One of the most remarkable Elvis Presley fans of all time is Lida Keijzer from the Netherlands.
Born three months before filming and recording at the Burbank Studios in California for Elvis’ television special in June 1968, Lida has been a lifelong and devoted Presley fan. The hour long show debuted in December and is now famously known as the “’68 Comeback Special.”
Little did her family realize the talented Lida would grow up to become one of the most loyal and steadfast fans in Elvis Presley history.
Beginning in May 2015, Lida began a meticulous project that has earned her worldwide recognition and the opportunity to meet Priscilla Presley and many others who were a part of the Elvis’ life before his death on August 16, 1977.
Her goal was to build a miniature dollhouse-like version of Graceland, the Memphis, Tennessee mansion of Elvis that he bought for his family in 1957.
Virtually every day for years, based on photographs and any printed material she could find, Lida began sawing, cutting, sculpting, sewing and painting an elaborate, detailed mini-Graceland.
When I first wrote about her in 2016, the articles took off like Elvis’ first release out of the army: “It’s Now or Never,” a bullet racing up the Top Ten charts of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and Billboard. One of the articles was read by over a million people around the world in a matter of days.
In January 2017, through a GoFundMe account set up by Kathy Savelio, other Elvis fans and a friend, Lida was able to travel to the United States and visit Graceland, Sun Studio in Memphis and the Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi.
She met Elvis Presley Enterprise officials, musicians, singers, people in Elvis’ life and many fans she had been corresponding with through social media.
In Europe, she met Priscilla Presley during a concert tour with a live band and orchestra performing to a backdrop of Elvis singing on giant screens.
Lida didn’t stop with just the Graceland mansion. She expanded it to include the famous gates, guard house, and stone wall, landscaping, the drive, the swimming pool, Meditation Gardens and the burial site of the Presley family.
She sculpted the “Lisa Marie,” Elvis’s personal jet he named after his daughter.
Then, out of popsicle sticks, she built a replica of the Tupelo birth house.
More recently, Lida has been working on Sun Studio and Vernon Presley’s (his father) office building, Lisa Marie’s swing set and the smokehouse-target practice room.
Lida’s work is faithfully intricate.