’t put your book down. I was up all night reading it. And it’s because we had to find out what happens next. We know that it’s really you and you really felt all that and it’s good to know that someone was that close to him and really cared about him.’” Not only does Falcetta receive feedback from readers about Elvis, but she also receives encouraging messages of people who have started to go or who have returned to church after reading her story. Throughout her book, readers can sense the strong faith Falcetta has and she used that faith to pray for her family and for Elvis every day. “I feel that God wanted me to write this book to bring people to him,” Falcetta said. “I told [these people] I could not go out into the world to be a missionary, so the Lord brought the world to me online.”
Falcetta is a very spiritual woman who is fun to talk to and has so many interesting facts and great memories to share both in her autobiography and in person. She still very much enjoys listening to Elvis’ songs and watching his movies, though it is difficult to listen to his albums during August (when he passed). “That man could sing any song,” Falcetta said. “He could go up to any range, high and low, and he knew that this talent was from God.” Falcetta was part of a tight-knit group of fans who, she believes, helped Elvis get as far as he did in life. He trusted them and wouldn’t run away from them as he did other fan girls. Falcetta would try to talk to Elvis about God, but never could, so she would have her messages and prayers relayed to him through Elvis’ men. “People ask me, ‘Who are you?’ And I will say, ‘Just a fan. I didn’t get a car. I didn’t get a ring. I didn’t even get a scarf. I couldn’t get close enough to the stage to get one,’” Falcetta said. To accomplish three goals in life (write a book, meet Elvis, and become a missionary) and have all three of them come together in one item is quite the accomplishment. Falcetta has shared her stories and continues to share her stories with people all over the world and the people she reaches reach back with stories of their own after having been inspired by Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on November 6, 2015.